Following several sexual misconduct allegations surfacing online this week, British comic book and television writer Warren Ellis has responded with a lengthy statement on social media on June 19.
“I have never considered myself famous or powerful, to the point where I’ve made a lot of bad jokes about it for twenty-odd years,” Ellis wrote in a statement that he posted on Twitter. “It had never really occurred to me that other people didn’t see it the same way — that I was not engaging as an equal when gifted with attention, but acting from a position of power and privilege. I did not take that into account in a number of my personal interactions and this was a mistake and I own it.”
“While I’ve made many bad choices in my past, and I’ve said a lot of wrong things, let me be clear, I have never consciously coerced, manipulated, or abused anyone, nor have I ever assaulted anybody,” the 52-year-old continued. “But I was ignorant of where I was operating from at a time I should have been clear and for that I accept 100% responsibility.”
“I have always tried to aid and support women in their lives and careers, but I have hurt many people that I had no intention of hurting. I am culpable. I take responsibility for my mistakes. I will do better,” he went on.
He ended the statement by apologising for “these mistakes” and the promise that he will “listen, learn and strive to be a better human being.”
“I am going to be quiet now, to listen more than I speak, for other voices matter far more than my own right now,”
Earlier in the week, writer and editor Katie West, on Twitter, accused Ellis of taking advantage of impressionable young women. West has since deleted her initial thread of tweets, stating, “This is not about one person. The people who are making it that way are missing the point. This is about a pattern of behaviour and our collective complicity in that behaviour.”
Musician Meredith Yayanos tweeted that “[Katie West] is one of the most ethical and compassionate people I know, and everything she is saying about Warren Ellis today is spot-on,” before describing her own experiences with Ellis.
She also called out the people “actively defending a serially exploitative and emotionally abusive straight cis white dude with a long history of grooming, coercing, collecting, and using young women.”
Writer-editor Jhayne Holme also replied to West’s thread. “I stand in solidarity with [Katie West]. My #MeToo story of Warren Ellis is backed up with an archive of hundreds of emails and photos that spans years. We were prey yet didn’t know it, because we were so, so young,” she wrote.
Ellis is huge among comic book fans, both for his original projects (‘Transmetropolitan’) and his prolific work on Marvel titles (‘Astonishing X-Men’, ‘Moon Knight’, ‘Thunderbolts’). He is also the writer and executive producer on Netflix’s popular animated series, ‘Castlevania’.