Reminding us—for those lucky enough to need it—that the pervasive culture of sexual harassment and disrespect toward women that’s finally being discussed in public doesn’t magically stop at the Hollywood border, Buzzfeed published a new post yesterday detailing multiple accusations of harassment against senior DC Comics editor Eddie Berganza, and accusations against the company of protecting him from the consequences of his alleged actions. It’s worth noting that none of the incidents recounted in the piece—which include numerous instances of Berganza forcibly kissing women and “shoving his tongue down their throats,” without their consent—will be new to avid followers of the comics industry; indeed, much of the frustration powering the article centers on the fact that Berganza’s tendency to make the women around him deeply uncomfortable has been an open, ignored secret at DC for years.
None of the five women who spoke on the record for the article—including Liz Gehrlein Marsham and former editor Janelle Asselin, who led efforts to lodge HR complaints against Berganza in 2010—are still with the company. But Berganza still is, something that provoked outrage last year, when a restructuring led DC to fire long-time Vertigo editor Shelly Bond, but keep Berganza on, overseeing many of the publications under its Superman group of titles (including, reportedly, Wonder Woman and Supergirl.) Instead of firing him after the accusations, the company appears to have simply moved Berganza around, sometimes in the form of a promotion, to keep him from working directly with female employees. When another alleged incident occurred in 2012—this time, to a woman outside the company, during a convention appearance—Berganza was simply quietly demoted, despite the fact that the entire DC office apparently knew the event had happened.
The Buzzfeed article—the latest in a long line of reporting on Berganza’s apparently ironclad role at the company—is a long, depressing look at the consequences (such as they are) for alleged harassment in the DC Comics offices, as well as the ways the company’s policies affect and discourage its female readers and employees. The only real difference is that this one comes at a time when the winds of change appear to be blowing; it remains to be seen how DC or Warner Bros. will responds to this latest blast of heat.