benicio127: (Lois love)
[personal profile] benicio127 posting in [community profile] scans_daily
Cross-posted to No Scans_Daily.


First of all, apologies to [personal profile] nevermore999 for posting this from her LJ without asking first.

However, I really thought it was important enough to post.


Bill Willingham came in the panel, and ohmygod this really stupid guy bought up Steph, saying her death was poignant and he didn't think they should have bought her back because it was so important Batman kicked her to the curb and Leslie Thompkins (yes, he apparently liked THAT too) and Mom got all uncomfortable next to me...to Willingham's credit, he shut the guy down, saying the death was never his plan and he actually argued for Steph to live. Sattler said he wasn't around for it, and that the fans are really into Steph, and that he thinks it's important they redeemed Leslie Thompkins. Then Willingham had to ruin everything and say, and I swear to God this is a direct quote "I wanted to gun down those girls who kept asking about the (Steph's) memorial case."

My jaw just dropped open. I knew from interviews and shit that Willingham was an asshole- and I'm sorry, he is, for mocking people at panels, and mocking men for daring to cry over a comic book death- but that is just a creepy as fuck thing to say. I raised my hand and I wanted to say "Willingham, you're an asshole" but instead I just told him a) I hated Stephanie's death and b) You shouldn't want to gun people down for being passionate about a character.

Backpedaling time! No, see, those silly girls were just distracting from important issues at panels by asking the same question over and over again, andandand they just don't understanf how the comics industry works and then, I swear to god, he word for word said the "being hated is almost as good" quote. He DID. He and Sattler telled me that when fans hate a story, it's almost as good as if they love it, because at least they care.




So let me just lift the Internet veil for a minute. I am/was a journalist and I used to be a crime/court reporter. In my four years working for three different Canadian newspapers, I reported on a lot of incidents of violence against women. One of those was a four-part series on the high rate of domestic violence in a small community, for which I was nominated for a National Newspaper Award. So trust me when I say I have seen what violence against women does and how important a topic like this is to me.
So yeah, this comment disturbs me on many levels. It is truly an indefensible comment and the fact that it was made in a public venue with little discourse is disturbing. Serious props to [personal profile] nevermore999 for standing up to Willingham and pointing out his incredibly horrific and misogynistic comment. Young impressionable boys buy these comics and that writers who write them actually think these things and then say them outloud in a public venue is shocking to say the very least.





 

Date: 2010-06-10 09:36 pm (UTC)
nefrekeptah: (Plan)
From: [personal profile] nefrekeptah
Okay, I'm going to be lambasted for this, but I think a lot of people here are overreacting.

Willingham just got done talking about he didn't want Steph to die, and argued against it. He clearly had nothing against her character.

His comment was insensitive, but clearly came from his annoyance of being badgered by fans of Seph over something he probably didn't even have any control over - he was writing Robin at the time, right? Not Batman.

And honestly, I sympathize - someone asks you a question often enough, even if it's a good question, and sooner or later you're going to wish you could take a power drill to your head just to stop the asking.

I've had plenty of experiences where I just wanted to strangle someone - not because I had anything against them, but because I had a long day and they had more work for me, or asked me something that I had already finished explaining.

Date: 2010-06-10 09:40 pm (UTC)
divi_d: (Default)
From: [personal profile] divi_d
Well, for one thing, no matter how pissed off you are, any professional worthy of speaking in a public situation like that should know how to control how they EXPRESS said frustration in said public situation.

"It's kind of annoying how people keep asking X..." might qualify as acceptable (although I'd argue still a tad tactless), "I'm want to gun women down for asking X," is NEVER ok. At all. EVER!
Edited Date: 2010-06-10 09:41 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-06-10 10:05 pm (UTC)
nefrekeptah: (Plan)
From: [personal profile] nefrekeptah
Yes they should, Willingham made a mistake with this comment.

But honestly? Yes, actually, people do say something equivalent to this in casual conversation all the time, and the friend either laughs because they know the speaker isn't being literal and they relate, or the friend looks at them strangly until the speaker points out that he wasn't being literal. And I assume he said "woman" because the people complaining to him the most were woman.

But yeah, in that context, with that many people? Really not appropriate.

Date: 2010-06-10 10:11 pm (UTC)
divi_d: (Default)
From: [personal profile] divi_d
Yeah, exactly. In casual conversation *I* might make a comment like that, as long as I'm reasonably confident the friend would understand I wasn't being literal. It's the fact that it was a both public and professional context that makes it so utterly BAD that he let himself say something THAT problematic.

Date: 2010-06-10 09:49 pm (UTC)
skalja: Ultimate Spider-Woman posing like a BAMF (misc: wtf)
From: [personal profile] skalja
See, the thing is, it's one thing to express hyperbolic frustration in a private space -- your own brain, with friends in a private setting, etc -- particularly if you're complaining about your equals or bosses. It's COMPLETELY another to use the forum you've been given as an industry professional to express that same frustration towards consumers and fans. Particularly when your frustration is expressed as threats towards women, a group frequently victim to hate crimes (because that's what violence against women is) and come in the context of questioning the validity of women's fannishness within the comics subculture (all that blather about how the "girls" Willingham's upset by don't understand the comics industry and are distracting from "important things").
Edited Date: 2010-06-10 09:50 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-06-10 09:58 pm (UTC)
zemo: (Default)
From: [personal profile] zemo
Apart from the threat bit (as I've pointed out further upwards, he was talking in past tense, which doesn't qualify as a threat) I completely agree with you.

Date: 2010-06-10 10:02 pm (UTC)
skalja: Ultimate Spider-Woman posing like a BAMF (Default)
From: [personal profile] skalja
Okay, let me rephrase -- he expressed a fantasy of violence towards members of a group frequently victim to hate crimes. And as [personal profile] karenhealey pointed out on girl-wonder.org, the female fans who frustrated him to the point of publically expressing violent fantasies were asking for a memorial for a female character who was murdered in a sexualized way.

Date: 2010-06-10 10:08 pm (UTC)
nefrekeptah: (Ohshit)
From: [personal profile] nefrekeptah
"Asking" nothing - they were demanding it.

But yeah, agreed with everything else - I do sympathize with his frustration, but that was completely the wrong thing to say

Date: 2010-06-10 10:14 pm (UTC)
skalja: Ultimate Spider-Woman posing like a BAMF (dc: supergirl skydance)
From: [personal profile] skalja
Oh, well if those uppity womenfolk are too demanding, that makes it all right, then.

Speaking as one of the women in question (in the most peripheral sense - I sent in a postcard), there is a huge difference between being entitled and daring not to back down before getting satisfactory answers.

Date: 2010-06-10 11:51 pm (UTC)
schmevil: (darth vader (noooooo!))
From: [personal profile] schmevil
Oh but these poor comic book creators, at the mercy of their fans, don't you know. The girls are the worst. They want female characters treated like they're the equal of male characters. Terrible!

Date: 2010-06-10 10:14 pm (UTC)
zemo: (Default)
From: [personal profile] zemo
That's basically what happened, yes. I won't be the judge of the way they asked him or demanded it, which seemingly tipped him over in the end, he should be appologizing by now.

And I hope you won't think too bad of me, but wording is so important on the internet. Otherwise you get someone saying two months down "I hate that guy! He threatened to shoot fans in fornt of an audience, did you know?"

Date: 2010-06-10 10:21 pm (UTC)
fifthie: tastes the best (Default)
From: [personal profile] fifthie
If Willingham didn't like getting badgered by fans he could blame any number of people actually to blame for him getting badgered by fans; himself, Dan Didio, DC Comics, pretty much anyone except for the fans who were actually completely justified in being upset by his and his publishers' actions.

Do you think we're ever going to hear Willingham saying "God I could have just SHOT DAN DIDIO IN THE HEAD for refusing to put up that memorial for Steph, which would have totally done away with all the completely justified complaints from people that there wasn't a memorial for Steph"? Probably not, because that would actually take a shred of courage or moral principles. But you can trash the fans every day of the week, no matter how completely blameless they are, and never, ever pay a price for it as far as DC Comics is concerned. It's the coward's response, which is why Bill Willingham takes it every single time.

complaints

Date: 2010-06-10 10:33 pm (UTC)
nefrekeptah: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nefrekeptah
Bill Willingham didn't complain about Dan Dido and DC Comics because they weren't the ones who were annoying him. "Courage and Moral principles" had nothing to do with it.

"Completely blameless"? Bullshit. Their point may have been good, but they were complaining to the wrong person who couldn't have done anything anyway. It was completely the wrong thing to say, but don't go acting like all the fans were just innocent bystanders that Willingham just decided to pick on for no reason.

Re: complaints

Date: 2010-06-10 10:51 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] totable_cobra
I don't know. Regarding War Crimes and Willingham's reveal about how Steph died (i.e. at Leslie's hands), he said the following:

"Feel free to blame me for ruining Batman. I could claim that editorial mandates were in force here and thereby split the blame a bit, but I think this time I won't. I willingly took the job, and I'm too greedy to want to share the credit this time.

How do you like them apples?"


So he tells people to hold him accountable, and then people do so, and he complains about that, too. He willingly made himself the face of this storyline (and, indeed, taunted people about it), so I guess it seems reasonable enough to me that people would go to him with complaints about how it turned out and what they would like to see next.

Re: complaints

Date: 2010-06-10 11:12 pm (UTC)
nefrekeptah: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nefrekeptah
Perhaps he didn't realize the amount of flack he'd be getting when he said that a few years ago.

Re: complaints

Date: 2010-06-10 11:06 pm (UTC)
fifthie: tastes the best (Default)
From: [personal profile] fifthie
Like I said, if Bill Willingham didn't like getting annoyed by fans he could blame any number of people actually to blame for him getting annoyed by fans; himself, Dan Didio, DC Comics, pretty much anyone except for the fans who were actually completely justified in being upset by his and his publishers' actions.

People concluded that Bill Willingham had a say in what happened to Steph on the basis of... him being listed as the author there on that comic where they kill Steph. If he wants to wash his hands of responsibility for the character after that because he doesn't like dealing with the response to it then well... tough nuts for him, because he doesn't get to do that, and trying to do it makes him 1. a coward and 2. an asshole.

Re: complaints

Date: 2010-06-10 11:26 pm (UTC)
nefrekeptah: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nefrekeptah
And like I said, why would he complain about any of those people when they weren't the ones annoying him with their constant whining, no matter how justified it was? The only people to blame for him getting to be annoyed by the fans are the fans.

People concluded that Bill Willingham had a say in what happened to Steph on the basis of... him being listed as the author there on that comic where they kill Steph.

Yes. And they were wrong, as he himself just explained before making the admittedly insensitive, poorly thought-out comment we're all discussing, and pointing that out does not make him a coward or an asshole, no matter what some fans who clearly hate him beyond all logical reasoning might say.

Re: complaints

Date: 2010-06-11 12:53 am (UTC)
fifthie: tastes the best (Default)
From: [personal profile] fifthie
constant whining

no matter what some fans who clearly hate him beyond all logical reasoning might say

Lawl, sorry, no.

Willingham got justifiably criticized. When you get justifiably criticized for something you have every right to get angry at the reason for your being justifiably criticized, IE yourself, or the people who led you to do things for which you are, justifiably, being criticized. If you want people to stop criticizing you, what you get to say in response is, "I am sorry." Pretty simple, really.

Re: complaints

Date: 2010-06-11 01:10 am (UTC)
nefrekeptah: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nefrekeptah
Uh, really, yes.

No, he didn't get "justifiably criticized." He didn't get criticized at all - he got berated by hundreds of fans who kept demanding a memorial for Steph, something he wasn't in a position to do anything about. Anyone who is being berated about something they can't do anything about is perfectly in their right to be annoyed about those people.

Re: complaints

Date: 2010-06-11 01:19 am (UTC)
kingrockwell: he's a sexy (Ferdinand)
From: [personal profile] kingrockwell
There are a lot of people in jobs where they're in no position to handle the complaints they get from customers. Yes, not just fans, these people are also customers! His job relies on their money. No matter how unjustified you think their "whining" might've been (and no, they were perfectly justified in calling out a scene in which a teenage girl was killed in a sexualized manner and for calling that the character got some degree of acknowledgement and respect afterward), when you are dealing with customers, you grin and bear it. If you can do nothing else, you refer it to someone who can.

This is basic customer service, and creator entitlement does not put on above it.

Re: complaints

From: [personal profile] skalja - Date: 2010-06-11 02:06 am (UTC) - Expand

Re: complaints

From: [personal profile] cleome45 - Date: 2010-06-11 07:43 am (UTC) - Expand

Re: complaints

Date: 2010-06-10 11:48 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
I have to agree. I think he's expressing annoyance--however inappropriately as a professional doing a q&a in his professional capacity--at the people who annoyed him. Who from his pov were probably fans of a certain character who wanted something written for them. I took his "I wanted to gun them down" as probably pointing to him using gun imagery all the time (isn't he into that stuff?) and thinking more of a video game than a fantasy of causing any specific young woman in the audience pain.

Which I don't mean to be a defense of him casually sharing that kind of violent imagery in that context, but it doesn't seem much different than him wishing those girls who kept bugging him about the memorial case would DIAF. It also didn't strike me as particularly sexist or sexualized.

Re: complaints

Date: 2010-06-11 12:55 am (UTC)
skalja: Ultimate Spider-Woman posing like a BAMF (Default)
From: [personal profile] skalja
Well, obviously he didn't actually want to murder Mary Borsellino, [personal profile] nevermore999, or any of the other women who brought up the memorial issue at cons. Your defense (and yes, it is a defense, because you're minimizing his actions) of Willingham basically boils down to him being too socially incompetent and lacking in awareness of the power of words (despite being a writer) to modulate his public statement as an industry professional.

I have no doubt that people would still be upset if he'd expressed a (former) wish for fans to DIAF. While that wish may not be sexist on the surface, he did express a fantasy of violence towards members of a group frequently victim to hate crimes. Then when called out on it, he responded by getting defensive and infantilizing the women in question, by calling them "girls" and talking about how ignorant and distracting they are.

Re: complaints

Date: 2010-06-11 03:54 am (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
I have no doubt that people would still be upset if he'd expressed a (former) wish for fans to DIAF.

I agree--I didn't mean to imply that they would. I was just disagreeing with the thread elsewhere arguing that DIAF was a different type comment because the death would be caused by a fire rather than the person speaking.

Re: complaints

Date: 2010-06-11 04:08 am (UTC)
kingrockwell: he's a sexy (Babs Gordon)
From: [personal profile] kingrockwell
While the comment is definitely the same, the context that brought it up in the first place is another matter entirely.

Re: complaints

Date: 2010-06-11 02:14 pm (UTC)
sistermagpie: Classic magpie (Default)
From: [personal profile] sistermagpie
Yes, I'm not disagreeing that the context isn't different, just the type of expression.

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