It's time I spoke up. This is my experience with Jason Latour:
This is my story of when I met Jason Latour. This is not about a rape or assault, but rather about harassment in the industry and the toxic environment surrounding it.
In 2017 I attended Thought Bubble in Leeds where I met Jason. Our first meeting was on the first night of the con, at the bar where everyone from the convention mingled. He approached me and asked me did I know who he was, and when I said no he asked me did I know any of the titles he worked on, including Spider Gwen. I said I really didn't know who he was and he responded by saying he would give me free comic books if I came to his hotel room with him. I declined, and after a brief conversation went back to the group I had been sitting with originally.
I was a little shocked when this happened. Jason was twice my age while I was in my very early twenties at my first international con. I tried not to think too much of it as I didn't expect to see him again after this, and joked about it with the people I was with even though I was uncomfortable. The next day when I went to the con I passed by his table, and although he was doing some signings he put up a sign saying he was on a break and approached me (this kind of thing would continue to happen throughout the con). He said he had been a little drunk the night before and offered to get me a coffee. I accepted thinking the whole thing would blow over and I appreciated that he attempted to make amends.
When we went for the coffee he asked me for my email, my number, etc. and said he wanted to be friends. He said he could introduce me to whoever I wanted, that he was good friends with my favorite comic artist and he would introduce me to her, and he said he would still like to give me some comics. He mentioned he was sleeping with a girl in England casually, and that he was in Ireland quite a bit for conventions as he liked the Irish scene there. He suggested he could come see me if he ever came to Ireland.
When we got back to his table he gave me a few comics, which I ended up giving to friends at the con who admired him instead of reading them myself. I started to avoid the side of the con he was on as I knew he'd approach me if he saw me, and at the bar in the evening he would also be looking for me. Another woman who was in the group I was hanging out with at the convention told him to leave me alone and stop harassing me and later a comic artist intervened when he approached me at the bar. The people I was with knew he was a pest, and did their best to help me avoid him when possible. I spent my days at the con having the group ask if he had approached me that day yet, when I should have been focused solely on having a good time and connecting with people.
I left the bar on the last night very stressed. I had Jason on one side at the bar, and another guy I didn't know on the other side who was also trying to start a conversation with me, saying he knew me from the con when he clearly did not. I found myself crowded in at the bar and started to panic. A comic artist came over and took Jason’s attention away from me, and I left and got a taxi back to my hotel. Jason text me asking why I had left early the next day. He said sorry if he made me uncomfortable. I again tried to brush it off, appreciating that he apologized. I also made sure to let him know I wasn't interested in seeing any guys in my messages. He asked if we could stay friends, to which I said yes. Despite me telling him I wasn't interested, he still text me on three separate occasions, once asking if he could sleep on my floor in Ireland and other times asking if I could come visit him at cons, joking that he would lend me the money to come when I said no to him. The last time he asked me about coming to a con, he text, 'Last chance for you to come hang out. (Actually it's not).' I stopped replying to him altogether after this and blocked him on some social media platforms. At that stage I knew his apologies weren't real and that he wasn't actually interested in any form of friendship with me.
I had spent my first international con feeling uncomfortable, having to avoid a guy while I was at the convention itself and also while I was relaxing at the bar with my friends afterward. I had a few small bad run-ins with different guys at Thought Bubble, but Jason's is the one that sticks out in my mind the most. When I first arrived at Thought Bubble I was bright eyed and excited to network with people in the industry. When I left, I felt thoroughly disillusioned with comics and decided it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. It seemed to be a place where this type of behavior ran rampant, and everybody knew about it but you just had to deal with it. I felt like I had seen behind the scenes of how the comic community actually worked, and there wasn't a place for me there. I dropped my dream of being a comic artist shortly after and fell into a depression while I tried to figure out how I could have my future still be art related. I’ve hardly read a comic since.
I originally wasn't going to name Jason or mention any of this, but the reason I'm posting it is because a statement Jason wrote about recent allegations against Cameron Stewart came up on my Twitter timeline, and he said some things that really got to me. He said he had been in situations with girls where he thought the ground was level, but failed to realize at the time that it was not. How can the ground be level when you're approaching a young girl asking her to come to your hotel room for free comics, based solely on your name and your works? He also mentions how women want the time they invest in the comics space to be rewarding, and then goes on to say that sometimes they are looking for love, intimacy and casual sex out of it. I feel he completely missed the mark on why people have been coming forward about the problems that are happening in the comics community and is also putting the onus on women. Women aren't coming forward right now to fight for casual sex in comics. They're coming forward to fight for their right to be respected as equal coworkers and not to be seen as mere sexual objects to their male peers.
I'm not writing this with any intention to 'cancel' Jason or harm his career. I'm writing it to bring awareness to the fact that young girls are coming into the comics community and being treated like this by people who are more powerful than them and have more leverage in the community. There has to be a complete overhaul of this kind of behavior in comics. We need to look out for each other and put a stop to bad behavior instantly when we see it. There's no place in comics for harassment, sexual or otherwise. And the men in comics need to shape up and take responsibility for the fact their actions have a far more negative impact on women than they realize.
Thank you for reading,