Tagged: Eddie Berganza

Martha Thomases: What Comes Around.

This is my last column before Thanksgiving. And Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It doesn’t require presents or cards or anything but food and gratitude.

I am, of course, grateful to be alive, to have my son (the genius) and my brilliant new daughter-in-law, a doctor! But you, Constant Reader, don’t come here to read about my life. You come here to read about my opinions.

This year, I am especially grateful that when women speak, they are now believed.

As my ComicMix colleagues so eloquently described, the days of dismissing charges of sexual harassment as something women make up because we are overly sensitive are, for the moment at least, over. No, I don’t think we’ve heard the last of these stories, nor do I think firing Eddie Berganza makes everything better.

(It does not.)

That said, we are definitely in a better place than we were before this round of charges of sexual abuse began, way, way back with Harvey Weinstein. Women are speaking up and making change, rather than waiting for men to rescue them. My favorite superheroines do this prominently.

A new generation of superhero supports these strong women.

As I mentioned last week, women in comics have always talked among ourselves, sharing warnings and tips about which men to avoid. We looked out for each other. More recently, some of us have risked our livelihoods to tell our stories. And now, in an ironic twist worthy of an E. Nelson Bridwell story, the Superman office seems to be run by women editors.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m gloating about Eddie losing his job. There are hardly an instance when that’s an unequivocally good thing. A man his age, and with his now-damaged reputation is going to find it difficult to find another gig.

However, the women who were denied work because they wouldn’t have sex with him, the women who left comics because he was so unpleasant to them, the women who never even got in the door because DC would rather protect their boy than tempt him, also had their livelihoods threatened. Actions have consequences, and Eddie and DC management were the ones who was able to choose how they wanted to act.

It’s my theory that the reason women are coming forward in large numbers now can be traced back to the Women’s March last January. There have been large demonstrations held simultaneously around the world before, but this time, for whatever reason, we spoke to each other. We listened to each other. Women, people of color, immigrants, queer people and other outsiders realized that we didn’t need insiders. Together, the outsiders could do what needed to get done.

The stereotype suggests that feminism is something that is just for white women. The experiences of women in comics demonstrates over and over again that this is untrue. Yes, white feminists get a disproportionate amount of media attention but then, white people of all kinds get a disproportionate amount of media attention.

True feminists insist on celebrating all kinds of women, and there are so many of us that it is unprofitable to ignore us. In fact, we are a desirable and affluent market for would-be feminist toys.

And it’s not exclusively feminists who are speaking up against Business As Usual in the entertainment industry. There’s a new documentary about stereotyping South Asians, and it’s getting a lot of good word-of-mouth. Things are shifting (too) slowly in behind-the-camera job in television.

There is still a lot of work to be done in the years ahead. There will, inevitably, be setbacks as well as progress. Still, this Thanksgiving, I’m grateful to the women and men who got us this far.

Joe Corallo: Terrified

As of my typing up this column, DC Comics employee of over twenty years and Superman Group Editor Eddie Berganza has been fired from the company in relation to the sexual harassment and assault allegations raised against him for nearly a decade. This is in large part due to the Buzzfeed article that hit this past Friday, the amazing journalism of Jessica Testa, Tyler Kingkade, and Jay Edidin, former DC editorial staffers Janelle Asselin and Liz Gehrlein Marsham for speaking to Buzzfeed on the record, and all of the other victims who spoke anonymously out of fear of the very real fear of retribution. Since the release of that article, Molly McIsaac has also come forward about her encounter with Eddie Berganza’s sexual harassment.

Many people are rightfully asking why did it take so long remove Berganza when his sexually abusive behavior has been an open secret for nearly a decade? For better or worse, the answer is that in a post Weinstein world we are taking these accusations more seriously. This happened because Buzzfeed reported on it. When people tried to put pressure on DC Comics to act in April of 2016 in the aftermath of Shelly Bond’s dismissal – including myself – it wasn’t taken seriously outside of comics press and the story died in the wake of Dan Didio deleting his Twitter account and DC Entertainment honcho  Diane Nelson sending out a memo assuring us that DC Entertainment cares about the safety of their employees. The memo didn’t even mention Berganza’s name. It was a heavy slap in the face to comics journalist, pros and fans all over that helped to reassert the notion that victims are the problem and abusers will always be protected until it is absolutely impossible to continue protecting them.

Make no mistake; DC Comics did what it did because there was absolutely no way to continue protecting Eddie Berganza.

As of my writing this, DC Comics has not addressed Bob Harras’ role in seemingly and allegedly ignoring filed complaints with HR and assisting in Berganza’s rise in the company at the expense of many women within DC and countless more that were denied opportunities as a result of his continued employment or didn’t even attempt to throw their hat in the ring because of Berganza’s presence. Nothing will salvage the comics careers of all of those women, some we know and some we don’t, who fell in love with these adored characters as kids and grew up to learn that you would need to be willing to endure sexual harassment, propositions, and compromising your ethics to work in – of all places – the Superman office.

And Eddie Berganza isn’t the only person to make that statement true.

An open letter to Dan Didio has been circulating for over a week that not only brings up Berganza, but Mike Carlin, as a known harasser that inappropriately touched a female staffer. Like Eddie, Mike has been both a Superman Group Editor and an Executive Editor at DC Comics with his greatest achievement being The Death of Superman. Mike Carlin’s name is printed in literally millions upon millions of comics. He’s had lines wrapped around stores waiting for his signature. Unlike Eddie, Mike was able to allegedly harass his way to further promotions. He was promoted out of the comics division and currently works as the Creative Director of Animation for DC Entertainment. As of this writing this there has been no indication that Bob Harras covering for Eddie Berganza or Mike Carlin’s alleged harassment are being looked into.

Comics professionals including Rafael Albuquerque, Gail Simone, Cliff Chiang, Tee Franklin, Lilah Sturges, Sophie Campbell, Tony Isabella, Kurt Busiek, Tini Howard, Sina Grace, Kate Leth, Amy Chu, Tamra Bonvillain, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Christopher Sebela, Matthew Rosenberg, Kwanza Osajyefo, Tess Fowler, Mark Waid, and so many more stepped up to make their voices heard in the aftermath of the Buzzfeed article dropping on Friday. This is important not only because we should be standing up for victims of abuse, but because comics professionals are terrified of retaliation against them by DC Comics.


I want to make this crystal clear to people reading, as fans and casual readers may not be aware of or understand the reality of all of this. Speaking out against the brass is more than looked down upon; it’s disqualifying. Rafael Albuquerque mentions this in his statement on Berganza. Other professionals including Kwanza made it crystal clear on Twitter that speaking out could mean getting blacklisted, but it would be hard if we all ban together. Maybe in a post Weinstein world speaking out to defend victims won’t get you blacklisted like it has in the past to rising stars like Nancy Collins, but I talked to many comics professionals off the record during all of this with Berganza and many freelancers are still terrified. That should be alarming, but also sobering to everyone reading this that standing up against serial sexual assaulters can lose you work, but turning a blind eye to victims can get you a gig on a Superman book.

We might have the power now to change the dynamics at DC Comics and much of the rest of the entertainment industry if not all industries. We may be at a tipping point where we will no longer be a society that protects abusers, but rather one that stands up for victims. We need to be that society, and we may not be there just yet but we might be close. The only way we can do it is if we stand together. They can’t blacklist us if we all protect each other.

To quote Sinead O’Connor, “Fight the real enemy!”

Mindy Newell: What Goes Around…

DC Comics Editor Suspended After Forcible Reports Of Forcible Kissing, Groping

by Nicole Hensley, New York Daily News, Sunday, November 12, 2017

A high-ranking editor at DC Comics has been suspended after three women publicly accused him of forcible kissing and groping in allegations dating back more than a decade.

DC Entertainment on Saturday announced the company is investigating group editor Eddie Berganza after Buzzfeed reported on his alleged history of predatory behavior.

“There will be a prompt and yet careful review into the next steps as it relates to the allegations against him, and the concerns our talent, employees and fans have shared, DC said in a statement, the news site reported.

Former writer Liz Marsham said Berganza kissed her during a party and groped her at a company gathering at a bar in 2006.

Another DC Comics employee reported a similar encounter. Joan Hilty, who is openly gay, said Berganza tried grabbing her at the same bar during a separate incident, according to Buzzfeed.

At least five women confronted DC Comics’ HR with their objections after learning Berganza was being considered for an executive editor promotion. He was promoted anyway, the site said.

Berganza was demoted to group editor in 2012 after a similar allegation that he forcibly kissed a married freelance writer during the WonderCon convention.

Despite the demotion, Berganza went on to oversee projects related to Superman and Wonder Woman.

•     •     •     •     •

I just posted this bit of news on my Facebook page.  My friend Neil Cohen replied:

“I know it was a different time a whole few years ago when this first broke, but how was nothing done then?”

And I replied: “Because this happened yesterday, Saturday, November 11, 2017…”

And my next post: “…and they can’t hide it anymore.”

•     •     •     •     •

Ever since October 5, when the New York Times published the Harvey Weinstein bombshell (reported by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey), the bombs have just kept on exploding.  Here’s a list, released by the Times yesterday, working backwards from Friday, November 10:

Andrew Kreisberg, Executive Producer of Supergirl, Arrow, and The Flash

Louis C. K., comedian and producer

Benjamin Genocchio, Executive director of the Armory Show art fair

David Guillod, Co-Chief Executive of Primary Wave Entertainment agency

Jeff Hoover, Kentucky Speaker of the House

Brett Ratner, Producer and director

Kirt Webster, Music publicist

Andy Dick, Actor

Michael Oreskes, Head of news at NPR and former New York Times editor

Hamilton Fish, President and Publisher of The New Republic

Kevin Spacey, Actor/Director

Ken Baker, E! News correspondent

Mark Halperin, NBC News and MSNBC contributor, author of “Game Change”

Rick Najera, Director of CBS’s Diversity Showcase

Knight Landesman, Publisher of ArtForum

Leon Wieseltier, former editor at The New Republic

Terry Richardson, Fashion photographer

John Besh, Chief Executive of the Besh Restaurant Group

Lockhart Steele, Editorial Director of Vox Media

Robert Scoble, Tech blogger and co-founder of the Transformation Group

Chris Savino, Creator and showrunner of “The Loud House”

I’ve only listed the names, but you can go here to see the allegations and fallout.

I’ve also heard Dustin Hoffman’s name bandied about while driving to work and listening to the radio, though that was the only time I heard it.

And speaking of work, well, sometimes the talk can get pretty risqué but lately any jibe or joke has been preceded by is this sexual harassment? or assurances that I am just joking, I’m not harassing you, am I? This is mostly a good thing, I suppose, as awareness is heightened that someone listening might be offended, but at the same time, I can’t help thinking that the “sensitivity-meter” can be working overtime. Meaning, any joke or acerbic comment or ironic observation is capable of offending somebody at any given hour or on any given day—are comedy clubs and HBO specials on the road to extinction?

And then there’s this:

Trump: I moved on her, actually. You know, she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it.

Unknown: Whoa.

Trump:  I did try and fuck her. She was married.

Unknown: That’s huge news.

Trump: No, no, Nancy. No, this was [unintelligible] –  and I moved on her very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said, “I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture.” I took her out furniture – I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.

Trump: Whoa! Whoa!

Bush: Yes! The Donald has scored. Whoa, my man!

Trump: Look at you, you are a pussy.

Trump: All right, you and I will walk out.

Trump: Maybe it’s a different one.

Bush: It better not be the publicist. No, it’s, it’s her, it’s –

Trump: Yeah, that’s her. With the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

Bush: Whatever you want.

Trump: Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.

Hey, Donald, remember this…

What goes around comes around.

Mueller’s got you by the balls…

And he’s squeezing.

•     •     •     •     •

And on another topic…

Hey, Maddy (Maddy Ernst, ½ of the Tweeks). Regarding Stranger Things 2 and your review:

Yep, it totally rocked!
I gotta give Noah Schnapp major kudos here, especially as it seems to me that everyone else gets so much praise and attention from the media and fans. He had an incredibly difficult path as an actor this season, and the kid totally pulled it off!!!
Also, David Harbour and Millie Bobby Brown as Jim Hopper and Jane Ives/Eleven? Loved their pairing!!!!

Totally agree with you regarding Sean Astin.
SPOILER ALERT: The Mind-Flayer/Shadow Monster hovering over the Snow Ball at the middle school–okay, girlfriends, who is infected with the “virus?” Mike? Chief Hopper? Maybe too obvious, hmm? How about Dustin? (My vote.)

One more thing…
I stretched out the binge to two sittings, but even so, nine episodes went by way too quickly. And now it’s gonna be, what, another year until the third season?
That sucks, doesn’t it?


Martha Thomases: The Casting Couch

Now even Louis C. K.

How far we have come in the one year after Trump was “elected” President, despite his boasts about being able to grab women by the pussy and being able to walk into the Miss Universe dressing rooms while contestants were changing. Women and queer people of all genders refuse to obediently walk off and let the men-folk run things. Instead, we are speaking up and telling our stories.

In January, with the Women’s March, I think we realized that, together, we could create our own system. We could create an environment in which we would be believed, and from which we could create change.

You may remember a time, lo these many weeks ago, when Harvey Weinstein’s behavior was first held up to the glare of publicity. In the last few days, we’ve heard horrible things about Kevin Spacey and Charlie Sheen.

Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly had already fallen victim to the news of their own bad behavior. These new revelations demonstrate that sexual harassment in the workplace is not a partisan issue.

Not all of this kind happens in show business, although the so-called “casting couch” gets its name from the exploitive behavior of people in charge of hiring casts. It exists in every business that has a hierarchical structure, including tech, politics and so much more.

Including comics.

Yes, that last link is to an old story, but it is newly relevant. Because the problem isn’t only the people in power sexually abuse people in their employ (yes, this sometimes includes women. The problem is also that, even when the abuse is known, the company will often cover for the abuser.

The Weinstein Company knew about Harvey. Netflix knew about Spacey. Fox knew about O’Reily.

And DC Entertainment knew about Eddie Berganza. Their response was to protect him by limiting his exposure to what I think the Catholics call “occasions of sin.” In other words, women were not allowed to work with him.

I don’t want to sound like I’m excusing sexual harassment and abuse, but the problem is not always only with the perpetrator. When I read about Weinstein and Berganza (and Scott Allie) and Spacey, I feel terrible for them. I mean, they are horrible people and they shouldn’t have any authority over anyone else, much less command big salaries and respect, but I think they have a sickness.

The real crime is committed by those who choose to change the workplace to protect them and not the people they abuse. Instead of setting up a fund to pay-off victims, run businesses so there are no victims. And instead of limiting the opportunities of women to work on Superman comics, limit the authority of the man causing the problem in the first place.

The next steps are to connect the dots from actual abuse to other, more subtle ways of marginalizing women. I know that I’ve been the subject of gossip, suggesting that I slept my way into various jobs. I’ve heard parallel stories about other women — and men. As long as we are body parts first and humans with skills and talents later (if at all), we will never get the credit we deserve.

I’m part of a few on-line groups of women in comics, and in the last few weeks, there have been more than the normal number of warnings about other professionals in the business. Some are well-known, and some are new to me. I’m not going to name any names here because 1) the stories are told in confidence and I’m not going to violate a trust and 2) the laws about slander are much tougher when the stories are published, and I don’t have the first-hand knowledge. Also, you, Constant Reader, don’t need to know the specifics.

You need to know that we talk.

Women have always talked among themselves about predatory men. We’ve always warned newcomers about who was too “handsy,” who told lewd jokes, who to being alone with.

Now, we’re warning you.

Martha Thomases: The Solution

three monkeys

Once again I’m going to talk about the sexism in the comic book industry. Yeah, I’m kind of sick of it, too. However, this week, in a wave of optimism, I’m going to suggest a solution!

The subject is in the news once again because DC Entertainment finally issued a statement about the continuing charges that members of its editorial staff engage in sexual harassment.

As far as I know, there are no new charges this week. Instead, the pressure of fan reaction online and in the press must have finally reached the attention of someone at Warner Bros. corporate HQ, and the issue could no longer be ignored. It’s obvious that DC would like this to be ignored, and as evidence, I offer the fact that they released their statement on Friday afternoon, a time well known to publicists as a dumping ground because journalists, like everyone else, like to get a head start on their weekend.

I’m starting to feel bad for Eddie Berganza. He screwed up — badly — several years ago, and he accepted a demotion and did all the other things that the HR department demanded. He’s not the only person in comics to behave badly, but he got caught and he has paid at least a part of the price. Everything else that has happened since, up to including the alleged edict to ban women from working in the Superman office, is a mistake committed by management.

If Eddie really can’t control himself enough to work with women, he needs professional help. If there is a provable pattern of discrimination against women in the Superman department, that is a criminal offense whose blame goes to the people who enforce it. Unless publishing has changed monumentally in this century, editors — not even Senior Editors or Executive Editors — cannot ask a company to break the law on their behalf.

The solution is not to ban women from the Superman office (or the Spider-Man office or the Hellboy office, etc.) but to hire more women. Fill the place with women. Make acceptable and respectful behavior towards women something that happens all the time, every day.

I realize this is a radical concept, and it may be a lot to expect DC Entertainment to change when all of Hollywood behaves differently. Except that Hollywood, or at least a tiny part of it, is changing.

, the people who made the new movie, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, which opens today, were afraid they would be unintentionally sexist in their depiction of a modern-day sorority. To avoid this, they hired two women to consult about the script and the female characters.

Before the poor, oppressed straight cis men out there start hyperventilating about “censorship” or “political correctness,” thats not what’s happening here. The women are both writers and professional comedians. They were there to make sure the characters were real and funny, not bimbo stereotypes or delicate virgins.

I’m not suggesting that DC bring in consultants to vet every script or every page of art. Movies are a different medium, with one script (which may be rewritten constantly) and one production schedule. DC publishes more than 50 titles a month. Movie productions tend to each be a specific project, often with its own corporation or partnership, while comics are a continuing process from one legal entity.

Still, I think diversity consultants could be useful. In fact, I think there is an opportunity for just such a business. It would include people of color and people from other continents and people of diverse ages and sexualities and gender identities.

I think this company’s holiday parties would be so much fun.

If this works, it might be more efficient for DC to hire an actual Chief Diversity Officer. Yeah, it sounds like more bureaucracy, but companies are always adding new C-level executives. When I worked at DC, there was no such thing as a Chief Creative Officer. Now, DC and Marvel both have them.

Creativity and diversity go together. The sooner comics (and movies and music and television and theater and dance and publishing) realize this, the sooner we can talk about something other than Eddie Berganza. And won’t that be nice?

Martha Thomases: The Same Old Same Old

Superman Sex Discrimination

This has been a week of heart-breaking news, at least for me. No, nobody I know died (at least as of my deadline), but I hate all the stories coming out of DC Entertainment. No more Shelly Bond? Are they crazy? And Eddie Berganza? I remember meeting his cute kids. What the hell happened?

And that’s before we even get into conjecture about who this is supposed to be.

I don’t want you to think that by talking about Eddie’s kids that I am in any way suggesting that his accusers are lying about him. It’s difficult enough for a woman to stand up and make the accusation. No one does that for kicks. Rather, I’m suggesting that harassers (and their victims) are more complicated than just one type of action, no matter how vile. If anything, if we think that harassers and rapists and other creeps can only be entirely and stereotypically evil, we won’t recognize them in time to protect ourselves.

Instead, I want to talk about the institutional biases, assumptions that are so deeply ingrained in our culture that we don’t even notice them. In this case, it’s sexism, but we could be talking just as easily about racism and agism and homophobia. And I want to talk about it, specifically, in the entertainment industry, of which comics (especially DC and Marvel comics, both owned by major movie studios) are definitely a part.

Hollywood has a reputation for being “liberal,” whatever that means. People like Steven Spielberg and David Geffen and George Clooney raise a lot of money for Democratic candidates, and from this, we are supposed to infer that they are “politically correct” (whatever that means) in their personal lives as well. Maybe they are. I don’t know them. I do know that most business deals in Hollywood are conducted among people who feel comfortable with each other.

Most of us feel comfortable among people who are like us. It’s sad, but it’s true.

I’m not exempt from this. When I was a kid, I lived in a small Ohio city that was only 2% Jewish, but we all lived within the 16 blocks or so that I lived. It was quite a surprise to me to go to Connecticut and find out how many different kinds of Protestants there are. I didn’t even notice how Caucasian my freelance writing life was until I had to get a job doing events for a large department store and met African-American retail executives. When being around white people all the time is what one has always done, it’s difficult to notice how limiting it is.

In entertainment, cis white men (often from the same few Ivy League colleges) are used to being in meetings with other cis white men. They get each other’s references, because they’ve lived the same kinds of lives. That’s why their parents sent them to those schools, so they would meet each other and make friends and be successful together.

Hanging out, doing business with and generally only seeing people like yourself does not fill a person with empathy. To me, the best illustration of this is Swimming with Sharks. When I worked at DC, a friend was having a terrible time with her boss and I suggested we see this movie, since the reviews said Kevin Spacey plays the world’s worse boss and I thought that might make her feel better. Instead, Spacey’s character was almost exactly like her boss.

If your industry is based on an “old boy’s network,” intentionally or not, it’s very easy to decide that sexual harassment is just flirting gone wrong, no big deal. Or that it’s just some woman who was jilted and now wants to sue for a big payday. There are no women in the room to offer another opinion.

For the entertainment industry, it will probably take more than simple soul-searching to make the necessary changes. Even though Pitch Perfect 2 was one of the most profitable movies last year, and Selma got rave reviews, most studios give very few directing jobs to women, and two aren’t giving any. The number of women who can green light a movie is small. So is the number of women who can green light a comic book series.

What can we do about this? I would urge men who consider themselves to be allies to speak up. Don’t let your silence pass for agreement when you see shitty behavior.

It’s not easy to push people out of their comfort zone. Hell, I have trouble pushing myself to get into pants most days, much less notice how many important issues I’m not noticing. Part of the price of privilege is that I have to pay attention and deliberately seek out other points of view.

Am I successful at this? Not often enough. But every day is another chance to get it right.

Joe Corallo: Eddie, Are You Kidding?

Wonder Woman

A lot has happened recently at DC Comics. They’ve announced plans for their Rebirth which drew mixed reactions – including from myself a couple of months back. They went on to announce a talent workshop with the idea of being able to bring in some fresh faces in comics to help breathe new life into their properties. Then earlier this month they announced a new imprint called Young Animals headed by Gerard Way, which I and many other people praised. Things coming down the pipeline from DC Comics seemed to be showing promise and certainly the return of titles like Doom Patrol have me excited.

Then last Thursday happened.

First, news broke that Shelly Bond, Executive Editor of the Vertigo imprint who had been with the imprint since its inception, had been let go as a result of “restructuring.” Vertigo editors will now be reporting directly to the top brass at DC. Many creators who have worked with her expressed sadness in seeing her go and wished her luck in her future endeavors, which is expected. Then, something slightly less expected happened.

Not long after the Shelly Bond news broke, a discussion began on Twitter revolving around why DC would let go of an editor beloved by many while keeping an editor on board who has a history of HR problems and had openly engaged in public sexual harassment. The person in question was outed as Superman group editor Eddie Berganza.

The Outhousers were one of the first to report on this. They pointed out how Bleeding Cool reported on his very public harassment of a woman at Wonder Con in 2012 that led to a demotion shortly after. Recently, Janelle Asselin (as reported in The Outhousers link above) stated she had filed a complaint with HR about his behavior back in 2010 (she originally stated 2011 then corrected that in her tweets), that DC to her knowledge did nothing to remedy the issue, he got promoted and it helped prompt her to leave the company. We not only have her word to back up this claim, but the timeline also fits with the editor credits in the comics that were coming out. It’s important to note that no one from DC Comics as of the time I’m writing this has denied the claims made by Bleeding Cool or Janelle Asselin.

Additionally, other creators like Sophie Campbell have named Eddie Berganza directly as a reason she turned down a freelance gig on Supergirl. Others have come out saying that Greg Rucka has agreed to return to Wonder Woman only if he didn’t have to work with Berganza, and it appears that Berganza will not be editing the title but rather the Bat family group editor will. I have not seen any statements directly from Greg Rucka to back up if that is the full story. Additionally Alex de Campi has been cited as almost naming Eddie Berganza, and the person and their title that she describes in her piece linked does sound like it’s almost certainly Berganza, but stops short of naming him. Other outlets such as DC Women Kick Ass (where I found the above image from as it’s just perfect) have written powerful opinion pieces on this as well.

So why is Eddie Berganza still editing over at DC Comics?

Some may argue that Eddie makes money on the Superman titles while Shelly was heading an imprint that hasn’t been very profitable in a long time. It is true that Vertigo’s heyday was years ago, and DC Entertainment had recently dedicated a quarter million dollars in advertising for Vertigo with little to show for it. However, comparing Vertigo to the Superman titles is hardly an even playing field.

Superman has had other group editors while the titles were doing much better, like Mike Carlin, whose success with The Death Of Superman has yet to be matched, and that was over 20 years ago. And Mike Carlin did go on to become executive editor, like Eddie Berganza did, but certainly Mike Carlin had more to show for it. Eddie Berganza even oversaw a drastic drop in Supergirl sales under his watch back in 2007, in which he’d go on to pen an awkward column blaming the readers, and specifically women readers, for the books poor sales. Oh, and that incredibly embarrassing editorial mess where DC claimed that “Pakistanian” was a language? That was Eddie Berganza, too.

Certainly Eddie Berganza has done some good work though, hasn’t he? Well, yes he has. During his brief reign as executive editor we saw the implementation of The New 52. Love it or hate it, it did start as a financial success and not only created successful series with Geoff Johns and Jim Lee on Justice League, brought back Grant Morrison to Superman with Action Comics, launched Scott Snyder into comic superstardom with his run on Batman, gave Brian Azzarello a mainstream comics comeback with Wonder Woman, but it also brought back many older and experimental titles with surprising success such as I, Vampire, All-Star Western, and Animal Man which launched Jeff Lemire’s mainstream comics career.

Perhaps these successes have elevated Eddie Berganza to being someone that is viewed as an invaluable asset to the company, despite past shortfalls with titles such as Supergirl and editorial disasters like “Pakistanian.” The New 52 also saw the diminishing of the Vertigo line as titles that previously may have ended up there such as Swamp Thing and Animal Man went back to the main DC universe.

This is not written as a defense of the behavior being called into question. It’s just to highlight why he may still be there outside of legal reasons like his contract which may or may not be hard to do anything about, we don’t know. As Heidi MacDonald highlighted at The Beat last week, the idea that Eddie Berganza has blackmail on anyone is simply not true. However, Heidi did find that several sources confirmed to her that there was at least an informal policy that no women would work with him physically in the Superman office. Women were still able to work freelance on the books. This is a shocking and disgusting revelation, but also as it was a seemingly informal policy it’s hard to tell if any legal wrongdoing was actually done by this, and if women were denied equal opportunity. I suppose we’ll have to see if people come forward on that one way or the other.

Everything above this are the facts and insights from people close to this issue or have sources close to it. To help you understand where I’m coming from and what’s informing my thoughts on this, I’d like to tell you about some of my experiences which – to be clear ­– have all been outside of the comics community. Not because I want to, but because I think it’s important.

Over the course of my life I have experienced cat calling, including being cat called while on the phone with my grandmother as I walked down the street. I have had countless unwanted advances and I’ve been the victim of sexual harassment and sexual assault. I’ve been flat out asked if I’d be interested in sexual services for money, been groped, and more. I’ve been told by friends, good friends, about how so-and-so is just “handsey” or “that’s how they get when they’re drunk” or “that’s just their sense of humor.” I’ve way more often than not have been confronted with the notion that I should really be reflecting on my behavior before I jump to conclusions. That is not okay. It wasn’t okay years ago, and it’s not okay today.

I don’t like talking about this. Actually, I really hate it. I get anxious just typing this and knowing other people are going to read this. But it’s important for people to know that these things do happen. It’s important to understand that people allegedly committing sexual harassment or abuse aren’t a monolith. They are single, in committed relationships, have kids, have a loving family, have great jobs, great friends, they may know you, they may not. They aren’t everyone, but they could be anyone.

Pressing charges or suing aren’t always options. Just because I didn’t call the cops to have to sit there and be asked demoralizing questions doesn’t mean I wasn’t demoralized. Just because I didn’t decide to go into a long drawn out lawsuit to get my name dragged through the mud or worse doesn’t mean someone didn’t do something really shitty to me or anyone else. Dismissing victims for not pursuing legal action is narrow minded and needs to stop. And it’s certainly not appropriate with respect to Eddie Berganza, should these allegations bear out.

I’m writing this piece because I saw this story break, I think it’s awful, and it reminds me of things that have happened to me and to others I know. I’m writing this because far too often we feel it is only appropriate to discuss someone sexually harassing or assaulting someone if it’s just happened and not a moment later, and it’s not right. I’m writing this because it’s important to listen to victims because in this case it is not merely “he said she said” it’s “he said they said.”

I’m writing this because workplaces need to be safe spaces. If your company claims that diversity is important, that company has a responsibility to make the workplace safe for everyone. Having someone with a reputation like Eddie Berganza’s on staff while the Janelle Asselin’s of the world leave, or the Shelly Bond’s are let go, creates a less safe space. If you aren’t dedicated to making your company a safe space, then any talks about being dedicated to diversity is just that; talk. Which is especially troubling to think about when DC is currently running a Talent Development Workshop. How many women or other diverse creators have seen what’s been going on with DC since last week, seen the lack of a response from DC, and are now thinking twice about applying? How many people are now applying with the thought that if they end up making it far enough to get a freelance gig out of it that they’ll tell DC “just don’t make me work with Eddie Berganza?”

And I’m writing this because we need to keep discussing this. We can’t let this story fade away with last week’s news. We need DC Comics to know and understand that these are issues that are too important to turn a blind eye to. People need to make statements to address what’s going on.

Even if those statements come down to the fact that this is an issue that has been taken care of internally and that they pledge to be striving to make DC a safe space for its staff, it still needs to be addressed to their readers. DC Comics needs to know that things have changed since 2011, and this kind of shuffling around sexual harassers in the company and protecting them will not fly in the future.

I don’t know what the legal issues are for DC regarding this matter. I don’t know what Eddie Berganza’s contract states, or if these allegations have even been investigated. I don’t know if DC is even in a position to do anything about this situation at this time. But I do know that it’s important for us, the readers, to make sure that DC does not put their personnel or anyone else in this position.