A year ago, British comic book writer Warren Ellis (Trans-metropolitan, Global frequency, red) has been accused by writer Katie West of coercion, manipulation and sexually predatory behavior on Twitter. West’s tweet immediately received responses from dozens of non-binary women and individuals who shared similar experiences with Ellis, establishing what appeared to be a general model of a comic book industry giant abusing the power he held over fans and followers. Since then, Ellis’ victims have formed So Many of Us, a group of over 60 people who accused Ellis of years of grooming and emotional manipulation.
Ellis has apologized and largely withdrew from public life, but like most of the canceled men from the Me Too movement, he resurfaced. News broke that Image Comics would bring Ellis back to complete their mid-2000s series Tear down with artist Ben Templesmith. Templesmith made the announcement on his Patreon account, where he wrote about Ellis, âI’m glad he’s doing comics again. I don’t think anybody thought he would make it out and work in a shoe factory or whatever,â¦ He’s one of the most important comic book writers of decades after all. It means a lot to me to finish this thing, well, so I couldn’t say no. I guess we’ll let the market talk about how things are going. “
Image Comics first stood by the ad, stating “The Image Comics series by Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith Tear down will indeed return for its long-awaited final narrative arc in graphic novel format. We will have more details to share on this very soon.
But as public outrage grew, they backed off and released a new statement saying, âFell’s announcement this week was neither planned nor verified, and was in fact premature,â¦ Tear down is something we’ve been looking forward to for years, Image Comics will no longer work with Warren until he makes amends to everyone involved. I guess the market has spoken.
So many of us released a statement on June 23 regarding the Tear down announces, stating: “Since his public statement a year ago, to the knowledge of these authors, Ellis has still not taken direct responsibility for his destructive behavior or attempted to address the circumstances which allow such behavior to continue unchecked both online and offline. “
The next day, Ellis contacted So Many of Us to start a “publicized dialogue”. It has also reactivated its Orbital Operations newsletter to respond to the ongoing saga.
Ellis wrote: âI was briefed today on the So Many Of Us collective’s offer for a high profile dialogue and today asked for their permission to enter that dialogue. Where this will lead us, I’m not sure, but I know I want to make sure that I’m doing everything I can to no longer be part of the problem or in any way perpetuate the past. I hope these conversations will be continuous and productive for all.
He continued, âIn the past, I have been careless and thoughtless in my personal relationships, and again I apologize wholeheartedly. Over the past year, I have started therapy and taken other steps to change my behavior, and I continue to process the help and advice I have received. I have had a lot of long and difficult conversations with people who are or have been close to me, and I need to have a lot more. I am working on change. I kept quiet because I had a lot of work to do and still to do, and I still have repairs to do, and I want to do it in full conscience without causing further damage. I have, of course, been quiet and isolated for too long, and I should have sorted things out earlier and done it faster. I apologize.”
Ellis added: “If you are a reader who has supported me, thank you, but please don’t stand up for me,â¦ Change does not happen overnight – I am at the start of a long road. , and this is not a road with a definite end – and it does not happen in a vacuum. If you want to support me, then support efforts to transform communities, industries and workplaces. â
Ellis added he was in therapy and made charitable contributions to “women’s support groups.” If Ellis does indeed engage with So Many of Us, he would be one of the first men in the Me Too movement to take active steps to rehabilitate his image and recognize his behavior.
But what would the changes look like and how would they be implemented? Because so far the established pattern for men caught misbehaving has been self-imposed silence for 6 to 12 months followed by a return to business as usual. So many of us wrote that we were seeking a âhigh profile transformative legal actionâ with Ellis, and described the steps that included him acknowledging his behavior and working to dismantle the systems that promote this type of behavior.
There is an opportunity here for Ellis not only to regain the trust of his fans, but to create a framework for the redemption of men like him. Time will tell if he’s bold enough to take it.
(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: Wikimedia Commons)
Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!
âThe Mary Sue has a strict comments policy that prohibits, but is not limited to, personal insults towards nobody, hate speech and trolling.â
One tip we should know? [emailÂ protected]