On November 10, 2017, Buzzfeed published an article titled 'The Dark Side of Comics.' In it, numerous women who formerly worked for DC Comics detailed the sexual harassment they were subjected to by Eddie Berganza, one of DC's most prominent editors, having worked on comic book runs and characters like Brightest Day, Blackest Night, Superman and Titans.
Instances of abuse recounted in the article included Berganza forcibly kissing female co-workers, groping others, and making offensive jokes directed at women. Shortly after the allegations came out, DC suspended Berganza and pulled him off from his editorial duties. Part of the company's statement at the time read:
"DC Entertainment has immediately suspended Mr. Berganza and has removed him from performing his duties as Group Editor at DC Comics. There will be a prompt and yet careful review into next steps as it relates to the allegations against him, and the concerns our talent, employees and fans have shared."
Fortunately, the company was quick to follow-up on the situation.
Eddie Berganza Has Been Officially Fired From DC Comics
One day after Berganza's suspension was made public, DC decided to fire him, telling Buzzfeed that the company was "committed to eradicating harassment." Furthermore, on Monday, November 13, president of #DCEntertainment Diane Nelson reportedly sent an email to employees, stating:
"Our doors are always open and we look forward to working with our employees and our talent community to do better as an organization and as a leader in the comics industry."
While some people have praised DC for parting ways with Berganza, his firing has caused some controversy online. You see, Buzzfeed's article wasn't the first time that the former editor was accused of harassment and assault. In fact, Berganza's predatory behavior has reportedly been a topic of discussion around the comic book industry for years. Back in 2012, for example, Bleeding Cool stated that Berganza had sexually assaulted a female comic book creator during that year's WonderCon, in front of numerous witnesses.
While Berganza's name was initially kept away from the article, the site corroborated his identity in a later article. Furthermore, according to Buzzfeed's report, five people reported Berganza to human resources, but even with a demotion from executive editor to group editor, not much was done to stop his behavior. With that background, people online have been displeased by the fact that DC didn't take action until now, when the issue gained mainstream attention:
The people who spoke out have a point. This should go without saying, but sexual assault accusations should always be taken seriously, no matter how important or powerful the person responsible for that kind of abuse may be.
Hopefully, this situation will be a learning lesson for major corporations moving forward when it comes to tackling sexual abuse and doing the right thing the first time rather than scrambling to make public relations amends when the stories go public.