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DC Comics Pulls The Plug On Executive Column After Too Many Tough Questions From Fans

DC Comics has been criticized before for their public relations responses (or non-responses, as the case may be) and a recent move has raised eyebrows yet again. Editor-In-Chief Bob Harras and Editorial Director Bobbie Chase were contributing to a monthly column to Comic Book Resources in which they answered questions from both the journalists working for CBR and fans. But in its latest installment the website announced DC would no longer be participating. And guess what? The Orson Scott Card controversy and other “tough questions” played a part. 

We’ve seen these types of questions being lobbed at creators or executives at DC and Marvel before but I can’t say the B&B column was particularly different. Questions were asked (nothing was said to be specifically off the table) and answers ranged from straight replies for the easy ones, to tap-dance routines for the more difficult ones with product placement in between. But what brought the column to a halt prematurely? Seemingly, this fan question:

Finally, LGBT_Fan asks, “As a gay man, I was disappointed that you decided to work with Orson Scott Card on the upcoming Adventures of Superman. The man has called for the overthrow of the government if marriage equality legislation is passed in the U.S. and serves on the board of the National Organization of Marriage. How do you justify this hiring along with your attempts at reaching out to the LGBT community (e.g. writing LGBT characters in stories like Alan Scott and Batwoman)?”

Instead of a reply from either Harras or Chase, CBR was left to post this message instead, “Note: A DC spokesperson referred CBR back to their previous statement on that question.” You may remember artist Chris Sprouse leaving the Superman book Card was meant to be a part of as a result of the controversial hiring. But it wasn’t just a dodge we saw in the column, it was an all-out exit. CBR writes:

With regret, CBR News has to inform our readers today that there will no longer be a “B&B” column on the site after only four short months.

When CBR proposed the idea of a regular column with DC’s executive staff, our stated intent was for the feature to be a place to connect the decision makers at the publisher with the wider comics community. Aside from product and story information, discussing the industry news and debates of the day was something we always planned to focus on both in the regular interviews with Harras and Chase and the monthly fan Q&A. However, the DC team has made it clear to CBR that discussing some of the more controversial debates surrounding the company and the comics community is not something they feel comfortable doing in this format, and ultimately they decided to no longer participate in this feature.

Specifically, Harras and Chase declined to comment on questions about DC exclusive talent Jerry Ordway in regards to his statements about his work with the publisher. (Though it should be noted that DC Co-PublisherJim Lee did discuss the matter in a recent CBR TV interview)

After ensuing discussions on the matter, CBR regrets that DC has decided not to continue what we consider a valuable discussion for readers, retailers and creators. We will however continue to cover the company’s comics, editorial moves and broader impact on comics to the best of our ability – including future interviews with DC executives and editorial staff as they are willing and available.

So basically, they might be willing to discuss the more controversial topics but only after they’ve been able to prepare a statement, and certainly not in a forum where people might say something wrong. As a business, it’s both a wise move and a horrible PR misstep.

You want your company to be represented in the best light possible but if you’re putting your employees out there for open discussion, it must be just that. You want to instruct your employees to say “no comment” on particular topics, then do that, but don’t offer them up for interviews and then run off like a child denied a toy when you’re being asked something you don’t like. To put it mildly, it looks bad.

Graeme McMillan at Newsarama wrote about the situation, highlighting a different way to look at this all. “On the other, as Heidi Macdonald wrote yesterday, only in comics would we expect upper editorial executives to subject themselves to monthly questions from their readership,” he wrote. “To go further, only in Big Two comics would we expect that, because of the way Marvel interacts with readers and the press; we don’t see the decision makers from Dark Horse, IDW or Image undergo regularly scheduled interrogations, and I’m not sure anyone really expects them to, either.”

True, fans have fairly open communication with Marvel and DC as compared to other brands, not limited to comics, but they are a fan company by nature and interact with readers on a regular basis at conventions and the like. So can anyone blame us when we’re frustrated by a lack of communication? Again, not saying as customers we should be entitled to answers about everything but when you cut short a column you agreed to participate in because of questions like the one above (inevitable questions, I might add), don’t be surprised with the eventual results.

When conducting interviews in the entertainment industry at large, from time to time, you’re told certain topics are off limits. For instance, when interviewing Kristen Stewart for an upcoming film release, her people may tell you not to bring up her affair with Rupert Sanders. As a journalist/media outlet, it’s then your choice to continue with the interview or not and also your choice whether or not to still bring it up. If you do, you’re likely a jerk (because really, it’s none of your business) and the actor will likely walk off set. That’s their right as it is yours to ask after being asked not to. While DC is not KStew, I give my utmost journalistic regards to CBR for letting the column go rather than stop asking the questions people want answers to, especially after introducing a column meant to cover anything and everything about DC.

What do you think of DC’s choice to end the column?

(via Comic Book Resources)

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  • Canisa

    When the comics industry is saying things marginalised people don’t like: FREE SPEECH IS IMPORTANT, GUYS!

    When marginalised people are saying things the comics industry doesn’t like: SHUT DOWN THE DISCUSSION AT ONCE!

  • Ashe P. Samuels

    I think they’re sweating in their suits at all the people calling their shit out.

    You’re right, in that standards have to be upheld in journalism. There are certain things you shouldn’t say, certain things you shouldn’t do, etc. Like any other field of work, there are rules to be followed. As…erratically followed as they can be, anyway.

    But, is it any real mystery that the topic considered off-limits is a topic that’s always been considered off-limits, at the expense of people who’ve been neglected and hurt too much and in favor of bigots and bigwigs with a lot of money?

    This looks really bad. And, what can I say, DC has been on a roll with that lately.

    Why stop now?

  • Jim Goff


  • Tony Quatermass

    I won’t be buying any Superman book with that bigot Card’s name attached.

  • Anonymous

    Of course they’re dumbstruck when people ask why they’d hire a bigot like Card. The honest answer of “We know a lot of our LGBTQ fans are hurt, but we don’t give a shit because MONEY!!!!” probably wouldn’t go down well.

    I mean remember the “Of course DC is diverse! We have blue and pink characters!” nonsense when someone asked about the shitty treatment of minority characters? DC’s biggest PR enemy is DC.

  • Mike Cassandra

    Jill, I was with you through this entire article… but then you said “KStew”. Haha. Those little pet names just make me wanna gag.

    Other than that though, great article.

  • Ben Lundy

    With all of the PR blunders DC has made in the past two years, did they really not expect to get questions on controversial topics? Were they expecting more tepid questions like “when are we going to see Clayface in Batman next?” Were they not tipped off by the righteous indignation of people who were willing to confront them publicly at conventions, to say nothing of the power of anonymity that fans wield on the Internet?

    I’m left wondering if it was Bob & Bobbie’s decision to quit the column, or DC’s. Were B&B uncomfortable serving as PR mouthpieces for decisions they did not agree with? I know that would make ME uncomfortable. Or was DC unhappy with some of their proposed answers? We’ll probably never know.

  • Jill Pantozzi

    Haha, I’m with you, I also don’t care for it but I was in a rush. :)

  • Laura

    I think, while open discussion is important, an open internet column is not the best place for any company/organization/group to address controversial issues. Not just because the co/org/group might say something they regret or can’t stand behind, but also because the public tends to be more anonymously demanding, close-minded, and negative in those forum settings… A controversial topic may be started by someone with the best intentions but then devolve into people trolling or just insulting each other. It is pretty much the more common thing to see in forums. As a company they really should have considered that BEFORE starting their open column, but I can’t help and think it’s a smart idea they close it. As long as they are taking the time to address the controversial issues in another setting, because, as they can see, it’s clearly something people want a response about.

  • Aeryl

    “we don’t see the decision makers from Dark Horse, IDW or Image undergo regularly scheduled interrogations”

    That statement from CBR is not quite accurate. Scott Allie, editor of Dark Horse participates in Q&A features with the Buffy fandom at Slayalive. And THAT’S a fandom that’ll rake you over the coals.

  • Abhinav Jain

    The column hasn’t yielded any particularly notable answers as it is since Bob and Bobbie always dance around stuff, acting all super-mysterious about things or just being silly in general.

  • Anonymous

    How many of the Superman books are you currently purchasing? If you are announce a boycott of something that you weren’t doing in the first place, that doesn’t mean much. Also, you will be glad to know that the Card story has been “delayed” until they can find a new artist. So i am sure you will now be purchasing Adventures of Superman 1.

  • Gerald Kirby

    Marvel & DC remind me more like the present Canadian government with every story. There is an extremely tight control on communication from the top, and individuality is not encouraged. Despite the fact that they say they are working for the fans/voters, their first & only priority is keeping their corporate masters happy.

  • Craig Forshaw

    I’m pretty sure the answer was probably closer to, “We didn’t think anyone would care given how Marvel has been selling his work and trading on his name for years, and no-one kicked up a massive fuss.”

    Personally, I thought it was deplorable to say that a person should be blacklisted from any kind of work because of their beliefs, unless the work as presented furthered those beliefs. My main reason for this is because, once a precident has been set, this type of censorship can easily be used by those people who are very prejudiced, by dressing their reasoning up in similar clothing. Heck, FOX News do this all the time. (I hope no-one takes offence to this, as it isn’t meant to be me trolling, just that I am concerned about people drawing lines in that sand that can be kind of dangerous, and I do think beyond just the initial campaign and worry about the long-term damage. I’m one of those people that thinks you win more people over to your argument with a smile than with a scowl, is all. Plus, today they ban Orson Scott Card from writing Superman, tomorrow someone insists H. P. Lovecraft’s work is banned for racism, etc. I hate snowballing, but it can, and has, happened before today.)

    That said, I wouldn’t have bought the book, anyway, because, aside from one average novel, Card is an awful writer. Are there actually any good Mormon writers? I’m not asking this to troll the thread, I am genuinely interested, because between Card and Stephanie Meyer, I’m genuinely wondering.

  • Craig Forshaw

    I buy ‘Superman Family Adventures’, as it has been the best Superman book since ‘All-Star Superman’ for a very long time. :-D

  • Andy Bentley

    Remember when Marvel was at it’s lowest in the mid 90′s? Facing bankruptcy, launching Heroes Reborn, ect? You know who was in charge back then? Bob Harras. You know who worked at the company back then? Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Scott Lobdell, Tony Daniel, the list goes on and on. Instead of looking to the future to helm the new 52, DC went back to the failed past. That’s why the DC books you read haven’t been up to par.

  • Anonymous

    Eh, speech is always free when you’re the one controlling the platform. >_>

  • Anonymous

    Brandon Sanderson isn’t a bad author. His worldview definitely colors his writing, but not at all in a bad way. His Mistborn series is worth checking out for its magic system alone, it’s completely unique. As for blacklisting someone for their beliefs … that is tricky, but I honestly don’t see any problem with it if say DC comics decided to break all ties with Card over his rampant anti-gay hate mongering.

    It’s not as if DC would be preventing Card’s writing from appearing anywhere else, they’d simply be breaking a business relationship with him. So in that sense it’s not actually blacklisting. The thing people seem to forget about freedom of speech is that it’s a wonderful right to have, but when we choose to exercise it we can, and should, be held accountable for the things we say. You can say whatever you want if you’re prepared to deal with the consequences. So in the Card/DC situation it would behoove DC to stand up and say to their audience “you know what, we hear you, we care, and we’re not going to be publishing anything from Card anymore. He still gets his money from this deal, but going forward, no more Card, unless he dramatically changes his tune.” And that should be that. The fact that they’ve been so cowardly about the whole issue speaks volumes of their opinion of the comic book reading community. They’d rather risk alienating the LGBT community and their allies than their straight white cis-gendered audience. And that’s what really sticks in my craw, but let’s face it, boycotting a single issue of a single series isn’t really going to accomplish anything, especially when we’re talking about a publishing juggernaut like DC. Man I’ve strayed from the response I had imagined in my head … moving back.

    About the whole blacklisting someone because of their beliefs, here’s my opinion in a nutshell. If the beliefs in question are predicated entirely upon denying a certain segment of the population [be it based on gender, race, age, whatever] basic human rights, rights that the author more than likely personally enjoys, then I have no problem with someone choosing to sever a business relationship with the person that holds these beliefs.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not gonna “smile” at someone who thinks I’m inferior and don’t deserve rights because of whom I’m physically attracted to or what my skin color is. Those people can have a scowl and a gigantic middle finger from me.

  • Craig Forshaw

    OK, I understand that, but I still have two reservations:

    (1) Any type of censorship tends to make it difficult for people with valid criticisms of any group, so what happens if someone at DC does make a valid criticism and someone turns that into the next Orson Scott Card? I’m just familiar with how censorship has worked in the past, as it does tend to be used more to prevent anyone showing an alternate perspective rather than to protect people (and deliberately muddying the distinction between the two). I’m not saying, “Homophobia is fine!” But I am saying that, for example, some controversy baiting writers might find it harder to get work, or someone may have a character say or do something homophobic and the audience immediately assume that the author is inserting a specific messages.

    (2) The notion that DC should have to apologise for hiring Card is especially baffling. If Marvel didn’t have to apologise and pull his work, why do DC? It seems to me that this argument is more about Superman, than Orson Scott Card, even though, as Card is the author of “Ender’s Game”, he probably got paid more by Marvel, and certainly got more press prior to writing “Ultimate Iron Man” (I check here, Newsarama, Comic Book Resources, and Bleeding Cool daily, as well as io9, and the first I heard about this story was when people kicked off; meanwhile, I remember a lot of promotion of “Ultimate Iron Man” when it was due to be published – he originally commented on his opposition to homosexuality in 1990, after all, though more recent rants came after “Ultimate Iron Man”, but Marvel didn’t pull the trade, or stop publishing anything Ender-related).

  • Mike Cassandra

    It happens. Haha. You’re still my fav blogger, no worries. Have you made it out to Bottleneck Gallery yet?

  • Anonymous

    I’m pretty sure that a lot of people were completely unaware of Card’s beliefs, hence the johnny-come-lately criticism, but the fact that people weren’t critical of Card’s work on other titles and in other genres in no way affects the basis of criticisms being leveled at him and DC comics. Here’s a quote from a recent Salon article that pretty much sums up how I feel about it.

    “This is not some freedom of speech thing, not some despicable and childish refusal to engage with those who disagree politically. I would defend to the death Card’s right to speak his beliefs, but the hell if I have to stock it on my shelves if I’m the owner of a comic book store. And the hell if I have to draw the panels into which those words are written if I’m an artist. Card has the right to speak, but so do all these other people.”(

    You’re absolutely right that this is also about Superman. I highly doubt people would be as up in arms if Card were writing a book about the Organ Grinder, but that’s because Superman is pretty unique, the whole truth, justice, etc. Superman is arguably a book about ideals, and Superman is often held up as an idealized being (morally, physically and so on). Placing such an iconic character that holds such a special place in the pantheon of comic book superheroes in the hands of an openly homophobic bigot who’s stated that he’d like to dismantle the U.S. government if they fail to ban homosexual marriage and homosexuality seems …counterintuitive to say the least.

  • Anonymous

    DC’s approach here is nothing but vile.

  • Scott Slemmons

    Has there ever been a company more painfully inept with their public relations than DC?

  • Ashe P. Samuels

    A smile or a scowl doesn’t change your argument. Those that insist you ‘be nice to them or they won’t listen’ aren’t individuals who are interested in becoming better people, anyway.

    If I say, “Gravity is real.” with a smile, then say it again with a scowl, does that change whether or not what I say is true?

  • Anonymous

    DC? Dastardly Cowards

  • Claude AndPam Parish

    If DC gave a damn about fan criticism, they would have shut down their reboot after six months. One month in and I was done with DC.

  • Laura Truxillo

    To be fair, Lobdell’s Generation X was a freaking fantastic comic, featuring lots of lady and PoC characters and, well, just a fun read, really.

  • Laura Truxillo

    That was kind of my thought. I mean, I bet they would get a lot of regular old-fashioned nerd questions, but given recent attitudes and convention confrontations, they HAD to know uncomfortable questions were a-coming.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Just gonna say what we’re talking about here isn’t censorship. Consequences and censorship are not the same thing. Other folks explained that one better.

    There were plenty of articles explaining better as well, but it’s not just about his words, it’s about his actions and his calls to action that made folks pissed off.

    Not doing business with people you find repugnant is generally a way to make behaving in a terrible way less acceptable.

    Suppose there was a grocery store where the owner was a huge bigot. Maybe not in every conversation, but given the opportunity, he’d say some horrible things about various groups of people. He was even a member of an organization dedicated to oppressing those groups of people. It didn’t affect the quality of his store or his groceries.

    But do you really need to get your groceries from that guy?

  • Becca!

    If he just didn’t “believe” in treating people equally, sure, fine, that’s okay (I…guess? How do you justify that belief, really?). But he ACTIVELY CAMPAIGNS against people because of their sexuality. It’s not his speech that is the issue, it’s his actions.

  • Wayne Anthony Feeney

    “The thing people seem to forget about freedom of speech is that it’s a wonderful right to have, but when we choose to exercise it we can, and should, be held accountable for the things we say. You can say whatever you want if you’re prepared to deal with the consequences.”

    This x1,000,000.

  • Jamie Jeans

    HAH! Cowards… frigging cowards, that’s what they are.

  • Joe Fiore

    It’s very sad that people made an issue of Card’s hiring. I’m pro-gay marriage, but also support Card’s right to HIS beliefs. It’s a scary world we are coming to where there is a litmus test, and if you don’t think a certain way you’re not allowed to be hired. Very scary indeed.

    Card is a talented writer, and I sincerely doubt that his Superman story would have been an anti Gay Marriage tale. DC should make no apologies for the hiring of Card. You don’t need to share his belief system to enjoy his work.

    This thought police society we live in is disgraceful.

    As much as I’m pro gay marriage, I sometimes wish that I wasn’t because those on our side are often so hateful, close minded and bigoted towards those AGAINST gay marriage.

  • Joe Fiore

    His opinions on gay marriage are irrelevant to his Superman story.

  • Joe Fiore

    “Personally, I thought it was deplorable to say that a person should be
    blacklisted from any kind of work because of their beliefs, unless the
    work as presented furthered those beliefs.”

    Well said and 100% true!

  • Joe Fiore

    ” So in the Card/DC situation it would behoove DC to stand up and say to
    their audience “you know what, we hear you, we care, and we’re not going
    to be publishing anything from Card anymore. He still gets his money
    from this deal, but going forward, no more Card, unless he dramatically
    changes his tune.”

    Are you frakkin’ kidding me? Don’t hire him until he changes his tune? Dear God, how could you even suggest such a thing?

    He is totally entitled to “his tune”. “His tune” has nothing to do with Superman. His beliefs on gay marriage play no role in his writing, and this is some scary, scary censorship bully tactics you suggest. “Agree with us, you you won’t be hired!”. Dear God. I don’t agree with Card, but I hope he stands firm in his convictions,. Everyone should. No matter what your convictions are.

    Put the show on the other foot. Would you want to see a talented writer blacklisted for SUPPORTING gay marriage unless he agrees to “change his tune”? What you propose his dangerous and anti-American

    Card’s a talented writer. I’m pro gay marriage, and I loved Ender’s Game. Can’t wait for the movie. DC owes no one an apology or an explanation for hiring Card. He was hired because he’s talented. END OF STORY.

  • Ashe P. Samuels

    Except his ‘opinions’ extend to being on the board of NOM and pushing his money toward keeping the LGBTQ community from having the same rights as everybody else.

    Not so harmless and personal, huh?

  • Ashe P. Samuels

    Intolerance towards intolerance!

    Oh god, it’s so hypocritical and unfair!

  • Nick Gaston

    …cowardly, and superstitious? ;D

  • Laura Truxillo

    Did you actually read any of the articles about that? Because people were very clear about how this wasn’t really about someone’s beliefs, but about their actions.

    Like people said, if this were a guy who was anti-interracial marriage and was part of a committee dedicated to making interracial marriage illegal, this wouldn’t even be a discussion, because history has shown us that some people’s beliefs are WRONG and harmful to others.

    Secondly, he was hired. He was paid. That’s how comics work–he wrote the story, he got paid. The story won’t be published any time soon, but he got paid. But even if he becomes toxic in the industry, again, it’s his ACTIONS that make him so (spouting hate is an action). If you behave badly–say, by demonizing a section of the population, actively fighting to deny them their rights or criminalize them, and call for a government uprising if consenting adults are allowed to marry–then people may be uncomfortable doing business with you.

    I said it downthread–if there were a grocery store where the owner passed out racist literature and was a member of a hate organization, even if the quality of the groceries were just fine, would you really want to shop there? Lots of folks wouldn’t. That’s not thought police–that’s just called consequences of being a bigot.

  • Craig Forshaw

    I just feel sorry for the man. But I wouldn’t ruin his hopes and dreams, because an eye for an eye just leaves everyone blind.

  • Craig Forshaw

    Yes, but he’s losing and will lose. Plus, he is campaigning, but he isn’t really a recognised or important voice in this issue. He’s just a crackpot who wrote a moderately successful book. If anything, this has actually brought him more press and more attention – the exact opposite of what anyone would really want his argument to get.

  • Craig Forshaw

    I’m pretty sure that continuing the antagonism will just cause those people to hate you. I’m a teacher – and the kids with the most hate will only change when you show them a little care. Most human beings aren’t much different. You don’t care? Fine. But then, when those people then gather together and campaign against you? That is your fault for flipping them that finger. Gay or straight, black or white, man or woman, you find people will hate you far more easily if you play the “I don’t care”, reckless individual card.

  • Craig Forshaw

    I live in the UK, and we never pretended to have free speech here. Heck, if you slag off the Queen on Speakers Corner in London you can still technically be done for treason. Also, there is a square somewhere in this country where it is legal to shoot a Welshman in the back with a crossbow or some such.

    But, no, stupid people will always say stupid things. Reacting to them in stupid ways, or angry ways, just tends to make things worse. Homophobia needs to be challenged, not attacked, and the people who say these things need to be spoken to with the same care and compassion any of us would want in return, not punished.

  • Craig Forshaw

    Um… his name has been on ‘Iron Man’ comics for ages. Marvel is promoting his own work. Iron Man has had three massive films in the last few years, and no own cares. Card’s own work is getting a massive film with Harrison Ford, and the cheques from the books are going straight to him in a way Superman wouldn’t, and possibly being used to fund his rants. That same guy who is complaining above? Why isn’t he making the same point about the Ender books, or ‘Ultimate Iron Man’? The fact is that people overly-romanticising Superman doesn’t make the argument valid, especially if their argument gives Marvel an easy ride and drags DC over hot-coals. Heck, Marvel have a fairly dodgy record with gay characters as it is, essentially setting up their two prominent teen gay characters, Billy Kaplan and Karolina Dean, with shapeshifting Skrulls so… is that a gay relationship, when you are with someone that can just switch their gender at will? There is a whole essay’s worth of controversy waiting with that one.

  • Craig Forshaw

    I remember when the bigots used the same thing to keep people from their stores. Discrimination via the free market is still discrimination. The issue here isn’t that they told people not to buy the book, but that they campaigned against it being published, which is censorship as much as burning books is. It sets a precedent. A very bad one.

  • Anonymous

    YAWN. I tried playing nice and the good little quiet gay negro and it got me nowhere. Those people are going to hate no matter what, so know what? Fuck ‘em. Don’t you dare try to lecture me about racial and sexual identity experiences you know nothing about.

  • Ashe P. Samuels

    And he’s losing because people are making sure he does.

    As for more press and attention? Well, it’s predominately negative, and it also has the side effect of making DC Comics buck up and rethink exactly what they want to do with their company.

  • Ashe P. Samuels

    You hear that, LGBTQ folks? Be nice to your oppressors or they won’t change!

    If only you were smart enough to figure that out for yourselves.

  • Ashe P. Samuels

    B-But, you should be nice because that’ll make THEM feel better! And their feelings are more important than your suffering and safety! Playing by their rules-I MEAN being nice is good because, um, an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind! Don’t fight back! Except, DO fight back, but fight back nicely!

    World peace!

  • Laura Truxillo

    No. No, you do not to get to say that systemic abuse of people based on their race, religion, or sexual orientation is the same thing as people fighting literal oppression.

    And your first sentence is STILL flawed, even ignoring that gross, gross concept.

    Because you said the same thing I did. I don’t mean you held up a mirror and said, “See yourself in this folly.” I mean I said, “Hey, what if a guy was crazy racist and made his store an unpleasant and unsafe place to shop even if the food was fine–people wouldn’t go there!” And you said, “Oh yeah, well there was this time when people were crazy racist and made their stores unpleasant and unsafe places to shop–and people didn’t go there!”

    Maybe owner isn’t even the best way to go with this analogy. DC is the shop owner. So once again: There’s this grocery store. And it’s got good food and decent prices and a lot of the staff is really friendly. But there’s this one guy–let’s say a skilled sort of employee, a baker or a butcher, who is, in fact, quite good at his job. And he’s even pretty friendly to most of the patrons. But if he sees two guys holding hands, he tells them they’re going to hell, he calls them disgusting, he says they’re everything that’s wrong with society, etc. He cheerfully (or angrily) tells people that he’s part of an organization that’s fighting against the gay menace.

    Those two guys probably won’t feel comfortable shopping there. Most gay folks probably won’t feel comfortable shopping there. Most of their straight friends also may not feel comfortable shopping there. They may even tell the manager: “Look, Steve’s a good butcher and all, but he’s crazy homophobic and as long as he’s working here, I’m not going to be shopping here.”

    That’s basically what happened. The “campaign” basically boiled down to a few thousand people telling DC “As long as Card’s name is on this book, I won’t buy it.” That isn’t censorship. That’s the market speaking.

    Bigotry doesn’t need to be protected from those intolerant people advocating tolerance. Maybe one day when I don’t fear for my friends and family’s livelihoods AND LIVES we can have this discussion in a vacuum. But the thing about free speech is that you can, in fact, say just about anything you want. But there ARE CONSEQUENCES to what you say. And if the consequences of acting like a bigot–and again, let’s remember, this is about ACTIONS, not mere words. Card is an important member of an organization that played a huge role in revoking California’s equal marriage rights–if the consequences of those actions are that people just don’t want to do business with you anymore, well…then maybe fewer people will actively try to actively harm other people for being who they are.

    Seriously, would you be as glib about all this if he came out as a KKK member?

  • Wayne Anthony Feeney

    Do you truly believe that bigots who would actively campaign against minorities need to be spoken to ‘with the same care and compassion any of us would want in return’? You think minorities ever achieved equal rights by being polite and asking nicely? You need to wise the hell up.

  • Brent Webster

    The writer of that salon article invalidated the moment he supported the blacklisting of Card from Superman because “you can’t separate the artist from the art.” That is, unless you think that those wary of Scientology should tell producers of the Mission: Impossible movies to dump Tom Cruise immediately. We separate art from the artist all the time.

    I do not agree with governmental sanction of gay marriage. That does keep me from enjoying the work of Elton John, Queen, Ellen DeGeneres or George Takei.

    I think that boycotts in general are silly (I’m looking at you “million moms”) and ineffectual, but to force someone off a project because you dislike their politics is another animal altogether. That is harassment. It’s the politics of personal destruction. It is McCarthyism with a different face.

  • Brent Webster

    What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? What, he can have any belief he wants as long as he doesn’t stand behind them?

    That’s still irrelevant to Superman.