If you visit the social media site Reddit and check out some of the comic book sub-Reddits, such as the one for DC Comics or the official Comic Books sub-Reddit – and combined they have nearly three quarters of a million subscribers – you won’t be able to discuss #ComicsGate on those boards.
Both sub-Reddit communities have banned all discussion of #ComicsGate, likening it to #GamerGate, which was also widely banned and censored across almost all major gaming communities during its peak. The news was discussed by YouTuber Diversity & Comics, who did a half hour video about the censorship of the topic.
Over on the DC Comics sub-Reddit there’s a public service announcement from the moderator, which reads…
“In recent times, there have been rumblings coming from the twittersphere and other parts of the internet towards that world of the funny books. This includes threats and advocacy of violence towards creators and other professionals in the field. In recent weeks in particular, there has been a campaign of targeted harassment in comics, especially against women, people of color, and LGBT writers, artists, colorists, editors, and journalists. This is for what appears to be the crime of wanting to increase diversity and representation. This is being spread through #comicsgate.
“Here at /r/dccomics, we see this for exactly what it is. We find it to be the worst kind of disingenuous gatekeeping. Targeted at the creators, the professionals, and finally, fellow readers. We stand against those who have taken a page from the harassment book of other #gates and say definitively
“[…] There’s no room for it in our sub and we are making the stand here. We will exercise discretion and remove as seen fit any #comicsgate material. We are not and have never been afraid to ban for Rule 1 violations, so by all means, try us.
“This post was not coordinated with /r/comicbooks. Both subs came to an independent decision that we would not see the same doxxing, threats, and toxic environment overtake comics discussion the way it did other entertainment media in the past. Rather than turn a blind eye, we preferred to take a stance. It is not out of fear, but clarity that we spoke on this issue.”
As mentioned in the PSA, there is also a post over on /r/ComicBooks by the moderators, who have also posted a similar message that reads…
“There has been a growing movement on the internet in the last few years about targeting certain creators. The creators that have been targeted include but aren’t limited to women, members of the LGBT community, religious minorities, and people of color. These groups on the internet have threatened creators with harassment and violence, because these creators don’t support their views. If you are one of these individuals that have threatened or harassed people, you are not welcome in this subreddit.”
Outlets like Inverse are reporting that the censorship of #ComicsGate was in response to a list circulating on social media of writers and artists that comic book readers claim are pushing regressive sociopolitics in the industry, and in turn are ruining the industry.
— YellowFlash (@YellowFlashGuy) February 7, 2018
The list was to help consumers avoid the comic books that these people work on to avoid supporting what they feel is the degradation of the comic book industry.
While the PSAs from both sub-Reddit boards makes it seem as if #ComicsGate is some kind of harassment campaign, the actual subscribers aren’t swallowing the blue pill at all. In fact, many of them are quite aware that #ComicsGate – much like #GamerGate – is not about harassment. A female comic book reader reproached the moderator of the DC Comics sub-Reddit after he tried to state that #ComicsGate was about targeting women, people of color, and those in the LGBTQ community, she wrote…
“Jesus, no it’s not. Female comic fan here, that’s not what it is at all. This is an attack on comics creators with conservative views or who just happen to not think all people who disagree with them are not Nazis. Did you not see Ethan van Sciver being attacked for his beliefs and people leading campaigns for firing him despite having never said a bad thing ever about women in comics?”
Ethan van Sciver is a Conservative comic book artist who has been harassed by the SJƜ comic book community across social media, and even threatened with violence. With help from journalists from Comic Book Resources and Polygon, they’ve also attempted to launch campaigns to get him fired from DC Comics for being a Conservative.
The Intersectional Inquisition also did the same to artist Jon Malin, attempting to get him fired from Marvel for stating that current day SJƜ mobs behave like Nazis during World War II.
This kind of censorship of #ComicsGate, which was to bring awareness to the comic book industry at large and the casual comic book reader how the comic book industry has become enveloped in regressive politics.
This was similar to #GamerGate, which exposed massive amounts of corruption within the gaming industry, which led to the FTC updating and re-enforcing their guidelines for disclosure after #GamerGate put together a campaign to improve the disclosure policies within the gaming and media industry. #GamerGate also sought to enforce ethics policies by teaming up with the Society of Professional Journalists for the AirPlay event back in 2015 to discuss ethics in media journalism.
Despite encouraging multiple online outlets to update their ethics policies, the media still claimed #GamerGate was about harassing women and minorities out of the industry, purposefully ignoring movements like #NotYourShield.
The narrative for #ComicsGate is the same, with the media and many politically regressive communities claiming that the movement is about harassment.
Regardless of what the media says, the consumers aren’t wrong about the politics affecting sales. The sales have been so bad for Marvel’s comic book division they had to cancel some of the most sociopolitically charged books heading into 2018. They also replaced the former editor-in-chief who heavily pushed for the feminist-themed comic books over the last six years, all in hopes of righting the ship.
If the media continues its attack against the comic book industry the way the gaming industry attacked its own consumers, it could easily disrupt Marvel’s plans to lure old fans back into the fold. At that point, one would have to quest what Marvel and DC’s plans would be if the media positioned the industry against its own customers?