Recent allegations against comic book scribe Eric M. Esquivel from former friend Cynthia Naugle have prompted DC Comics to cancel his new series Border Town, which had a successful launch on DC’s Vertigo imprint. DC also removed his name from the solicitations of future issues of Nightwing. DC has also stated that issues #1 through 4 of Border Town have also been made returnable.
A couple days ago I sent a letter to my abuser.
I’ve decided I want to tell my story.
He works in the comicbook industry, after I sent him the letter he deactivated his socialmedia accounts except twitter.
This is one of the hardest things I’ve done.https://t.co/lk0724dy44
— Cynthia Naugle (@TenTimesATiger) December 10, 2018
These allegations have caused multiple other women to come forward and bravely open up about the unacceptable behavior of Esquivel throughout the years.
After initially going dark for a few days, Esquivel took to Twitter issuing a lengthy 19 Tweet apology. See the entire tweet storm at the bottom of this article.
The part of the apology that seems to have garnished the most attention, and certainly with due right, is the part where he blames his terrible behavior on his pop culture up-bringing and lack of an actual father figure. The problem there is that hundreds of thousands of fans were brought up watching the same tropic misogynistic behavior on television and on big screens and don’t treat women like trash. I would bet even a good amount of them grew up without a father figure around.
In fact, I’d like to share a story, one I don’t particularly speak about very often. When I was really young, my father wasn’t around very much. My parents weren’t separated or anything, he was just a busy person back then. So, in my early youth, I clung to the husband of one of my aunts, for all intents of this story we’ll call him “Dick”.
Dick was my father figure. I looked up to him more than my own father. Dick was the apple of my eye. He was a very handsome man, clean shaven, hair always slicked back, nice, funny, you name it. Plus he was always there, and my own father wasn’t.
One day, when I was about nine or so, my mom came into my room and sat down on my bed next to me. She began telling me that Uncle Dick was going away and that I wouldn’t see him anymore. She told me that he had done some bad things to one of my cousins and asked me if he had ever tried or done anything inappropriate with me.
My youthful mind reeled with these accusations and questions as I cried into my mother’s lap. He would never do something like this. He couldn’t be capable of something like this. Next, a question arose in my mind. One that I would wrestle with for many years: if this visage of a man, my most revered idol, could turn into such a horrible monster, could I?
Eventually, as I got older, my own father and I connected and he was there more and more and life went on. I heard little more of Dick throughout the years but that question lingered into my twenties; if the man I looked to as a father could turn into something so sinister, was it possible I could too?
I know behavior such as this isn’t genetic and even if it were he’s not my blood, but could it be possible that he somehow subliminally instilled this behavior inside of me?
The simple answer is no. I decided upon my own moral values as I grew up. I chose to be a good person because I know the difference between what is right, what is morally gray, and what is downright wrong. I know not to base my moral code on an outdated fictional character but rather how I would like myself or any member of my family treated.
More on Eric M Esquivel.
I’m disgusted. I’m angry. My heart is breaking for all the women he’s hurt. https://t.co/TmTD6flDSt
— Cynthia Naugle (@TenTimesATiger) December 17, 2018
This, as you might well know, is not the first instance of sexual assault claims to come out of the comic book industry. And the comic book industry is no where near the first or only industry to have these problems. High profile cases like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby are still fresh wounds, but these things sadly happen every day in normal life but don’t include an “A-list” name so they’re not considered news.
As men, we should be doing something to change this perception, not perpetuate it. At this point in our history, we should be seeing less of this sort of thing, instead of more of it. It’s time to break the cycle. These types of men need to be called-out and forced-out of this and any industry.
No charges have yet been filed against Eric M Esquivel, although Cynthia Naugle Tweeted out that she does have a lawyer. More on this story as it develops.
The following is a copy of Eric M Esquivel’s tweet storm.
“Well-meaning entities in my life have discouraged me from saying anything in public. I’ve been told that the best strategy right now is to “hold tight, until this all blows over”…But I don’t want this to “blow over”. Either in my own life, or in Culture-at-large. What I want is to apologize. To serve as a cautionary tale to others. And to change. Hearing my past behavior described to me over the week has been the most surreal experience of my life. My perception of events, relationships, and personal dynamics are so far removed from the way they’ve been recounted, my knee-jerk reaction was to deny them outright both publicly and to myself. But the sources of these accusations are women who I not only respect, but who I genuinely love. These are people whose presence in my life has changed me for the better, and who I am infinitely grateful to have known. People who I’ve kept in intimate contact with since the years we’ve been apart. So it doesn’t make sense that they’d simply be making things up. They have nothing to gain and everything to lose. The odds suggest that I have a problem. Or, rather, that I AM a problem. And, honestly, that’s something that I’ve been at least peripherally aware of for some time. Everything I’ve ever written has been about a young man, operating at a deficit because he grew up without a father, trying his damndest to figure out what it means to be a “man”. And that’s because I was pulling from my own existence. I grew up without any male role models. So I looked to Pop Culture for instructions. A lot of what I learned was useful: the sobriety I reverse-engineered from Batman, the compassion for animals I aped from Aquaman, etc. But the stuff I learned about male sexuality—from James Bond, Aurther Fonzarelli, Gene Simmons, etc—were completely inappropriate. (To be clear: I’m not blaming Pop Culture for my actions. If I didn’t grow up behind a library, I would have found other archetypes to emulate. Possibly even ******** ones) I was, and continue to be, insecure in my masculinity. In my twenties, I tried to combat that by doing everything I could to muster up external validation: getting into fistfights, persuing the spotlight, and behaving extraordinarily promiscuously. Especially with other men’s wives and girlfriends. It kills me that I have to say this, but: I never engaged with anyone who was unwilling. Not only is that downright evil, it wouldn’t have accomplished what I was trying to accomplish: which is to feel wanted and appreciated. I became conscious of my own toxic behavior about two years ago, after a close female friend suggested that I examine myself from that perspective. I’ve attempted to change the way I live since then. I’ve volunteered at various community-oriented charities, taught writing classes to formerly-incarcerated youth, used my platform in The Arts to amplify the voices of disadvantaged creators but I never reached out to the women of my past, to make sure I hadn’t unknowingly harmed them. Mostly because I am a coward, and I feared hearing that answer was “Yes, of course”. I don’t know what to say about that. I don’t know how to make things ok. I don’t know how I can be of use to culture going forward. Is it by encouraging other men to examine themselves, and their behavior? Is it by documenting my recovery from sex addiction in public, to show that it’s possible? Is it by f****** off into the night forever, so nobody has to deal with me ever again? Honestly, I hope it’s the last one. Because that’s the easy way out. & as I’ve mentioned, I’m a coward. ..But I suspect that it’s not. I suspect that I’m not operating on a level of awareness that allows me to see the answer yet. But I’m going to try to get there. I promise.”
— Ξric M. Ξsquivel (@ericMesquivel) December 19, 2018