Dark Horse Comics, the group behind such wonderful series as Hellboy, the Mass Effect comics, etc, etc, may unfortunately have harbored a dark secret for years: a physically abusive editor-in-chief. According to a report in comics ethics and social issues blog Graphic Policy, Scott Allie, until recently Editor-in-Chief at Dark Horse, has a history of abusive behavior including biting and licking co-workers and convention attendees, which graduated recently into direct sexual assaults during San Diego Comic-Con this summer. Furthermore, Allie remains at Dark Horse, having transitioned to the position of executive senior editor.
“Scott will refocus his efforts as executive senior editor to do what he does best: serve as one of the best editors in the business, while helping to curate and develop new content,” said Dark Horse president and publisher Mike Richardson, in Dark Horse’s statement on the staffing changes this September. To be fair, Richardson has since issued another statement on the allegations against Allie, and Allie himself has issued an apology. So far at least, though, to my knowledge he remains on the strength at Dark Horse.
Should Allie resign or be sacked because of what he did? That’s one question. Does his behavior, apparently tolerated over up to 20 years, underline once again the problem of sexist, abusive, and misogynistic attitudes in comic book publishing and fandom? That’s a complete no-brainer.
As I remarked elsewhere, the comic books world is one where executives discourage stories with strong female characters. One where sexual harassment at conventions is enough of a problem to trigger zero tolerance calls at cons like the San Diego meet where Allie allegedly did his stuff. Should Dark Horse set an example? Or make one? Something surely needs to be done.