The highly insular world of comics is talking about another defamation case: this one filed by a comics industry figure accused of sexual harassment, anti-Semitism and other offenses. I have absolutely no idea whether there is any truth to these allegations.
Read the article.
Important people within the industry, including some who I consider friends, have rushed to the defense of the defendants in the defamation lawsuit. There’s even a gofundme seeking to raise $120,000 for the defendants. It’s doing great.
What disturbs me is that details are still sketchy and so hard to come by. No one has posted the defamation complaint so that we can read it. Yet an inordinately high number of people within the industry are expressing support for the 11 defendants and donating money. That’s a lot of strong opinion without a lot of information.
Again, I have absolutely no idea if the plaintiff in this case is as much of an asshole as alleged. Obviously the courts will sort this out. If he is, the odds are that his lawsuit will be dismissed or that he will lose at trial.
What if he’s right? What if he’s telling the truth? In the age of #MeToo, no one seems to be asking that question.
I’ve seen this sort of behavior before, especially within the world of cartooning. You’d think cartoonists would be a punk-rock crowd but they aren’t. Most are a timid lot. Filing a lawsuit makes a lot of them uncomfortable. I’ve seen it twice. Many of my colleagues don’t like the fact that in 1999 I filed a lawsuit against an identity thief who tried to destroy my career and in fact destroyed one of my most important relationships. Many others don’t like the fact that I’m now suing a media company. Don’t poke the bear, seems to be their mantra.
They don’t dispute that I’m right. They don’t dispute that I was victimized. They just think I should take my licks. It’s a weird culture of submission.
I talked to a Pulitzer-winning cartoonist shortly after the LA Times screwed me to try to enlist his support. I don’t believe you, he told me. I asked him if he had listened to the audio? No time for that, he replied. It’s six minutes long. He spent hours telling other people he didn’t believe me but couldn’t be bothered to spend six minutes to see if his strong opinion held water. Lazy mofo. Stupid.
Critical thinking calls for less knee-jerkery and more careful consideration of the facts and evidence. If I don’t know enough about a cause, I don’t take a side.