UPDATE 11/11/17 10:30 PM ET:: DC Comics has suspended Eddie Berganza, following the new details that have become public via the BuzzFeed article on the multiple sexual misconduct allegations against him.
DC’s statement, released to CBR, reads in full:
“DC Entertainment has immediately suspended Mr. Berganza and has removed him from performing his duties as Group Editor at DC Comics. There will be a prompt and yet careful review into next steps as it relates to the allegations against him, and the concerns our talent, employees and fans have shared. DC continues to be extremely committed to creating a safe and secure working environment for our employees and everyone involved in the creation of our comic books.”
Original story: New details of the history of sexual harassment allegations against longtime DC Comics editor Eddie Berganza have come to light, via a thorough BuzzFeed article published Friday afternoon.
In the article, multiple former DC Comics employees shared their stories of harassment and assault from Berganza towards them, and confirmed to BuzzFeed that multiple employees had complained about his behavior to DC’s human relations department before he was promoted to Executive Editor in 2010.
Former DC Comics editor Liz Gehrlein Marsham (credited during her time at DC as Elisabeth V. Gehrlein), reported in the article that less than three weeks after she started working at DC, Berganza forcibly stuck his tongue in her mouth and attempted to grope her, at a bar near DC’s former New York City offices. Marsham eventually took a non-editorial position in order to avoid working directly with Berganza, and is now no longer with the company.
Cartoonist and former DC editor Joan Hilty stated that Berganza grabbed her and repeatedly attempted to kiss her at an off-site get-together in the early 2000s. Another former DC editor, Janelle Asselin, provided further detail of the complaint to HR against Bergnaza she spearheaded in 2010, which she’s written of the in past. “People were constantly warning other people away from him,” Asselin is quoted in the article.
The article also recounts, with new detail, a previously reported story that Berganza forcibly kissed a woman in 2012 at a hotel bar near the WonderCon convention in Anaheim. The woman was not a DC employee, but her boyfriend at the time was a DC Comics writer. “At the time I was so terrified that this would affect myself or my partner’s prospects in comics, worried it would jeopardize either of our careers,” the woman, who chose to remain anonymous, is quoted. Berganza was demoted from Executive Editor to group editor following the incident.
CBR reached out to DC for comment on the story, and received the same statement from a DC Entertainment spokesperson provided to BuzzFeed: “DC and WB are unequivocally committed to cultivating a work environment of dignity and respect, one that is safe and harassment free for all employees. We take all claims of harassment very seriously and investigate them promptly. Employees found in violation of the policies are dealt with swiftly and decisively, and subject to disciplinary actions and consequences.”
Berganza has been with DC Comics since 1992, and has edited many of the publisher’s highest-profile comics, including the current Dark Nights: Metal event. While many of the details in BuzzFeed’s story are new, Berganza’s reputation in the industry has been known for years, with many incidents becoming public in 2016 following the departure of former Vertigo Vice President & Executive Editor Shelly Bond. Industry observers questioned why Bond’s position was eliminated while Berganza, given his history of sexual harassment complaints, was still employed.
Berganza’s behavior, the BuzzFeed article relates, extended to keeping creators from wanting to work with DC due to his reputation. Sophie Campbell, the acclaimed artist of Jem and the Holograms, is cited as saying she declined working on a Supergirl comic, because of not wanting to work on a comic with Berganza’s name on it. “I didn’t like the idea of being in professional proximity with him or having his name on something I worked on,” she’s quoted.
CBR learned last year that no misconduct involving Berganza had been reported internally at DC since the 2012 incident. In the BuzzFeed article, an unnamed former DC employee called inquiries into Berganza’s history of harassment allegations a “witch hunt.” “[This] man made an error in judgment, but served his time and paid the penalty,” the former employee said. “The continued assault against him equates to a witch hunt, which is a problem that needs to be eradicated from the industry.”
BuzzFeed’s story comes at a time of increased reporting of sexual harassment and sexual assault perpetrators in the entertainment industry, with disturbing reports surfacing in recent weeks involving Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K. and more.
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