DC Comics has fired Eddie Berganza, a longtime editor accused of sexual misconduct by at least two women. The firing comes only two days after DC suspended Berganza, and initiated a review of the allegations.
Taken as a whole, the allegations against Berganza - who has worked on Superman, Batman, and other characters - point to a pattern of sexual misconduct that may have spanned more than a decade. Women have reported that Berganza forcibly kissed them, or tried to forcibly kiss them, as far back as the early to mid-2000s. Back in 2010, Berganza was promoted to the position of executive editor amid complaints about his behavior, only to be demoted to group editor two years later, after another allegation of nonconsensual kissing.
BuzzFeed reports that in the past, some in the comic book industry have chosen not to work with Berganza due to the allegations against him. Such decisions seem to have been on the mind of Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment, when she sent an email to employees on Saturday: "DC prides itself on being a premier destination for top talent as well as an amazing creatively collaborative place to work that is a safe and secure environment for our employees and extended freelance family," the email said, according to BuzzFeed.
DC's quick response to Berganza's alleged misconduct resembles the fallout that followed accusations of sexual misconduct against Louis C.K. In the days following the accusations (and C.K.'s confirmation of those allegations), the comedian has been dropped by FX, HBO, his management company, and other groups. Kevin Spacey has had a similar experience; All the Money in the World, a film by Ridley Scott, has cut ties with Spacey and will reshoot his scenes, with Christopher Plummer taking on the role of J. Paul Getty in Spacey's stead.
Berganza, C.K., and Spacey join a disconcerting group of men accused of sexual misconduct. Members of that group have experienced varying consequences, however. Harvey Weinstein has been expelled by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and George Takei has denied the claim that he sexually assaulted Scott R. Brunton, a model and actor, in 1981. Woody Allen, meanwhile, has largely evaded significant industry backlash despite longstanding allegations of child abuse by Dylan Farrow, his adopted daughter.
At the very least, it's comforting to see a company as large as DC take rapid and decisive steps to ensure a safe and comfortable work environment. However, such an environment can't be entirely assured, of course, given the pervasiveness of disparate power dynamics in the entertainment industry and beyond. For now, those with the ability to act on allegations of sexual misconduct have a responsibility to do so, regardless of who is accused - and DC has provided a model of how individuals and organizations can step up to that responsibility.
DC's next film, Justice League, hits theaters on Friday, November 17.
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