On -isms: Cone of Silence?

By | Thursday, September 10, 2015 Leave a Comment
Let me start today with clarifying statements. I am not a journalist. I had one semester-long class on journalism in eighth grade, and one creative writing class in college. That, and the typical mandatory English classes everyone has to take, are pretty much the extent of formal background/training in writing of any sort. As much as I dislike the term "blogging" (which I find overly dismissive for the breadth and depth of what can be done in the format) that's really all I do here.

I am also not very widely read. I am occasionally told that people really like my writing, and I am deeply appreciative of that. But I expect even most low-tier webcomics get more regular traffic than I do.

But I do have this platform and I like to think that, while my writing isn't popular, it is taken seriously, and its reach does include some people of significance within the comics industry.

With that being said, I just read Nick Hanover's piece about writer Nathan Edmondson harassing women at conventions. This is the first I've heard of any allegations. Frankly, it's really the first I've heard anything about Edmondson at all. I've never read any of his work to my recollection and, in checking against my comic collection, the only work of his I own are a few pages that were in a couple of free Marvel preview books from 2013.

Hanover's column is sadly vague on details, so I'm still not even sure what Edmondson has been accused of. And that's where I want to help.

To anyone out there reading this, I would like to offer my platform here as an outlet for speaking up against harassment in the comic industry. If you're concerned that using your own account to document your issues will result in harming your career, I can relay your story here anonymously. I don't work in the industry, nor do I have aspirations to, so I'm not concerned with what career bridges I might burn. As I stated earlier, I'm not even a journalist, so I don't feel the need to worry about keeping good relations with publishers so I can maintain some level of access to their news. My concern is equity. I want everyone to have the same opportunities based on their talents and skills, and I don't want anyone to feel slighted, much less threatened, because of of their gender/sexuality/race/disability.

This isn't a gossip site -- I don't think I could run one if I wanted to -- but I do want to call people out who treat others disrespectfully. Just because a creator is talented and/or popular gives them absolutely zero right to treat others in a degrading or demeaning manner. So if a creator harasses you (sexually or otherwise) and you're not comfortable having your name attached to complaints, feel free to contact me at sean@seankleefeld.com and I will do what I can to help get your story out there with whatever level of anonymity you desire.

If there are creators out there who are getting away with unacceptable behavior, they should be called out for it. I like to think I've displayed independence and integrity with my blog over the past several years, and I offer that along with this platform for anyone in comics who needs it.
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