This weekend, the comic book industry looked at examples of misconduct, past, present and what can be done in the future. A number of comic creators also talked about the first such case in the comics industry that saw significant internet concern, back in 2005, regarding the then-and-still Executive Director of the comic book free speech advocacy charity, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Charles Brownstein.
Brownstein has been director of the CBLF for eighteen years. An incident at the Mid-Ohio Con in November 2005, saw claims that he sexually assaulted comic book creator Taki Soma, made public at the time by fellow comic creator Ronée Garcia Bourgeois. Jennifer de Guzman and Steve Flack retweeted a Comics Journal article by Michael Dean from 2006 over the assault, that was later updated in 2018, and this weekend Taki Soma reconfirmed the account, and thanking those who spoke up for her, then and now.
Brian Bendis tweeted "With every fiber of my being and as loud as I can scream it, I wholeheartedly stand with @takisoma and the other victims of the abuse that came from CBLDFs Charles brownstein and those that protected him all. these years. it got more and more frustrating as the years went on. this must be rectified. This organization must come to terms with what he has done and their terrible responses to it."
Other prominent creators echoed this concern, James Tynion IV posted, The CBLDF relies on support and signatures from creators. For the last few years I have responded to those requests by saying I cannot support the fund as long as Charles Brownstein is in charge. I suggest other creators do the same until he is removed.
Pia Guerra concurring "I've done the same and will continue to do so until Brownstein is no longer heading the CBLDF."
Jamal Igle added "I just finished reading @takisoma's account of what Charles Brownstein did to her. I cannot, in good conscious, support the @CBLDF while Brownstein is still part of the organization."
Lilah Sturges tweeted "I just learned today about Charles Brownstein's past actions and I am deeply disappointed that he is still in charge of the CBLDF. I very much appreciate the work they have done on my behalf, but I will no longer work with them as long as Brownstein remains in charge."
Aleš Kot tweeted "Yeah, Charles Brownstein needs to go. Can't support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund until that happens… and even after that, a strong rehaul of appropriate practices will need to be the immediate next step. Otherwise we need a new organization."
David Marquez writing "I stand with @takisoma. I will not, and you should not, support @cbldf until Charles Brownstein, who has sexually assaulted comics creators, is removed. "
And Al Ewing adding "Taken steps on this behind the scenes, but I'll say it publically – I won't be doing anything else for CBLDF until Brownstein is gone. And even then, I'll need to be convinced the organisation as a whole is worth supporting."
Well, I understand that this may be happening right now. That in response to such increased public criticism of Brownstein, I have been told that an emergency board meeting of the CBLDF took place this weekend, virtually of course, and Brownstein was voted out. Currently the board members are Christina Merkler, President, Chris Powell, Vice President, Ted Adams, Treasurer, Dale Cendali, Secretary, Jeff Abraham , Jennifer L. Holm, Reginald Hudlin, Katherine Keller. Paul Levitz and Gene Luen Yang.
Bleeding Cool contacted the CBLDF and Brownstein earlier today, and have not yet received a response. We will update this article if we hear anything more, officially or otherwise.