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DC Vertigo Cancels Border Town After Writer/Co-Creator Eric M. Esquivel Accused of Sexual Abuse

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DC Vertigo has canceled the popular series Border Town after writer and co-creator Eric M. Esquivel was accused of sexual abuse by a former partner. The accusations stem from a blog post by toy designer Cynthia Naugle titled “X, my experience with my abuser”. While Naugle doesn’t name Esquivel in the post (referring to her abuser as only ‘X’), she later confirmed his identity in a series of tweets.

Naugle’s post details a disturbing pattern of coercion, manipulation and emotional abuse at the hands of her former partner. She wrote, “He works in the comic book industry and I want this to be a warning for those he works with and around … I hope with this, like many other women that have come out about their abusers we could make a change and hold more and more men accountable.” More women came forward on social media to detail their alleged experiences with Esquivel, accusing him of similar emotional and sexual abuse:

Esquivel’s other titles include Freelancers, Adventure Time and Loki: Ragnarok And Roll, to name a few. He released a statement in response to the allegations, saying:

I was recently accused of misconduct by a former romantic partner. Not recent misconduct. Misconduct which allegedly happened many years ago. Out of respect for her and our prior relationship, I will not publicly name names.

I’ve taken a few days to respond, because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t talking over anyone. We’re in the midst of a very important cultural conversation right now. One I wholeheartedly believe in.

Never in my life did I expect that I would become one of the accused. I will not speculate as to her motivation for making these reckless allegations, but I want to make it clear that they are false. Though our relationship was unconventional, we always treated one another with dignity and respect.

I heavily encourage, and will fully cooperate in, any forthcoming independent investigation of these claims, which I am confident will show that I have been falsely accused.

I have been notified that DC Vertigo has canceled the book I was working on. My heart breaks for the book’s supporters, and my creative collaborators. They don’t deserve to be negatively affected by this unfortunate situation.

Since the cancellation, Border Town artists Ramon Villalobos and Tamra Bonvillain have issued statements of support for Naugle online.

We believe Cynthia Naugle and hope she finds the support and peace she needs.

(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: DC Vertigo)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.