As some of you know, I blogged about DC Comics hiring openly anti-LGBT writer Orson Scott Card to write for its digital Superman series the other day. You can see that HERE.
Well, DC Comics has responded to the controversy over hiring Card to write on the digital Superman series. Here’s the gist, via The Advocate (link above):
. . .a company spokesman said, “As content creators we steadfastly support freedom of expression, however the personal views of individuals associated with DC Comics are just that — personal views — and not those of the company itself.
The spokesman also mentioned the new digital Adventures of Superman comic is an anthology series and would feature an ever-changing group of guest writers, of which Card would be one, and should not be confused with the long-running flagship titles Superman or Action Comics.
So if Card had, say, advocated for the criminalization of mixed-race relationships or called for the imprisonment of Jewish people, would DC still support his rhetoric? He will be representing DC, after all, which has a pretty good track record recently of representing LGBT people in its casts of characters (and no doubt writing and art staffs). As long as Card is contracted to write for them, he is a rep of the company. DC can talk about public versus private all it wants, but Card is now an employee of theirs, which means what he does and says in his private life will reflect on the company for which he works. Especially since Card has made his private views PUBLIC.
Again, I don’t begrudge the guy a job, and yes, I agree with DC that Card has the right to his opinions and to his rhetoric. He has the right to say douche-y stuff.
But here’s where there might be another little problem. Most employers keep an eye on their employees, because if you go out in the world and start spouting racist or anti-Semitic or whatever hateful crap even when you’re off work, your statements could eventually bring bad publicity to the company for which you work. After all, if, say, the public knows that there’s an employee in a company that spouts horrible crap about, say, African American people, that’s going to make people wonder if the company, too, supports that rhetoric in terms of a business model.
In this brave new tech world, NOTHING you say is ever really “private” anymore. And regardless, Card has made his private views public even before we were posting anything and everything online, so DC claiming that what he does in his private life is his business may not actually apply. He’s published these views not on his private website or blog or Facebook page. He’s published them on media sites. So how “private” is that?
Let me be clear. DC has the right to hire whomever it wants. And Card has the right to say whatever he wants. But what DC doesn’t seem to get is that Card has certainly NOT been private about his views, and he is now a representative of DC Comics through his contract as a writer. One of many, I’ll concede. But one who is certainly not unknown in terms of the things he has said about LGBT people.
And here he is in 2000 giving a very public interview to Donna Minkowitz at Salon.com, in which he claims that gay rights is “a collective delusion” and has THIS exchange with her:
[Minkowitz] “One of the reasons I respect your work is that you’re really, really concerned with ethics. The foundation of all ethics, for me, is always whether something hurts anyone. For that reason, it puzzles me that you would see something like homosexuality as wrong, when it patently doesn’t hurt anyone.”
[Card] “I’m amused that you think it doesn’t hurt anyone. The homosexuals that I’ve known well, I have found none who were actually made happier by performing homosexual acts. Or by withdrawing, which is what they do, from the mainline of human life. The separation is there and is, in fact, celebrated within the homosexual community.”
There he is again, claiming that LGBT people are unhappy and that homosexuality harms them (and, by extension, others).
My point? Card has not been “private” in his views. Sure, he has the right to say these things and write these things. That’s a great thing about America. But, really, DC? You’re really going to say that “we don’t support his private views, but he can write for us anyway, on the storyline of one of the most iconic American superheroes ever who represents everything good we’re supposed to strive to be” even though Card has PUBLICLY stated that LGBT people should be imprisoned for homosexual acts? Even though he has PUBLICLY claimed that no LGBT people are “happy” because they’re sexually abused as children and that’s why they’re gay? Who has PUBLICLY claimed that homosexuality hurts gay people and others?
Sorry. I guess I expected a much better response from DC, and even a rather contrite owning of the fact that they hired a guy who has said douche-idious things about LGBT people. Own the fact that you have contracted with a man who has PUBLICLY stated crappy things about LGBT people, DC. OWN IT. Sure, he has those private beliefs. But he didn’t keep them on a private blog. He put them out there for the world to see. And now he’s an employee of your company. You can try to distance yourselves all you want, DC, but he’s your baby, now.
And to all the DC employees who are LGBT and have to now deal with this guy, knowing what he thinks about you, good luck. Maybe you can somehow have a good influence on him, and get him to re-think. But given that he’s been saying crappy things about LGBT people PUBLICLY since at least 1990, don’t hold your breath.
We live in interesting times, yes?
Happy reading, happy writing!