Five women have come forward to speak publicly about incidents of sexual harassment and misconduct they experienced at DC Comics from one of its top editors for the first time, in a Buzzfeed report published today.
That editor is Eddie Berganza, the group editor of the Superman office, who has been working at DC for over two decades and is currently overseeing Dark Knights Metal, DC’s bestselling crossover.
Former female DC staffers described incidents with Berganza to Buzzfeed, from inappropriate comments to groping and unwanted kissing. Five female employees filed a group HR report on his behavior in 2010, motivated by the news that he was in the running for the position of executive editor. Those five women told Buzzfeed that they were assured that measures would be taken, but Berganza was still promoted to executive editor. The position was redefined so that he wouldn’t interact directly with subordinates.
In 2012 he was demoted to group editor after an incident in which he forcibly kissed the girlfriend of one of DC’s freelance artists — at the time, an up-and-coming comics professional herself, who anonymously described her experience to Buzzfeed — shoving his tongue down her throat.
Berganza’s behavior has been a more and more open secret over time in the comics and comics-fan communities. The last time discussion of it came to the fore was in 2016, when DC fired Shelly Bond, a prominent, long-time editor of the company’s Vertigo imprint. How could DC fire Bond in good conscience, went the outcry, when a known sexual harasser got to keep his role? Rumors have also consistently circulated that DC had “quarantined” the Superman office where Berganza worked — on titles which include Supergirl and Wonder Woman — to make sure that no female staffers, artists or writers worked directly with him.
Last year’s renewed public conversation prompted allegations against another DC staffer, leading DC Comics to release a statement saying that it “takes allegations of discrimination and harassment very seriously, promptly investigates reports of misconduct and disciplines those who violate our standards and policies.”
The May 13, 2016 statement, linked above, also said that the company would be reviewing its policies, “expanding employee training on the topic and working with internal and external resources to ensure that these policies and procedures are respected and reinforced across the company.”
Today, DC Comics sent Polygon the same statement regarding the allegations first reported by Buzzfeed. The full statement can be read below.
DC and WB are unequivocally committed to cultivating a work environment of dignity and respect, one that is safe and harassment free for all employees. We take all claims of harassment very seriously and investigate them promptly. Employees found in violation of the policies are dealt with swiftly and decisively, and subject to disciplinary actions and consequences.
Update: DC Comics has suspended Berganza, removing him from his duties at the company, according to a statement sent to Polygon. The publisher is also conducting a review of the allegations against him. DC Comics’ full statement can be read below.
DC Entertainment has immediately suspended Mr. Berganza and has removed him from performing his duties as Group Editor at DC Comics. There will be a prompt and yet careful review into next steps as it relates to the allegations against him, and the concerns our talent, employees and fans have shared. DC continues to be extremely committed to creating a safe and secure working environment for our employees and everyone involved in the creation of our comic books.