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Thursday, October 27, 2016 

A curious case of manufactured controversy, perhaps to hide another issue?

A short while ago, news surfaced of a writer named Chelsea Cain, assigned to write a now cancelled Marvel book starring Mockingbird, who was allegedly the target of nasty, abusive Twitter trolls, and later erased her Twitter account following the harassment. Trouble is, for all the attention it's getting, almost none has been cast upon the abusive tweets themselves. Writer Brad Glasgow says:
I've searched through Chelsea Cain's mentions on Twitter going back to October 16, and there are only a few unkind tweets among thousands of encouraging messages. Others have searched and have also said they've found little evidence of "a slew of hostile tweets." I and others have asked people who have participated in the #standwithchelseacain hashtag for screenshots of the abusive tweets that forced her off Twitter and have not received any.
Now what's going on here? A case comes up on a prominent social media site where vicious harassment is claimed to have taken place, and nobody took any screencaps of the offensive messages supposedly posted there? As dishonest as the commentator Anita Sarkeesian was, even she presented screencaps of the abuse she may have gotten, though some could argue she might've faked at least half of it (and from the observations I read in the past 2 years, that's very likely). Another writer, Robert Kroese, said that none of the articles he found bringing this up featured any pictures of the abusive tweets, and:
By this point, I was getting pretty suspicious. How can you write an entire article about someone being chased off Twitter by harassment without giving a single example of this harassment or backing up your claim in any way? The authors of all these articles were pretty clearly on Cain’s side; wouldn’t it have been in their interest to include some of these nasty tweets to demonstrate how awful these trolls are? Why didn’t they?
Having taken some time to think about this, I can't help but wonder if this was all manufactured to draw attention away from the persecution of J. Scott Campbell for committing a thoughtcrime. And who knows, I may be right.

What's additionally telling is the cover for one of the series issues, which appears to be connected with Civil War 2 (in that case, how can the book truly be good when it's not self-contained?). Bobbi Morse is drawn wearing a shirt telling everybody "ask me about my feminist agenda." You have to wonder if this is another attempt to create controversy about something that may not be as severe as it looks on the surface, much like what happened during the Gamergate campaign.

From what I can tell, there doesn't seem to have been any harassment of the level they're claiming. But if there was, the people pushing this accusation might want to consider that some of it could derive from the same thought patterns  various male writers in the upper echelons of publishing go by. There are some very bad apples out there in comics fandom. But not everybody is that demented, and if there's no evidence to back up the harassment claims, then this is apparently an attempt to smear the best of comic book fandom as much as any decent video game player.

No less disturbing is how many sources in the comics press have been buying into and pushing this narrative without research. As the above writers/bloggers noted, when they tried to ask for screenshots to serve as evidence, nobody would help them, and a few even blocked them on Twitter. This suggests it was all pre-planned. If that's the case, the press are doing a great wrong to fandom by painting all fans of superheroes and other comics with the same brush, to say nothing of tarnishing the art form's representatives.

Unsurprisingly, some of the most unqualified opportunists have been commenting on the issue, such as:

Straight from the guy who sees nothing wrong with intimidating women out of public bathrooms. He's pretty much in the same boat as those who throw their core fandoms under the bus too.

As far as I can tell, along with the other guys mentioned, this is all a non-troversy that must've been cooked up deliberately by the same people who haven't even apologized to Campbell for their defamation efforts. They've only demonstrated perfectly why the medium is collapsing.

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The thing she did in the Mockingbird issue was pretty atrocious and this whole thing looks to be covering it up. The issue retconned the rape of Mockingbird by Phantom Rider and turned it into an affair where she was willingly cheating on Hawkeyes, her then husband, who rationalized it as rape because he wasn't evolved enoug to believe women could cheat too and be sexually liberated or some such nonsense. Completely disgusting character assassination. And this writer is playing the victim. Unbelievable. Love to see what you'd have to say on this retcon.

CBR won't let this go:

http://www.cbr.com/correction-fandom-is-broken/

The liberal male guilt is pretty strong here.

As for what the first commenter said, I guess that's Marvel's follow-up to what happened to Ms. Marvel in the 70's? Disgusting, if so. Or no wonder this series only lasted 8 issues.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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