This weekend, Buzzfeed ran a story about allegations of sexual harassment made by three DC Comics employees against Superman group editor Eddie Berganza. He was suspended and then yesterday it was announced that he had been fired. But not everyone with such allegations was working for DC Comics. Although that was the carrot being held above their heads by Eddie.
PR executive Molly McIsaac had tweeted about her own experiences.
Basically, it "could have been worse" with me and the only reason it wasn't was because I had good self preservation skills. However, WHENEVER I saw Eddie over the years (usually at San Diego Comic-Con in the lobby of some hotel where everyone was gathered), he was wildly inappropriate with me. And keep in mind at the time I was quite young – maybe around 20 when I met him? (I'm 28 now).
Some notable moments:
– Rubbing his penis against me while we were both standing at the bar (from behind me)
– Always grabbing/smacking/making weird comments about my ass/the size of it
– Asking extremely invasive questions about my sexual experience and preferences
– Making inappropriate comments about my physical appearance, how I would be "in bed" etc
– Once when I was sitting at the Hyatt complaining that my feet hurt after a day of walking the con, he yanked my feet into his lap and took my shoes off and started giving me a foot massage. I was very awkward and uncomfortable and asked him to stop and he didn't.
– He was constantly saying "let's talk about your writing career" because I wanted to write for comics so badly. He consistently told me he could get me a job writing at DC, and when I would try to talk about it he would always attempt to get me to his hotel room/somewhere private. IE "Let's go up to my hotel room and discuss it, I have nice whiskey up there." I never went with him which is why it never went beyond this, but I would email him to follow up EVERY time I saw him and he would say "I don't have an opening for a writer right now, but maybe if you met up with me…" The implication was very clear.
– He would try to get me drunk, always handing me drinks. Luckily I'm 5'10" and Scottish so my blood is made of whiskey.
– If I hugged him hello or goodbye, he would kiss my neck, whisper weird things about how good I felt etc
He was just generally creepy and forever sexually overt with me. I told many people about it and women said "me, too" and men said "well, that's just how Eddie is, just ignore him and don't go to his hotel room with him." I felt like I had to be around him because all of my peers always were, which caused me to be re-victimized by him over and over. At the time, I was writing for a myriad of big comics websites (ifanboy was my primary employer) so I was deeply entrenched in the industry. I wanted desperately to write comics but I can genuinely say that Eddie's behavior made me abandon that dream as I did not want to work in an industry where I would have to sleep with someone to get a writing job.
With situations like this, even with the recent Buzzfeed article, there are always claims that this is just "he said-she said". But I contacted Kate Kotler, who used to be a staff writer for Bleeding Cool, who remembers Molly's account of these events and when she made them, namely San Diego Comic-Con 2011, a year before Bleeding Cool would run our first story about Berganza's activities. She told me,
I have known Molly McIsaac for 10 years. We met online in 2007 and I think we met for the first time in person in 2009 in Chicago at C2E2. We have always been really close. The first time that Molly disclosed to me that Eddie Berganza had groped her was during SDCC 2011. I was unable to go to San Diego that year because I had to attend my grandfather's funeral and I remember I was texting back and forth with a lot of people who were there, including Molly. I remember she texted me that something had happened and we spoke briefly on the phone and that she told me that Eddie had groped her inappropriately. She kind of blew it off, like 19-20 year-olds tend to do, and I didn't think about it again until 2012 — when I was at SDCC at a Penny Arcade party and Molly texted me "He did it again." I didn't talk to her until the next day – but, then she told me that Berganza had been inappropriate with her again, but she didn't go into explicit details.
When the story broke, she confided in me that Berganza was inappropriate with her in some form or another every single time she saw him between 2011 and 2015-ish. And, I think she would run into him pretty frequently, because for a long while she was doing the convention circuit for Fangasm. She has never been quiet about the fact that this guy molested her – she has told a lot of people.
I understand that there are more stories from women and men yet to run.