In June, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has seen members, board members and sponsors resign in unprecedented numbers as a number of allegations made against Executive Director Charles Brownstein resurfaced and redoubled in the light of a number of comic industry exposes of comic book creators and publishers. Brownstein was pushed/resigned and it emerged that some staffers had to sign NDAs – which seemed an anathema to a free speech organisation like the CBLDF.
Today, the CBLDF has stated that it has "been going through a transitional period these last couple of months as we analyze our community's concerns and reevaluate our internal procedures. We've been laying the groundwork for a lot of work to come and are excited to begin sharing our progress."
To wit, they have appointed Jeff Trexler to the role of Interim Director, and cite his "extensive experience in ethics and nonprofit management" as they "work together toward a better organization."
They state "We know that bringing Jeff on board is only a first step towards rebuilding trust, so we'll be keeping you updated on our progress and the changes we're implementing. The CBLDF is here to serve the comics community and we can't do that unless we continue to listen and grow, internally and externally, so that we're in the best position to help anyone who calls on us."
The CLDF states that Trexler was unanimously selected following a thorough interview process in which both the current board members and staff participated and that he will "oversee and update the organization's operations to more effectively execute the CBLDF mission, drawing on his breadth of legal experience as a law professor and an ethics advisor for a variety of non-profit organizations, media companies and fashion brands."
Trexler previous was Associate Director of the Fashion Law Institute where his work on ethics issues included advising government officials on sexual harassment legal reform. He is also a longstanding comic book fan and already provides analysis on legal matters impacting the comics business. He has also written extensively for the Comics Beat and the Comics Journal, including about Charlie Hebdo and the Comics Code.
His further qualifications are cited as being a member of the Ethics Committee at Kering Americas, serving on on the board of the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art, holding a J.D. from Yale Law School and a Ph.D. in American Religious History from Duke University, and he is admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court and New York bars.
"Jeff's depth of experience coupled with his skill and dedication to the industry is the leadership the organization needs," said CBLDF President Christina Merkler. "He will leverage that experience to cultivate an inclusive, responsive and relevant organization to support our community."
"The original mission of the CBLDF is one I passionately support as a longtime member of the comics community," Trexler explains. "This is a time of evolution for the organization and I am honored to be part of it. To quote from my favorite comic book sequence of all time, the last issue of Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol: 'There is another world. There is a better world. Well…there must be.'"
I remember that.With Richard Case, Daniel Vozzo and John Workman from the end of 1992…