As many of you know, ComicsAlliance recently addressed the issue of one of its writers bullying of a woman in comics six or seven years ago. I'm glad ComicsAlliance addressed this. I'm glad Chris took accountability for his behavior. It was right for them and him to do so.
But it's also hard for me to ignore that this conversation is happening in large part because of an anti-progressive campaign. Valerie has every right to come forward and speak about her experiences, but it's also true that the conversation was initially sparked by the skeleton digging of people seeking to discredit ComicsAlliance as a progressive site. This is particularly upsetting for me, not only because I created ComicsAlliance, but because I've spent the better part of the last year living in fear of these exact sorts of people, receiving death threats from them, and watching them try to destroy my friends and colleagues in games.
Some people have expressed that this context should not be mentioned—that doing so is merely a way of mitigating or excusing Chris's behavior. I disagree. Understanding it or acknowledging it in no way makes Chris less accountable. We can and should have accountability, and I'm glad that we're seeing that. But I don't believe holding people accountable has to be mutually exclusive with nuance, or that offering context is necessarily a way of making excuses. I think that it is both possible and important to do both.
We can condemn what happened without reservation, and also acknowledge the troubling fingerprints of the people who are actively trying to dismantle progressive voices in comics. To me, that's worth mentioning, not least of all because this campaign to target progressive voices in comics will likely not end here; indeed, I've already spoken with others who have found themselves in the crosshairs of planned harassment efforts.
There's a difference between excuses and relevant context. There's no excuse for what happened. It's important that we have the conversations about harassment that come out of this, but it's also important that we understand that those conversations did not generate in a vacuum.