Without a knowing the bigger picture, you could think he was delusional. But with the whole story, there is no other way of looking at it than he is a manipulator.
Did you insert yourself into someone’s trauma for personal reasons? Are you being a supportive person or just an angry one?
Was that an “innocent flirtation” that you just made, or are your comments actually harassment?
These questions are important. Actions have consequences. Even online actions can lead to real damage.
The world we live in is changing all the time. Sometimes for the worse, and sometimes for the better. One of the ways that our society has been changing for the better over the last couple of years is that there is greater accountability required by people who have preyed upon the vulnerable and engaged in inappropriate personal behavior. The #MeToo movement has made it more difficult for everything from unwanted overly familiar innuendo to sexual assault to be brushed away or excused.
There are two types of goals for exposing unacceptable behavior publicly. The first is punishment. Punishment for the offender. Unfortunately, even though the victims are justified in their desire for some level of retribution, that doesn’t always work out.
An example of that is the public declaration of Chris Hardwick‘s behavior in a past relationship by Chloe Dykstra. He laid low for a short time and made some public statements without admitting guilt, and now he is back on TV and getting paid.
Sometimes, people are cast out from their positions of celebrity. Truly, it should be a privilege to be a public figure and be celebrated. That includes comic book writers and artists. Companies are free to employ whom they chose, and consumers are free to support who they want, but people have a right know when someone is behaving badly, especially if that person is in the public arena.
We saw, last year, that Eric Esquivel was fired following revelations of abusive behavior, and recently Dark Horse Comics stated that they would no longer work with Brian Wood because of multiple allegations of unacceptable actions. In the case of Jai Nitz, comic writer and college guest lecturer, it took the reaction of the University of Kansas banning him from the campus for the comics community to take notice of what had been a pattern of terrible acts.
The second goal for exposing inappropriate behavior is awareness. Awareness that the actions are wrong, and that the perpetrator is engaging in this behavior. We mentioned awareness that the behavior is wrong, and that is the meat of this post.
There are people who prey on the vulnerable and the abused by portraying themselves as an ally. Some people use the trauma of others for their own benefit. They frame the other people’s injuries with their own feelings.
One such person is comic writer C.W. Cooke. He is a pretty well known in the indie comic circuit, especially online. Until very recently, he has been quick to comment and insert himself in the raging at bad actors in the comic community.
There is a difference between being a predator that breaks laws and someone who crosses the barriers of acceptable social interactions. The latter can cause personal pain and often result in very real trauma.