Warren Ellis Responds to Sexual Misconduct Allegations

ellis header
(Photo: Image Comics)

Warren Ellis has issued a statement about accusations of sexual misconduct made against him by several women. The Castlevania and long time comics writer released the statement following accusations made by several women over the last few days. In the statement, Ellis wrote, "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. 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."

Ellis's statement comes after several women accused him of either coercing or grooming them over the course of his long comics career. Writer-publisher Katie West posted a now-deleted statement on her Twitter accusing him of soliciting her for nude photos when she was in her late teens and early twenties. Yesterday, she followed up on that statement by saying she had "posted about men abusing their power in the comics industry to groom, emotionally manipulate, have sex with, or serially Bluebeard young women." She noted that her intention was to protect young women from being harmed by these types of men and that she had heard statements by "35+ women" regarding their experiences with Ellis.

West was joined by Meredith Yayanos and Jhayne Holme in speaking out about Ellis's actions, with Holme posting screencaps of emails Ellis had sent her. One email from Ellis to Holme read "39...27...38. I always said you had the body of a showgirl. Now you have the body of a GENETICALLY ENGINEERED showgirl."

Ellis did not directly respond to any of the accusations, but he did acknowledge that he had made "bad choices" and was ignorant. "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 statement reads. "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."

Ellis ended his statement by apologizing to his friends and collaborators and pledged to seek "to make amends with people." He also stated that his long-running email newsletter was ending.

Ellis is the writer of the popular comics series Planetary, Transmetropolitan, and many critically acclaimed superhero runs on books like Astonishing X-Men, Moon Knight, and Wildstorm. His series Red was adapted into two Hollywood movies, and his web cartoon Freakangels is being adapted into an animated series by Crunchyroll streamer Freakangel. In addition to his many popular comics series, Ellis also ran an influential comics forum for four years in the late 1990s/early 2000s that was frequented by a number of now-popular comics creators. Image Comics ran an article about the importance of that forum to the current comics culture on their website, which featured direct quotes by Ellis and several other professionals. In the article, Kieron Gillen noted that people "explicitly owed [Ellis]. As in, their careers."

6comments

Ellis's full statement can be read below.

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. 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. 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 hurt people deeply. I am ashamed for these mistakes and I am profoundly sorry. I will not speak against other people's personal truths, and I will not expose them to the toxicity of the current discourse. I should have been more aware, more present, and more respectful of people's feelings and for that I apologise.

I have had friendships and relationships end, sometimes in bitterness, often due to my own failings, and I continue to regret and apologise for the pain I have caused.

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 and for that, I apologise.

I apologise to my friends and collaborators for having created this situation, and I hope they will be treated kindly. Mistakes and poor choices in my personal life are not on them, but only on me.

We have a responsibility to one another, every day. And I have, in my past, let too many people down. I hope to one day become worthy of the trust and kindness that was placed in me by colleagues and friends.

I will continue to listen, learn, and strive to be a better human being. I have sought to make amends with people, as I have been made aware of my transgressions, and will continue to do so. I have apologised, I apologise, and will continue to apologise and take total responsibility for my actions without equivocation.

I am going to be quiet now, to listen more than I speak, for other voices matter far more than my own right now.

To learn more about what you can do to prevent sexual violence, please consider donating to RAINN or visit RAINN's website for a number of resources. If you or a loved one has suffered because of sexual violence, contact RAINN's National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline.

Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.