In Which I Am Fired From Marvel

Hello! I was fired from Marvel — from two Star Wars projects. The detail from the tweets I tweeted:

So, here’s a thing that has happened – I just got fired from Marvel. Taken off issues 4 and 5 of SHADOW OF VADER, and taken off an as-yet-unannounced SW book. This might be a long thread, so apologies in advance. (I hesitate to talk about this, because honestly, it gives the Worst Possible People a win, something they’ve wanted for a while. But I also feel like I’ve long held to honesty and forthrightness, and I don’t feel like lying when people realize I’m not on these books anymore.)

To rewind a little bit, when SW: AFTERMATH came out, I assume most know but maybe you don’t, I put some ahh, elements in there (LGBT characters) that were not received well by a certain subset of fandom. That resulted in both a negative review campaign, found across various FB groups and other Worst Places on the Internet, that began mounting the very minute the book dropped online. I was literally at a midnight release of the book, and when I got done, there were already a pile of one-star reviews piling up – which seemed strange, obviously. And scary, too. I didn’t understand what was happening at the time. (And as a caveat, obviously I recognize that yes, some people just don’t like the book for the Usual Reasons, and people who hold those reasons are not to be lumped in with the more septic side of fandom. Tl;dr see also TLJ reviews.)

I also started receiving TONS of harassment – harassment that has gone on for years, harassment that has required me to contact local police and warn them of SWATting attempts, harassment across all corners of the Internet, here, FB, Reddit, YouTube. Some of it was bot stuff, obviously, or sock puppets, but some of it was pretty creepy, and very personal. I didn’t call a lot of it out or even highlight, but it was there, a sort of… constant background noise. (Christ, for an extra special treat go search for my name and check out the YouTube videos if you want an eye-opening glimpse.)

And I was worried of course because, jeez, I thought I had screwed up. I wondered for a time if the book was bad. But then it hit list and stayed on list for four weeks – and the next two books hit list, too, and EMPIRE’S END landed even higher on the list than the first book. And privately, I was told by folks inside LFL that there was no worry here, that they valued that I spoke out both speaking up for myself and for STAR WARS, which has always honestly been a progressive brand and company. And it made me very proud to work for them, too, not just because — holy hell, basking in the glow of STAR WARS, but because the people were great, and they totally got it. (Hell, a lot of the people inside LFL have experience considerable harassment. I mean, that’s not news, but Kelly Marie-Tran? Bueller? Bueller?)

After I did HYPERION with Marvel, they hired me then to write the TFA adaptation, which meant I got to work with some wonderful folks – @hantos and @cracksh0t – on a project that was tricky, because it ended up being more a translation of the movie than an adaptation. (I know Heather received some of the worst harassment in the entire industry – I can’t speak to how well Marvel did or did not protect her from it, but I know she was at the bottom of a major misery funnel from Comicsgate and their ilk. Far worse than I suffered.)

Still, I thought things were good, and I hoped to do more work with Marvel or SW or a combo of the two someday – comics isn’t really my “thing,” per se, but I felt like I was getting a handle on it. Of course, the harassment continued – and it got worse again when TLJ came out. Which I’m sure is no surprise to anyone who has ever tweeted, “Hey, I really liked THE LAST JEDI!” That’s really when I started to see lots of YouTube videos and stuff about me and it was… Well, it was creepy. And I’d seen other signs of people being… fired for political reasons, or folks like @ChelseaCain who was yanked around and was also the subject of considerable nastiness.

And then we announced SHADOW OF VADER juuuuust last weekend, and people were excited, and I thought everything was good. I was not made aware of any issues, and my online self has always been my online self, so. Except, yeah, no. Today I got the call. I’m fired. Because of the negativity and vulgarity that my tweets bring. Seriously, that’s what Mark, the editor said. It was too much politics, too much vulgarity, too much negativity on my part.

Basically, because I was not civil.

Which, of course, is their decision to make. I’m not their boss. (And, turns out, they’re not the boss of me, either. Har har.) (I joke because otherwise, I cry.)

My understanding over this call was that this was a Marvel decision, not an LFL decision, but I can’t really confirm that. The editor said he had made the call. He seemed genuinely upset at my tweets and profanity, so maybe that’s accurate. And again, that’s his right to do so. If they honestly feel that my presence will damage the book, I don’t want that. I want the book to shine, and artists like Juanan Ramirez and Greg Smallwood to do their amazing thing. Artists like that are gods in my mind, so I’m happy to not distract from their literal magic.

But it does set a troubling precedent. One we’ve seen already – James Gunn, Jessica White, and so on – of folks fired because they riled up the wasp’s nest of asterisk-gate. And it seems odd to be mad that I’m mad about politics when – well, look around. Climate change, kids in cages, sexual harassers at the topmost tiers of power, and so on. A call for civility as the PA GOP candidate threatens Tom Wolf with a golf cleat stomping. I dunno, man.

I know it hands Comicsgate a big win. It will embolden them. But they won — I’m out of Marvel and, I guess for now, at least, out of any kind of Star Wars. Do your victory lap, I guess. (Just please leave me out of it.) (All that being said, a lot of wonderful people still work inside those institutions and storyworlds, and I hope you’ll continue to support them and the stories they’re telling.) To conclude: this is really quite chilling. And it breaks my heart. I am very sad, and worried for the country I live in, and the world, and for creative people all around. Courage to you all. I have a dire fear this is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.

P.S. Vote in November like your life depends on it. Because it just might.

189 responses to “In Which I Am Fired From Marvel”

  1. so sorry Chuck. I enjoy your irreverent blogs. Too bad Disney/Marvel is digging their grave while trying to project a squeaky clean image. Onwards and upwards! You will be okay!

  2. Chuck, please, please speak to a lawyer. You have rights under the First Amendment. You might have a case. An important one.

  3. I just bought Aftermath… sorry about this Chuck. It seems like the Empire is winning the war at the moment. Never forget about how stuff slips through their fingers with the tighter the grip…

  4. I’m so, so sorry. You’re an inspiration, you help me feel like the world still has some decent people in it. That probably doesn’t help right now, but I hope that things will get better, and maybe then knowing that you do a lot of good for a lot of people will be a comfort and a spur to newer and greater things. Meantime, be immensely kind to yourself, and let the people around you be kind to you. This is not your fault. You did good.

  5. Chuck nothing useful to say except this sucks and I have all the respect in the world for your writing – fiction, twitter comedy, and political perspectives

  6. Chuck–I’m a nobody, so what I have to say probably doesn’t matter. But don’t be silenced by this–people who tell uncomfortable truths are the ones who are targeted. Please, please–be your feisty, potty-mouthed self–whether I agree or disagree with you, you have the right to speak your mind. (And rest assured, I do vote.)

  7. This sucks. You were targeted for harassment and you fought back. Keep up the good work and keep fighting the bull$h!t

  8. I’m so sorry to hear this, Chuck. I share your fears that this only gets worse before it gets better. Let’s at least raise our glasses to the hope it will, someday, trend back toward sanity. Until then, I’ll just have to buy everything you put out twice.

  9. Chuck,

    You are one of my favorite authors and as a world-maker (DND, podcasting, writing (kinda)), I look up to you like no tomorrow.

    You’re doing gods work. You are a great person and I am so sorry that the trolls took away another good thing.

    Love ya man.

  10. Your writing, your blog posts, and your daily Twitter words of wisdom (profane or not) are among the best things out there in this bleak-ass timeline. You have all our support, and we know we have yours.

  11. Ike Perlmutter, friend to Trump, is still the ‘power behind the throne’ at Marvel (comics). It’s not hard to imagine, given the recent ‘virality’ of some of your tweets, that it got back to him, through some chain of cronies, and he made the call to editorial (perhaps via CB ‘clearly a problem’ Cebulski).

    From what I’ve heard, Ike had quite the iron grip at Marvel in the past. It’s been mooted that he was the one blocking female-led / diverse movies until Kevin Feige basically told Disney he either reported to Disney direct, or he’d quit. They sided with Kevin. Ike still, so I’m told, has control over comics and TV, and that’s one of the reasons why we haven’t seen any real TV/movie crossovers.

    All that aside: this is a craven and cowardly thing for Marvel editorial to do, and I’m disgusted by it.

  12. “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” All the calls for “civility” are really calls to just be quiet and let the loud, terrible people do whatever they want because it’s easier for them. I’m sorry to hear that your editor has chosen to throw his lot in with the wrong side, but I hope that you don’t take that as a sign that you need to do the same. I’m not the only one who will happily continue supporting both your work and your twitter/blog incivility, and I hope other people quickly realize the error and give you the chances you deserve.

  13. It’s a load of horseshit, Chuck, and I’m sorry this happened to you, and sickened by the harassment you’ve had to endure.

  14. Keep it up Chuck. Don’t change a thing. Armed with the truth, you’ll win the long game. Have followed your blog and books for years and will keep doing so.

  15. Fuck this. Just… I am so disappointed in Disney and Marvel again. This can’t be how they react to this sort of pressure. Well wishes, Chuck. They don’t know what they’re losing. I think it’s time for me to seek out some of your not-SW stuff to read.

    Godspeed, Rebel

  16. This makes me so angry and then sad and finally scared. I hope you’ll continue to be your funny bold self on these terrible/wonderful internets. I’m sorry you have been harassed and threatened. I’m just an old white lady with no clout but I will continue to support you and your writing.

  17. vote in november like your life defends on it. uh, huh, chuck, as you just found out, all our lives depend on it. just hope it actually works. ask al gore about that one. and, no, it’s not paranoia if they really are out to get you.

    I am so sorry. wish there were something I could do, short of murder or mayhem, that would help the over all situation. not sure what that might be.

  18. Big fan. Love your SW stuff and your novels. You deserve better. Maybe DC will recognize and hire you. The state of politics is maddening and nobody’s silence or fence-sitting is achieving one positive thing.

  19. Oh – fuck them. All of them. And you keep on doing your good work. Don’t change. I love reading your stuff – books, blogs, advice, rants, prompts. Everything. Don’t change.

    And everyone else: get the vote out.

  20. …and of course the trollbots are digging up the time when you celebrated Rosanne being fired for her hate speech because false comparisons are always the go-to for Alt-Right trolls.

    I’ve done my little part. I just went out and purchased 3 of your books and then told Marvel
    a) how stupid they were for falling for the trolls twice in a row and
    b) that I wouldn’t be buying any of their products until they learned how not to cave in to Nazis.

  21. This was an injustice. Everyone with eyes can already see it. You’re handling it with a lot of grace, man. Don’t censor yourself — you have a great voice for a lot of us without the platform you have. And your courage is appreciated.

    Some of these companies are going to find themselves on the wrong side of history. It’s already begun.

  22. I’m so so sorry, Chuck. I don’t even know what to say. That is fucking heart breaking. Stay strong, man–we all believe in you and in everything you do!

  23. You’d think this editor or someone at Marvel might have spoken to you beforehand? But it seems like firing people out of the blue with no warning is how things are done nowadays. Next thing you know they’ll only be hiring talent who have no online presence or who are too scared to say anything slightly controversial.

  24. You’ve been a source of strength for me during a painful time in my life, I’ve just bought your audiobook of thunderbird, I wish I could do more, stay strong and thank you!

  25. Roseanne losing her show, in which you said it was “good” that she lost it, was also a precedent. But since you don’t care when conservatives lose a job over tweets, why should anyone care when you do.

  26. Chuck, this is utter shit. I’m so sorry that you and your fellows creators have been going through this. I’m sad and sorry that this has happened to you. I love your storytelling. You’re a hella inspiring guy and your honesty and self are always refreshing. Sending you my best wishes and support

  27. Heartbreaking and stomach turning all are the same time. Not getting fired, people get does for stopping reasons ask the time but for the anger and viciousness everywhere, even in science fiction. And it’s just getting worse. Every victory makes such people more confident and all the more contemptible.

  28. Chuck, this is my first post to your blog and I’m so sorry it’s taken something like this to make me do it. I just want you to know that your words have helped me so much. Not just in my own attempts at writing but as a person. So keep right on posting all your, you know, word things.

  29. The world is going to hell and taking a lot of good people down with it. If we can’t speak our own truths and voice our opinions without fear of being silenced through uncalled for harassment, threats, and other knee-jerk responses from “higher ups” (such as what you’ve just experienced), we’re in deeper shit than I ever thought imaginable. So sorry this happened (to you and so many others; many of whom haven’t got the nerve to talk about it or the audience to share their pain with). Keep doing what you do best – WRITE IT OUT! Your fans and friends are with you.

  30. I’m so pissed about this. I went on a little buying spree of your stories as a result (even going as far to buy some of your titles that would normally scare the pants off me) and I’m advising everyone I know to do the same. I’ve come to rely on your posts as beacons of pithy sanity in the dark cesspool of what our nation has become. All I can say is if you weren’t doing something *right*, they wouldn’t have mobbed you like this–and though I would feel as though I’d swallowed a 4 ton lead weight if this happened to me, I’d also be proud.

    Because we can’t be afraid to speak out. We can’t be afraid to protest against the injustices and inhumanities of this administration. We can’t shy away from controversy, ignore climate change, shrug over the potential loss of the ACA, Medicare, or social security. We can’t turn a blind eye to graft, corruption, gerrymandering, and outright campaign fraud. If we are in a position to keep our mouths shut and duck our heads, to toe the party line and not make waves, then we are privileged individuals indeed–and idiots if we think we’ll be spared the fallout from decisions that impact the entire globe.

    I am sorry this happened to you–but I am so very glad you shared this.That’s real courage, man.

  31. I am here for the swearing and outrage. And sandwiches. If you were to have a patron or similar, I would be delighted to give you money for swearing. Chuck Wendig’s reverse swear jar.

  32. Wow,,, that’s all i can say. I really enjoy your writing ,,, your unique style is so refreshing ,,,, I’m sorry this is happening to you.

  33. Really sorry to hear about this. Keep being awesome. Whatever the corporate jerks and gatekeepers might think about you online, I’ve personally seen you be civil to the most annoying of people at conventions. Keep being awesome and writing crazy books.

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