A few months ago, comic book creator Malissa White posted several allegations against comic book writer Frank Gogol, that he used a racial slur against her in a New York Comic Con-related bar in 2018. Frank Gogol posted an apology at the time, though he denied he had used any such slur. Subsequently, Boom Studios dropped him from the already-solicited Mighty Morphin Power Rangers comic book as its writer. This year's New York Comic Con was sponsored by the publisher of his comic book Unborn, Source Point Press, and Unborn featured on comic book professionals' four-day passes. Gogol was asked to leave a comic creator social event held at the nearby Twins Pub, and representatives of Source Point Press chose to leave with him in support. This weekend, Frank Gogol posted a new statement on social media that acknowledged that he was suing Marissa White for defamation, and made a number of public statements:
On August 4, 2021, Malissa White levied serious and damaging accusations against me. On the advice of counsel, I have not made any public statements beyond my initial response of shock to, and rejection of, these unfounded allegations. At this time, I want to reaffirm my stance that White's accusations are categorically false. I also want to take a moment to provide transparency.
• I met White only once; it was for three hours, four years ago. It was before I ever published a comic. In our group of six that evening, I knew one person and had previously met one other.
• From that group, multiple credible witnesses have confirmed that White's statements about me are false. These witnesses are prepared to go on the record under oath in my defense.
• Defamation occurs when someone publishes a false assertion of fact about another person, causing harm to that person's reputation.
• In light of the defamatory nature of White's statements, and given the support of the abovementioned witnesses, I have engaged the law firm of Kronenberger Rosenfeld, LLP to prosecute a civil defamation lawsuit against White.
• I have filed the lawsuit against White in the California Superior Court for Los Angeles County. White was served with the Summons and Complaint on August 25.
• After requesting an extension to consider a settlement offer, White and their legal counsel declined the offer. Instead, White has filed a demurrer.
• A demurrer is a legal defense in which the defendant does not dispute the truth of the Complaint, but rather argues that the claim lacks sufficient grounds for legal action.
• In the demurrer, White argues that their published statements were simply opinions, not facts, and therefore do not constitute defamation. White's statements included, but are not limited to, specific, detailed allegations such as: "Frank Gogol ©frankgogol called me a racial slur at 2018 NYCC Barcon".
• White's filing further argues that the Complaint is insufficient because it does not allege that White knew their statements were false when they made them, in spite of White's claims to have personally observed the events.
• Neither of these items argue that White's statements about me are, in fact, true; rather, the demurrer appears to be aimed at discrediting the Complaint and walking back the veracity and intent of White's statements to avoid legal consequences for their actions.
I am still hopeful that we can still resolve this dispute quickly and without the continued cost and burden of protracted litigation. However, if the matter cannot be settled, I am prepared to see the process through to its conclusion.
I want to close by thanking the growing number of friends, family, readers, publishers, and everyone else who has looked at this situation with a critical eye and an open heart. Every day, the truth catches up a little more and I truly, sincerely appreciate your continued support during this difficult time. I know that has not been easy and I am grateful.
This statement was subsequently 'liked' by Source Point Press's official Twitter account. Frank also stated "There has been some confusion about the first paragraph regarding whether my lawyer had advised against this release or not. To clarify — it was done with his support and was reviewed by him before being released." Bleeding Cool approached Malissa White for comment but she declined at this time.