In the wake of the death of Chadwick Boseman, licensing executive and art director Adam Levine of Alvine Brand Services and SideKick Lab posted the following. "A List of People I Wished Had Died Instead of Chadwick Boseman: Rob Liefeld."
It didn't go down too well. Especially for one Rob Liefeld who reposted it labelled "People continue to prove how atrocious they can be. Who posts stuff like this? Social media really gives courage to cowards. .. be better than this. TOPPS, you employ this person?" Well no, actually, Adam had indeed worked for Topps, as a Licensing Director, but not for five years, and in the interim had worked for Fredarator Networks, Mantic Games, NECA, and was an editor and Licensing/Brand Assurance Coordinator for Marvel from 2006 to 2011, though they seemed to resist the outrage.
As the outrage began to grow, Adam Levine posted "That's hardly the most offensive thing i've ever posted. Get a life, people." Which didn't exactly help matters.
Topps started getting bombarded with people stating they were boycotting Topps and demanding that Levine be fired. Which was difficult as he didn't work for them. What he did do was work for SideKickLabs who had licensed Mars Attacks from Topps for a new card set which they Kickstartered last year and for which he has been working as Art Director for.
George Deep posted "Due to this post made by Adam Levine today I am dropping myself from the Mars Attacks set and will not be associated with it. I do apologize to those looking forward to seeing my art on it as I am saddened to not work on this classic Topps license. My apologies to Rob Liefeld and his family for having to deal with this kind of crap." He just followed up, saying "Over $2000 worth of work returned yesterday. Spent about 4 hours erasing dozens of card art that I could. Some finished and unfinished cards in there too. All this work lost because this guy couldn't just be a decent human being and do his job."
Detroit retailer and king of cancel culture, Dennis Barger added "Let me just clarify this for the cheap seats Topps if this man isn't publicly fired I'll never buy another product from you again!" Again, hard to fire someone who doesn't work for you. But he also spoke more widely to others. "Miriam Kruger, Dirk Wood, Shawn Kirkham, Ross Richie, Travis McIntire, If you EVER have this clown do a project for you, it will NEVER be purchased by me and will also receive a resounding "Dennis TREATMENT" the likes your company will never forget. I'd suggest in a world of canceling this assclown receive the loudest one yet. Wishing Rob Liefeld (or anyone in this industry) harm cannot and will not be stood for."
Liefeld added that his "I took away from social media yesterday following this. It's ugly, it's inappropriate and it shouldn't be tolerated. My boys are of an age that they have Facebook accounts now. I shouldn't have to explain to them why a stranger publicly posted his desire that I be dead. I do appreciate all your messages and support you all have shown. I hope we see less of this in the future" and that "my family heard of this before I did. Really shameful." and expressed his disappointment that he "shouldn't have to explain to them why a stranger publicly posted his desire that I be dead.":
Adam Levine then posted the following, after deleting his original posts "Sorry for this Rob Liefeld nonsense. I certainly never meant any harm to anyone, nor by it." And even though it wasn't an actual apology to Rob or anything, Liefeld concluded saying "It's 5:50 am, I've removed all negative content on my page. By every account I can measure, I live a blessed life. Thankful for friends & family and all your support. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!"
Adam tells Bleeding Cool "Early this week, I posted a joke to Facebook that I had heard on a popular comic book podcast, that I regret. My post was hurtful and offensive and for this I am truly, deeply sorry. I will make sure to be more sensitive on Facebook in the future."
So all's well that ends well? For now…
Fanboy Rampage was a blog by Graeme McMillan dedicated to most ludicrous and most inappropriate comic book-related back-and-forths online. McMillan has moved on now, becoming a proper journalist for the likes of The Hollywood Reporter and Wired but he gave permission to Bleeding Cool to occasionally revive his creation.