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Thursday, July 04, 2024 

Neil Gaiman accused of sexual assault

Tortoise Media reports that veteran writer Neil Gaiman, author of comics like the 1989-96 Sandman series, has been accused of sexual abuse by at least 2 women, in New Zealand, and back in the USA in Sarasota, Florida:
Neil Gaiman has been accused of sexual assault by two women with whom he was in consensual relationships and is the subject of a police complaint in New Zealand. [...]

The allegations span two decades and concern young women who came into contact with Gaiman – the 63 year-old bestselling author of The Sandman, Good Omens, and American Gods – as a nanny to his child and as a fan of his writing.

The women’s allegations were first reported in Tortoise’s podcast ‘Master: the allegations against Neil Gaiman’, released on Wednesday. The four-part series examines the women’s accounts of rough and degrading sex with the author, which they say was not always consensual.

Although the vast majority of cases of sexual assault happen within relationships, most allegations go unreported, and therefore unprosecuted, because of the expectation that alleged victims would not be in a relationship with their alleged assailant. While the law says that consent is for each and every sexual act, many people assume that a relationship provides ongoing consent.

Scarlett, 23, alleges that Gaiman sexually assaulted her within hours of their first meeting in February 2022 in a bath at his New Zealand residence, where she worked as a nanny to his child. Tortoise understands that Gaiman’s account is that they only “cuddled” and “made out” in the bath and that he had established consent for this. His position is that, over the three-week sexual relationship that followed, they only ever engaged in consensual digital penetration.

Scarlett alleges that within this otherwise consensual relationship Gaiman engaged in rough and degrading penetrative sexual acts with her. Tortoise has seen contemporaneous messages, notes, and spoken to friends who Scarlett talked to at the time, which supports her allegations.

The second woman, K, was 18 when she met Gaiman at a book signing in Sarasota, Florida in 2003. She began a romantic relationship with him when she turned 20, and Gaiman was in his mid-40s, but alleges that she submitted to rough and painful sex that “she neither wanted nor enjoyed.” In one incident she alleges Gaiman penetrated her despite her asking him not to as she was suffering from a painful infection. Gaiman’s position is that he denies any unlawful behaviour with K and is disturbed by her allegations.
Here's a timeline of events on Business Insider, and also some extra reporting from Live Mint. While I do hope these allegations aren't so, some of Gaiman's past political standings and other leftist positions do not reflect well on him viewed in the context of what he's been accused of now. Some could argue it also doesn't avail the image and reputation of people who've worked on themes like the horror-thriller genre and such.

I don't know what the outcome of this emerging scandal will be, but it honestly makes me feel glad I no longer own a paperback compilation I once had of Gaiman's Sandman series (the first volume) over a decade ago. Even without this atrocious news that's just come out, I already considered it a poor choice for what to buy and read, and depending how you view this news, does this explain why Gaiman concocted a lesbian character in those first several issues whom he soon disposed of using Dr. Destiny as the dispatcher? Also important to note is that the talk of "digital" leaves a bad aftertaste, no matter how you look at this. Mainly because Bill Cosby was accused of doing something similar to Andrea Constand.

Anyway, whatever the outcome, it won't be surprising if Gaiman's resume stands to lose value, and his writings fall out of print. As I may have once noted before, I thought the way he put Lyta Hall to use in his Sandman series was shoddy, ditto how he made use of Hector Hall. Seriously, Gaiman is just one of many way overrated "auteurs" to come down the lane over past decades, and now, it looks like his questionable positions, political or otherwise, have come back to haunt him most unpleasantly. If the DCU could ever come under better ownership one day, I'd sure like to jettison any connection his Sandman series may have with the rest of DC continuity of the time, and find some better way to make use of the Infinity Inc. characters whom Gaiman misused in his writings. Overall, it's very, very sad.

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  • 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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