UPDATE 11/15/2013 2:45 PM PT: Tess Fowler has responded to Brian Wood in a statement to CBR cross-posted to her Tumblr, along with her account of the Comic-Con encounter with Wood.
Fowler’s response to Wood follows. Her comments can be read in full on her Tumblr.
I’ve forgiven Brian years ago for the following story. My eventual anger was due to the accounts being given to me as a result of the Bleeding Cool article. I’ve moved on from what he did. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with defending someone else on social media. My followers already knew the story. As did my husband and friends. (According to my inbox this is just a well known fact, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.) I never asked for a boycott, or blacklisting, as I am being accused. I actually spoke very openly about the opposite. About this being a systemic problem in need of addressing. So let me be very frank in repeating what I said openly before.
Brian Wood has every right to be a part of comics. To make books and make a living unhindered. I believe that. I also believe his behavior is a symptom of a much bigger disease. A disease of silence, where you go along to get along. And you never say anything about your experiences because the harm to yourself and perhaps to others will be monumental. That’s not okay. And it has to change.
Writer Brian Wood responded Friday on his personal website to allegations of misconduct from artist Tess Fowler. Earlier this week, Fowler accused Wood by name as having feigned interest in her work in order to initiate a sexual encounter, stating on Twitter he has “preyed on women for too long.”
“Tess Fowler is correct about this: I did make a pass at her at SDCC Hyatt bar roughly 8 years ago,” Wood wrote. “But when she declined, that was the conclusion of the matter for me. There was never a promise of quid pro quo, no exertion of power, no threats, and no revenge.”
In a series of Tweets on Oct. 25, Fowler, without directly mentioning Wood by name, described a story of a married comic book professional inviting her to his hotel room at a past Comic-Con International in San Diego, and later mocking her work and her cosplay after Fowler denied his advances. On Wednesday of this week, Fowler linked Wood to the allegations by name via Twitter, and further stated she has received emails from three other women describing similar incidents involving Wood. “NO ONE should have so much clout that they can do this countless times and get away with it,” Fowler wrote. “Least of all in comics. FUCK YOU, WOOD.”
“The pickup was a lame move, absolutely, and I’ll accept the heat for having done it, but that’s all it was: I liked her, I took a chance, and was shot down,” Wood wrote in his statement, saying he had “very little professional power of industry recognition at the time.” “I immediately regretted it, and I apologize to Ms. Fowler for the tackiness and embarrassment of it all.”
Wood, currently writing “X-Men” for Marvel Comics and “Star Wars” for Dark Horse Comics among other work, said in his statement that he believes Fowler “is as incorrect as she can be about what my intent and motivations were,” but that he doesn’t want to “encourage any negative opinion directed back at her.”
Fowler’s tweets have inspired a broader dialogue in the comic book community about the treatment of women, with “Ms. Marvel” writer G. Willow Wilson and former Dark Horse editor Rachel Edidin among those discussing the topic.
In his concluding paragraph, Wood wrote that he is genuinely concerned about abuse in the comic book industry. “As a father to a young daughter showing an interest in making her own comics, I do really care about this stuff. So I don’t want our difference of accounts to take attention away from that industry-wide discussion that needs to happen.”
CBR News has reached out to Fowler for comment on Wood’s statement, which we present in full below:
For the last couple weeks I’ve been accused of a lot of very serious things. I feel I have to speak up for myself and for my friends and colleagues who are finding themselves under a sort of scrutiny they don’t deserve. This situation has reached the point where it is affecting people who in no way deserve it, up to and including my family.
Tess Fowler is correct about this: I did make a pass at her at SDCC Hyatt bar roughly 8 years ago. But when she declined, that was the conclusion of the matter for me. There was never a promise of quid pro quo, no exertion of power, no threats, and no revenge. This was at a time in my career when I had very little professional power or industry recognition. The pickup was a lame move, absolutely, and I’ll accept the heat for having done it, but that’s all it was: I liked her, I took a chance, and was shot down. I immediately regretted it, and I apologize to Ms. Fowler for the tackiness and embarrassment of it all.
I’ve kept quiet for these last couple weeks because this is a problematic thing to address without unintended blowback. While I believe she is as incorrect as she can be about what my intent and motivations were, I don’t want to encourage any negative opinion directed back at her.
I think the larger issues of abuse in the comics industry are genuine and I share everyone’s concerns. As a father to a young daughter showing an interest in making her own comics, I do really care about this stuff. So I don’t want our difference of accounts to take attention away from that industry-wide discussion that needs to happen.