In the wake of numerous accounts of sexual misconduct by Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein surfacing over the past several months, countless others -- both women and men -- have been inspired to finally open up about their own painful experiences. However, many victims, such as Eisner-winning artist Colleen Doran (Sandman, A Distant Soil, The Amazing Spider-Man), were forced to deal with sexual abuse at the earliest and most vulnerable stages of their careers and then pressured to remain silent -- in some cases by signing nondisclosure agreements -- lest they jeopardize their future. Nevertheless, many of these women's stories share striking similarities, and according to Doran, her experiences while breaking into the comic book industry are very much akin to what actress Salma Hayek went through with Weinstein on the set of her 2002 breakthrough film Frida.
On Twitter, Doran posted a link to a recent New York Times editorial in which Hayek shined the spotlight on Weinstein's perpetual unwanted advances, his insistence on upping Frida's sex appeal (including adding a nude sex scene between her and another woman), and even a threat he once made against her life. Citing an NDA she signed, Doran noted that while she's unable to speak directly about her own experiences, they were largely the same, if not worse, than what Hayek had gone through.
If you want to know what my early years in comics were like, read this article by Salma Hayek about her experiences with Harvey Weinstein. She can talk. I can't. I signed an NDA. But my experiences were of a kind. And worse. https://t.co/zR4AZ9Y9Rd— Colleen Doran (@ColleenDoran) December 13, 2017
In her thread, Doran continues to share as much as she is legally able to about what she went through at the start of her career, adding that she was hardly the only woman to be "abused, humiliated, [and] silenced" by the man in question. She also notes the painful and legally dubious practice of forcing women into signing NDAs, pointing out that they ultimately serve to protect the people who commit these egregious, predatory acts. As Doran points out, while these NDAs may not always provide legal protection against future criminal charges, they do place a financial burden on the accuser in the form of potential legal fees that could conceivably bankrupt the victim.
Unfortunately, Doran's experience is just one of many that's come to light in recent months. However, because of the bravery and courage of those who've started speaking up, many of the offending parties, including Supergirl and Flash showrunner Andrew Kreisberg and DC Comics editor Eddie Berganza, are finally starting to face the consequences of their actions. To some, this may seem like a mere drop in the bucket, but nonetheless, it's a crucial step on the path to ending the systemic pattern of abuse by those in positions of power.