In October Brett Booth was announced as artist for X-Men #17. Booth has a documented history of encouraging harassment of women in comics criticism. You can read Janelle Asselin’s first person account of the situation here, including the threats of sexual violence. These threats were not delivered directly by Booth, but he used his platform to incite this harassment. Booth has not publicly recognized any wrongdoing.
Booth also is a staunchly anti-religious person, which in and of itself is not an issue. We have multiple atheist staffers at ComicsXF. However, his comments on his personal blog repeat some of the same Islamophobic talking points that have been used to demonize Muslims for decades, painting them all as violent, oppressive extremists. He has done the same with other religions to the point that he had a weekly column to use as a mouthpiece for that. While the target of his rage is normally Christianity, a religion that experiences no substantial, systemic oppression in the Western world, Booth also has targeted Jews, Mormons and other groups that have seen historic oppression for their faith. Criticizing religion is acceptable and welcome. Repeating dangerous and racist rhetoric under the guise of criticizing religion is wrong.
This is not consistent with what we at ComicsXF believe in. This is not the type of behavior we will support. Our staff is unified in agreement that we will not be providing coverage on books that Booth draws.
Since our freelancers originally decided not to cover this book, Comicsgate-associated YouTube channels Thinking Critical and Comics, by Perch (channels that claim close ties to Booth) have heavily criticized our decision, singling out specific members of our team. They have hurled insults at us for applying our editorial discretion. That reaction is part of the reason we feel it necessary to make it clear where we stand. We will not tolerate harassement and discrimination. We will not use our platform to celebrate the works of those who do.
It’s disappointing that Marvel has chosen to work with Brett Booth. We have enjoyed covering X-Men and will continue to enjoy covering titles Booth is not participating in. We hope that, moving forward, Marvel is more diligent in vetting its creative talent and choosing creators who reflect the values their corporate leadership claims to hold.
Zachary Jenkins runs ComicsXF and is a co-host on the podcast “Battle of the Atom.” Shocking everyone, he has a full and vibrant life outside of all this.