A few things that have come up regarding the Val D’Orazio and Chris Sims Harassment situation…
One? Why did he wait so long to apologize? In an ideal world, Chris would have apologized when he realized the damage he had done.
This is the most damning part of the post harassment. Chris offered a reason that, while I kind of get it, simply does not absolve this severe lapse in judgement. His reason was, she had cut herself off, and he did not want to force the situation on her. But the thing is, had he simply apologized a few years ago there are at least two possible ways it would have played out. One, maybe she would have angrily said “fuck off, Sims.” But at least he would have been making the effort. That would have said a lot for others even if she had rejected it. Another likely possibility? She accepted the apology they made peace and the Gamer Gate folks had no (intentional or unintentional) ally. Chris Sims blew it on this front. It makes any apology now one that will be severely scrutinized.
Two? This went on from 2007 to 2010. Chris Sims started working for Comics Alliance under Laura Hudson’s guidance in February of 2010. Why did they not vet him better? My theory is they did not really vet Chris. They looked at his blog popularity, his general writing style and thought he would add something to the CA world. How could they overlook this? I also think the truth is a little harsh. I do not think many people thought what was going on was “Chris is harassing Val.” I mean, I read posts where he basically said how much he did not like Val. But I missed some of the harsher comments he left for her, since it I pretty much only read comment threads where I had commented. And there were a lot of folks (some more progressive than Chris was at the time) who were coming down hard on Val. The discussions surrounding threats on line had not hit full swing yet… I suspect the truth is, a lot of folks just did not think of what was happening as “harassment”. So, it was not treated as such by CA when they hired Chris. I am actually trying to reach out to CA folks on this one.
Three? Chris paid no price for this. Here, I find myself wondering what the solution is…does the Chris of today not get to work in comics because the Chris of yesterday was a terrible person? If we are not demanding he be fired…what is the appropriate punishment for behavior from 7-8 years back? Outside of apology, how must he pay? How should he suffer?
Listen, I am not speaking in hypotheticals here. From first through twelfth grade, I got harassed and bullied. My bullies all got away with it. They suffered nothing. I stated on Facebook yesterday that Sim’s comment asking D’Orazio if she was “gonna cry, little girl” fills me with an anger that wants to punch that Chris Sims in the face. I hate that one comment with a intense anger. But what…was I supposed to call the WB when one of my bullies was a lead on a semi-popular show of theirs? I really hate to believe the only justice would be to prevent them from making a living, especially when, in Sim’s case the person in question turned around for the better. And frankly, everybody who came down on Val paid no price for it. They all went on with their lives, and if we are going to take this seriously, it is not justice to only demand Sims pay a price. According to Val, Sims was one of the worst not because he wrote bad things (she indicates his followers wrote far worse)… so why are the folks who followed his lead not being held to account for not paying a price? Because they are not about to write an x-men comic? That seems pretty weak.
Four? Did I mention Gamer Gate? Yeah. Why? Because what actually started this was not a tweet from Val. What started this was that Val and her husband were aware Gamer Gate was about to use this as an attack on Chris and Comics Alliance…which explains why Chris e-mailed an apology to Val’s husband. He reached out to Chris and CA. People have argued it does not matter. But it does…because Gamer Gate does not care about Val or her values. They are using her to attack people who have argued and fought for the same things as her. GG hate Comics Alliance and their “SJW Ways”, and saw the history with Val as the perfect weapon against people who call for diversity within comics and gaming. This is not something to be pushed aside. It is not a diversion. And it is not an excuse. It matters.
Chris has now repeated taken responsibility and apologized, which is sadly rare. If Chris lost the X-Men gig, I would shed no tears (though it is not karma-he did not get her removed from any comics)…but I am really not sure how giving in to the mob mentality now is a critical hit of the mob harassment mentality of then. What is the price the changed person should pay?
Posted in: Comic Book News & Opinion