There has been a lot of talk about the inappropriate treatment of women in the comics industry the last few weeks with Tess Fowler leading the charge. Lots of people are coming forward with stories and a lot of really deplorable things are getting brought into the light. Now, I typically don’t enter my opinions into discussions on comic book “hot button” issues in any online or formal format for several reasons, but after reading what happened to Conny Valentina, I feel like I should make an official statement regarding Out of Step Arts’ policy on harassment. So what happened? Well, you can read what Conny wrote on her facebook for the full story in her words, but essentially, while at a convention in the US in 2011, a well-known (as of yet unnamed publicly) artist broke into her hotel room during the night (with a key he had obtained from the front desk under false pretenses), stripped naked, and got into her bed while she was sleeping! That goes way beyond the wink and a nudge “I’ll be nice to you if you’re nice to me” male power-play. That is downright criminal behavior! The convention organizer has already contacted Conny to discuss the matter and will be talking to the hotel to insure that no instances like that will ever happen again during future conventions. Conny is really brave for speaking out and I applaud her for it.
As for my policy regarding harassment and inappropriate behavior; I won’t tolerate it. If you feel that any of the OOSA artists have behaved in an inappropriate, offensive, threatening or harassing (sexual or otherwise) manner towards you, please notify me and I will deal with it.
Now, if you behave in an inappropriate, offensive, threatening or harassing (sexual or otherwise) manner towards any of the OOSA artists, I will also deal with that. Swiftly.
The OOSA artists, besides being talented and hardworking, are nice, honest and caring people. I am proud to have each of them as a part of the collective and I feel that they act as ambassadors for Out of Step Arts and the larger comics industry as a whole. In being an OOSA artist, I expect that they will treat people with respect and dignity, just as I expect them to be treated in the same manner by others. I will do my best to insure this happens.