Following the resignation of Executive Director Charles Brownstein as a response to long-reported sexual assault allegations and following a vote by the board to remove him, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) has agreed to release Cheyenne "Shy" Allott from a 2010 NDA she signed when leaving the company. Allott posted a letter requesting release from the NDA to Twitter and gave Bleeding Cool permission to reprint it, which we did earlier this week.
Yesterday, Kris Simon, CEO/Founder of Geek Chic Promotions told of her encounter with the CBLDF's Charles Brownstein, when working for Image Comics founder Jim Valentino. We repeat it here, with permission.
When I was working for Jim Valentino/Shadowline we took a trip to NY. We were at a bar w/ Charles drinking & after we had left. We were walking up the street and Jim had wandered up ahead. I remember very clearly that Charles grabbed my arm, and yanked me back to let the gap widen, and said to me "I've been wanting to do this for a long time" and then grabbed my face and kissed me. I wasn't sure what to do, so I just let it happen, and when it was over, I smiled politely and said something like "Okay then" and at that point, Jim had turned around to see what happened to us. I was able to break away and catch up. I didn't say anything until after the trip was over. I told Jim very hesitantly because it was weighing on me-he was best friends w/ Charles at the time-& he was absolutely pissed off. He confronted Charles privately about it, & I think they stopped speaking for a while. Jim told me he had handled it, & it would never happen again. It didn't. Nothing was reported anywhere. I tell this story because I do not feel I supported @takisoma appropriately 14 years ago, & I truly regret that.
Today, the CBLDF released a statement mentioning these cases, releasing Shy Allott from her NDA, and also claiming they are undergoing "a complete review of management practices" in an effort to "create an atmosphere where all creators, employees and readers are welcome and safe." You can read the full statement below.
First and foremost, the CBLDF is grateful that Kris Simon has come forward. We also want to recognize Taki Soma for what she endured and for bringing this to light. Both have our full support. We are releasing Shy Allot from the NDA she signed in 2010 when she left the organization so that her story can also be heard.
CBLDF's Board is undergoing a complete review of management practices and where we have fallen short. We are examining our mission to ensure it meets modern industry needs, and will do so with input from our full-time staff, expert third parties, and the comics and manga community.
The entire CBLDF staff and the Board will participate in mandatory training to educate ourselves about how to better respond to and eliminate such behavior. We will make whatever changes are necessary, including the makeup and structure of the board itself. As has been announced previously, Charles Brownstein has left the organization.
The CBLDF and comics industry must create an atmosphere where all creators, employees and readers are welcome and safe. Our hope is, over time, our continued focus on our mission will allow us to be a trusted ally to everyone who loves comics.
At press time, the CBLDF and its board members have not yet offered an explanation for why they waited fifteen years to take such action.