Last week, Bleeding Cool reported on a series of tweets sent out by comic book writer James Bretney aimed at a number of Muslim people on Twitter.
As a result, Lucha Comics was petitioned to drop Bretney as a writer.
After his Twitter account was suspended, others discovered that he was a public school teacher at Sterling Aviation High School in Houston.
The Council on American-Islamic relations called for a meeting with education officials to discuss this issue. Executive director Mustafaa Carroll told radio station KTRK “if he wasn’t a teacher, this conversation probably wouldn’t be taking place”.
However Bretney responded “I will tell you this, I’m not backing down… I’m a free American man.”
While other journalists at NewsFix have found posts out Bretney’s Facebook page with homophobic slurs after the Supreme Court’s legalised gay marriage, as well as a YouTube account including videos he produced with controversial campus preacher Brother Dean including You Deserve Rape and Fat Lesbians Don’t Get Raped.
Taking a further look, there’s also the heinous crime that he didn’t like Christopher Priest’s Unknown Soldier. Oh and a speech about how the Republican Party and Fox News are complicit in the coverup of Benghazi and how Obama killed Seal Team 6. And plenty more besides.
Lucha Comics publisher Rodrigo Martinez posted the following response, in which he stated that Bretney’s next two projects planned for the publisher will be on hold, but that nothing will happen to series already being published so as not to punish his collaborators.
I am writing this post to address the events that began to unfold a couple of days ago on twitter. What started as an expression of freedom of speech quickly became ugly, as one of our creators chose to cross a line. Let me be clear: I do not share their point of view.
For those that have been waiting for a more detailed statement, I can tell you that I cannot advocate for violence, and that my views are not always in line with those of our creators. They are all independent, and so I am not in a position to censor or control anyone. We are not Marvel or DC – we are a small outfit with 0 employees, that was really started because of my love of Comic Books.
For those that have been following, some very disturbing content was posted by James A. Bretney, one of our original creators. Like many of you, I did find many of these posts to be upsetting. This situation is beyond my control, and twitter has responded accordingly.
For those that can only see the negative here, consider that this same person has been a mentor to creators from diverse backgrounds, and gave many young up and coming female artists (who have gone on to do great work) some early breaks – when many others would not. This is where it can be difficult to reconcile a person that you know, from the type of person that many of you saw on twitter.
I realize that many have already passed judgement and boycotted us as a whole; that is certainly your right, and these comments are not meant to persuade you otherwise. At the same time, to simply say that I will immediately pull all of James’ work impacts more than just James. He is a writer, but also works with artists, cover artists, letterers, and more. These other creators, who have worked hard to create great stories, and who do not share his views, could be unjustly affected. Some of these people do depend on comics and their portfolios for ongoing work outside of Lucha Comics. Over the next few days and weeks, I will be consulting with my team to decide what the future of these works is.
I also believe that simply cutting someone off does not address the root problem, and effectively closes the door on any positive dialogue involving Mr. Rashim. He was gracious enough to post the following:
I communicated this personally to James, and he felt that this was a very honourable response from someone who he misjudged, and felt that he had to re-evaluate his opinions of Mr. Rashid. James also recognized the difficult situation created for our brand as a whole.
However, we do recognize the hurt that this incident has caused, and therefore, we will be putting James’ next two projects (currently co-authored with other creators, but which do not have artwork yet) on an indefinite production hold, until we can fully evaluate what has happened today. Any other projects that are not affiliated or connected to him will proceed as scheduled.
As I hope to continue dialogue with both Mr. Bretney and Mr. Rashid, my team of creators, and those closest to me, I will be posting further thoughts. Please keep in mind that I have been planning a family vacation for some time, and you will likely not hear much from me over the next couple of weeks. This does not mean that I do not care; I have tried to respond to tweets, E-mails, phone calls and text messages as much as possible. For the overwhelming majority of you that presented your concerns in a positive manner, I thank you.
I will take this time to reach out in greater detail to people involved, to get their feedback, and to work together to a solution.