DC Has Cancelled Border Town Following Allegations Of Sexual Abuse Against Creator

Sheriff Arnie Hernandez giving a speech. (Image: Ramon Villalobos, Tamra Bonvillain, DC Comics)

Following allegations of sexual abuse against Border Town creator Eric M. Esquivel, multiple sources reported today that DC Comics has announced its plans to cancel the series - which had been one of the major titles behind the publisher’s push to revitalise its Vertigo imprint.

Earlier this week, toy designer Cynthia Naugle published a blog post titled “X, my experience with my abuser” in which she detailed being “sexually, mentally, and emotionally abused” by an unnamed former coworker (who was her work manager at the time), who’s now in the comics industry.

Naugle describes how, for months, her abuser would put her in socially uncomfortable positions, constantly pressure her for sex, and at times become violent with her. She also said:

“3 days ago, I sent him a very long email about what he did to me. It was basically this post.

He responded in less than 5mins. He apologised, said he remembers things differently, and he’ll never see me at any of the same conventions, and he’ll remove me from all social media [sic], and he’s there if I need to talk.

It took him less than 5 mins to read, process, and respond to a very long detailed letter. It took me months, and many rewrites to figure out how to say what I wanted to. Reliving it all, having to go to therapy, having to tell my family and friends about this, talking to the other women he’s hurt, and he barely skimmed through it.”

While Naugle never directly named her abuser, Esquivel’s name soon began floating around in comics circles on Twitter and Naugle retweeted statements positing that she was, in fact, speaking about Esquivel. Following Naugle’s statement, Border Town artist Ramon Villalobos and colorist Tamra Bonvillain have both spoke out and named Esquivel in statements of their own and expressed that they believe Naugle.

DC has yet to put out an official statement explaining exactly why Border Town has been cancelled, but between Esquivel having gone dark on social media as more people have come forward with stories of their own about off-putting interactions with him, it stands to reason that the decision was driven by these revelations and subsequent fallout.

We’ve reached out to both DC and Esquivel directly for comment regarding this story and will update if and when we hear back.

Esquivel responded to io9's request for comment with the following statement:

“I was recently accused of misconduct by a former romantic partner. Not recent misconduct. Misconduct which allegedly happened many years ago. Out of respect for her and our prior relationship, I will not publicly name names.

I’ve taken a few days to respond, because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t talking over anyone. We’re in the midst of a very important cultural conversation right now. One I wholeheartedly believe in.

Never in my life did I expect that I would become one of the accused. I will not speculate as to her motivation for making these reckless allegations, but I want to make it clear that they are false. Though our relationship was unconventional, we always treated one another with dignity and respect.

I heavily encourage, and will fully cooperate in, any forthcoming independent investigation of these claims, which I am confident will show that I have been falsely accused.

I have been notified that DC Vertigo has cancelled the book I was working on. My heart breaks for the book’s supporters, and my creative collaborators. They don’t deserve to be negatively affected by this unfortunate situation.”


Comments

    I kinda think that company should not be allowed to do shit until a full investigation is done. Or at least not cancel work. Put it on hold till whats been said is actually verified first.

    And I do hope that Kotuku will follow up this if its found that the allegations are false. Something that dose not happen any where near enough.

      More often than not the outcomes of these investigations are not made public due to lawyers often being involved.

      I don't know why you feel Kotaku is obligated to follow and report on everything that happens with this. You can easily do that on your own.

        If a new report comes out calming something, then that claim is found to be wrong, the media have an obligation to report whats happened, if only to make sure that's what is being said is correct, and to ensure that there is no bias towards people based on what they have done. If they don't, the majority of people will still think said person is like that, as no one has reported on the changes.

        That's basically A Current Affair level journalism, I've watched them put a hit piece on air only to direct the viewer to there website to get the persons response,

        In one instance they badgered a woman about a company she owned that ripped some people off, fair enough that's right.

        Only in her response to ACA she told them she didn't even own the company anymore sold the Australian branch of it, that didn't make a good story and instead of killing it they just said at the end "you can see her response on our website".

        They covered there arse but it was crap, how many people are really going to follow up on that story and get the truth and how many won't and just think that woman is a bitch to this day.

          Yeah, giant front page articles for weeks. Turn out they were wrong, retraction or correction pringed on page 13. 8pt Aerial, 100 words max.

        I think a lot of these allegations never even wind up with police or civil actions (lawyers). It's damaging enough to just be accused without ever having criminal charges levelled or a civil suit placed. Just look at this case, he's already been sacked. No proof, no conviction, just accusations.

        I don't want anyone thinking I support domestic abuse or sexual misconduct, but what happened to innocent until proven guilty?

        As for why Jagji wants Kotaku to follow up, I kinda agree. From my point of view I see it as a media responsibility. If you're going to broadcast that "this person did this (or was accused of doing it)" you should follow up once it's been proven or disproven.

    Eh Border Town was horrible. It's stereotypes, misunderstanding on cultural myths and focus on race like kids only ever talk about it and have no other interests makes for a bad comic. I'd honestly be surprised if the allegations weren't just used as an excuse to get rid of bad comic. I don't mean the allegations were made up, just that it makes for a good excuse to get rid of something without conceding that it was bad to begin with.

      well it is important to teach children in the west especially whites about race otherwise they with inevitably grow up racist and like vote for the bad orange man.

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