This weekend saw a bit of a social media explosion. Billy Tucci, comic book creator of Shi, posted the following on Facebook,
PUBLIC POST for those assuming I posted that COVID-19 is a media driven hoax:
I NEVER DID and your assumptions are wrong. I posted that the pandemic is very real, very concerning and that we should be diligent and hygienically safe. As the husband to someone who is highly at risk I take this VERY SERIOUSLY and have stated it over and over again. What I then posted was that the media is pushing an irresponsible and dangerous panic. I'm saddened by those who've unfriended me and are posting on other pages about me over speculation and spreading false rumors. It pisses me off when people also do not give you a platform to clarify any misrepresentations or misconceptions. Those who know me know I'd go through hell and back for strangers. Guess I know who my real friends are now, but that won't change how I feel about them, but I am furious over assumptions and attempts to publicly blacklist me. Perhaps it is all my fault for giving an opinion and wished I had be crystal clear (thought I was), but then again you know what they say about opinions. Anyway, can someone please tell Larry Hama that I did NOT say that the Corona virus was a "media hoax"? He posted about unfriending me on his page and that was the reason why. There's a feeding frenzy in that post and since he unfriended me I cannot comment to the otherwise. Thank you.
So what did comic book creator Larry Hama say anyway? There were a series of posts on Facebook, which seemed relevant, reading;
Went to a "friend's" page and amidst all the hate and misogyny there were three FB notifications warning of "false or misleading information" on memes he was trying to repost. I mean, if you keep getting those, doesn't that tell you something about the sources of your info?
So, all the people who only get their info from Fox News still think this is all a hoax, or overblown? They are throwing around phrases like "Chicken Little reaction," and "sissy crybabys." Yeesh.
I don't care who you are, if you express views that jeopardize my family and friends, I don't want to be "friends" with you.
I'm unfriending left and right. The safety and welfare of my family and friends is more important than not hurting the feelings of relative strangers.
Just had to unfriend Billy Tucci over this.
There was a considerable followup from readers and creators to this, leading Larry to write,
Look, I did not mean for this to be a public bashing. This is my reaction to something very specific. I considered Billy a friend. Mainly because we tacitly avoided ever discussing politics or religion. I found his position on this issue to be so upsetting that I had to take action. I could have quietly unfriended him, but I had a bad experience with another pro over that (he loudly confronted me at a con and demanded to know why I unfriended him, and I had to tell him that it was because I didn't want to see his racist memes in my feed.) So, posted a comment on Billy's page, and explained why I was unfriending him before I mentioned anything on this page. Also, I will not abide trashing his work on my page. He is talented and reliable artist, and if I were still an editor I would not hesitate to hire him.
But what did Billy Tucci say anyway? As many e-mails I received since the weekend asked me. Well, Billy said that he deleted the post, but regretted doing so almost immediately. But the original public post could be found.
Which read, regarding Billy's son,
Matthew is furious as the Middle School wrestling team's season has been cancelled due to Convid-19. Again, be hygenically careful but the facts are that 60 MILLION Americans caught the Swine Flu in 2009 and thousands died. No one even blinked.
We now have less than 40 deaths and the country is in complete lockdown, a market crash and total panic.
This is a creation of the media who's motives are completely nefarious at best.
Now it appears that Larry took that to mean that Billy believed that the coronavirus pandemic was a media hoax, while Billy states that he meant the market crash, panic and resultant lockdown was because of media panic. Which could have been made a lot clearer than the way he phrased it, and doesn't take into account that a) the coronavirus has a much greater mortality rate than swine flu and b) plenty of people did blink, including the US Government who announced a national emergency.
Anyway, I did as Billy asked, posted on Larry's page, though Larry replied that the media hoax aspect was the least of it. This is clearly an emotive issue for many. Personally I think I'd have preferred it if the media had panicked a little earlier, but each to his own… and since then, Billy has posted more along the lines of the following:
Oh and it appears that Matthew may have got a match after all…