Ahead of this weekend’s Emerald City Comicon, comic book writer Tom Taylor has announced that he will not attend the show due to concerns about being able to enter America from his native Australia safely. The writer — who currently writes “All-New Wolverine” for Marvel and “Justice League/Power Rangers” for DC/BOOM!, as well as his creator-owned series “The Deep” — explained his decision via his Facebook page, writing:
“But America, through no fault of most of its citizens, doesn’t feel like a safe or welcoming travel destination at this moment. There have been reports of interrogation, phone data downloads, requests for social media accounts, returns and five-year travel bans and everyone from children to the elderly being detained. All of this has many people I’ve spoken to reconsidering or cancelling their US travel plans.”
Additionally, Taylor says he has also turned down all other signing events and conventions in the United States for the rest of the year. “Traveling fifteen hours on a plane is bad enough,” wrote Taylor. “Traveling towards uncertainty, half-worried about being caught in limbo by overzealous border security, with my wife and children wondering why I haven’t called, is nightmare fuel.” You can read the entire statement below.
Stories of international travelers being detained at American airports have popped up in the news regularly since the current administration issued an executive order increasing security and restricting travel from certain countries. Last week, news of Australian children’s author Mem Fox’s detainment by border guards made headlines. Fox, author of the picture book “Possum Magic,” was detained at LAX for 40 minutes and was questioned by border agents in front of a room full of people. “I have never in my life been spoken to with such insolence, treated with such disdain, with so many insults and with so much gratuitous impoliteness,” Fox told The Guardian.
Fears of detainment and questioning over something like his Twitter account have contributed to Taylor not risking international travel. “My twitter account isn’t complimentary towards the current administration, but it’s far from inflammatory and shouldn’t need to be scrutinized to gain entry to a country where free-speech is so highly valued.”
The ban on travel from predominantly Muslim countries also played into Taylor’s decision.”[T]here is something else which bothers me more than all of this, and ultimately decided me in talks with my family. And that’s the idea that I have nothing to worry about. The idea that I could be let in without the extra scrutiny, without incident, without a care in the world… purely because I’m a straight white guy. I don’t want to happily visit a country that is in the process of denying entry to so many, purely because of where they were born or what they believe. And so, I won’t.”
Emerald City Comicon takes place this weekend, March 2-5, in Seattle.
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