Robot 6

‘JL8′ on hiatus amid Ferguson charity criticism, harassment claims [Updated]

Yale Stewart's Ferguson charity wallpaper

Yale Stewart’s Ferguson charity wallpaper

JL8 creator Yale Stewart announced he’s “stepping away” from his popular fan comic amid sharp criticism of his charity wallpapers, and allegations that he’s sent unsolicited sexual photos to women in the comics industry.

Update (10:44 a.m.): Stewart admitted this morning to sending  photos to two women with whom he was involved, writing, in part, “Two years ago, I was engaged in two separate relationships with women whom I was sexually active with. Given the nature of these relationships, my experiences in past relationships, and various dialogues with these women, I thought it had been established within each relationship that intimate or explicit photos were acceptable, possibly even desired. I GROSSLY misread the situation. It has been brought to my attention that both of these women were uncomfortable with my behavior, and needless to say, I’m absolutely disgusted with myself.”

“[…] I have reached out to both of these women and have made private apologies, but I felt it was my responsibility to make a public one as well. As stated earlier, I believe sexual harassment to be an incredibly serious issue, and while the harassment in question was a terrible and ignorant mistake, it does not change the fact that that’s what this was, and I accept full responsibility.”

There’s more at the link. The original story continues below …

The cartoonist, who has deleted his Twitter account, wrote Tuesday on the JL8 Facebook page that his mother has received phone calls from people searching for him, as well as threatening messages. “Pros, I NEED SOME OF YOU to get my back on this,” he wrote. “This just crossed a VERY real line.”

“This has NOTHING TO DO with people being upset that I’m taking a break from JL8 (at least one person has come to this conclusion),” Stewart added. “This is about the Ferguson wallpaper and allegations that I’ve been sending unsolicited graphic photos to women in the industry.”

The controversy began Friday when Stewart, whose comic depicts DC’s Justice League characters as 8-year-olds, released a charity wallpaper featuring a pint-sized Hal Jordan and John Stewart with the slogan “Stand for a brighter tomorrow. Together” and the hashtag “#standforferguson.” For $1, fans get the wallpaper, with proceeds benefiting the NAACP and ACLU, which are working with the family of Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old who was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

Stewart, who parlayed his fan comic into a deal for The Amazing Adventures of Superman children’s books, took a similar approach in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings and Super Typhoon Haiyan. However, artist Ulises Farinas (Judge Dredd: City of Courts, Catalyst Comix) didn’t view those acts as charity, but rather “a shameless ploy at self promotion”:

Instead of making a cutesy little wallpaper of DC heroes you don’t own, supporting media entities that already ignore brown people, that have news companies that spin a narrative that blames the victims of police brutality and not the aggressors, why don’t you just shutup and privately donate as much as you want to ACLU, whenever you want, and not just when #ferguson is all over twitter.

Putting two images of SPACE COPS as your “SUPPORT FERGUSON” wallpaper, and offering it for a DOLLAR, is fucking gross. And i hate that we can’t distinguish between support and capitalism.

You know the only reason the dollar is going to the ACLU, is he because the product he’s selling isn’t a wallpaper, its himself.

Ulises Farinas's visual response

Ulises Farinas’s visual response

Farinas’ criticism spilled onto Twitter (and beyond) over the weekend, with the artist broaching the subject of the alleged sexual photos on Monday, first teasingly, and then with the tweet, “I love that everyone KNOWS what his ‘OTHER’ problem is! BIGGEST OPEN SECRET,” followed by, “when’s a good time to send a picture of my genitals? Before or after my children’s book comes out? Asking for a friend.” From there, whatever gloves there might have been, were taken off.

A Twitter search for “Yale Stewart” reveals a number of people who purport to have been aware of allegations that Stewart sent unsolicited sexual photos to women in the industry, lending credence to Farinas’ “open secret” comment.

Naturally, the discussion quickly turned from charity wallpapers and self-promotion to dick pics and sexual harassment, with many Stewart supporters demanding evidence and detractors insisting it does exist (the subject has so consumed the comics corner of Twitter that artist Steve Lieber wrote, “I could happily go a year without seeing the term ‘dick pic’ in my feed, but things probably aren’t gonna work out that way”).

Stewart does have his defenders (including Justin Jordan), as evidenced by the JL8 Facebook page, and a column on Unleash the Fanboy that’s already drawn fire for its “boys will be boys” shoulder-shrug response to the photo allegations — “Now, any self respecting American male younger than 30 knows the pain of the regrettable dick slip” — and for its characterization of Farinas (the headline reads, “Ulises Farinas Is A Jealous Idiot. I Stand Behind Yale Stewart”).

While Stewart responded publicly, if somewhat indirectly, to the self-promotion criticism, he hasn’t confirmed or denied the photo allegations. ROBOT 6 has reached out to the cartoonist for comment; we’ll update this story if he replies.

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Comments

44 Comments

Friend or not, Justin Jordan should not be defending someone who sends unsolicited dick pics to anyone else. Shameful.

What a shame. Not only would I like to believe the best of every one – I like to wear my Blue Lantern ring whenever possible – I really liked this version of the Justice League. It’s a shame that such a cool concept and webcomic is tarnished by even the hint of impropriety.

Maybe instead of Hal and John, a JL8 version of Captain Marvel – a symbol of hope – would have been better. I looked at Hal and John as symbols of a brighter tomorrow union. Y’know, what we’d all like to see…

It’s a shame that we live in a world where “dick pic” is a thing. Shame that one day, Websters will probably add it to the lexicon… I hope it’s not true, ‘cos that would really taint the JL8 concept for me.

I think people were having one argument (the charity wallpaper) then completely shifted to another (the dick pics).

The former was a flimsy one to begin with (seriously, how much can you vilify one guy for making a charity wallpaper?) and the latter is a completely separate issue that, like Steve Lieber, I’d rather not discuss (IMO it’s a private matter between Stewart and whoever.)

Ulises Farinas comes across as a complete douchebag in both cases.

“Ulises Farinas comes across as a complete douchebag in both cases.”

This is probably the truest statement on the internet today. Sadly, some people can’t live with a difference of opinion or method.

glad he admitted it at least. everyone has made mistakes in life, some are worse than others for sure. that doesnt mean he shouldnt be forgiven. Knowning what is right and whats wrong is important, and he knows he was wrong.

Farinas sounds like has clearly mad about something else, very easy to label him as kind of an asshole after what he said. There are many different ways to have handled that.

as for the wallpaper, i view this as him helping the best way he knows how. with his art, im sure self promotion is secondary. Say he makes an annonymous donation, less awareness is raised, if he uses his platform, more people find out about it and more money is hopefully raised.

He is admitting to sending pics to two females who first sent him photos. Does that make it right? Should he be slammed for responding to sexual photos with a sexual photo? No.

The guy came right out and let the people know what the deal was. The fact that they are saying “women in the industry” makes it sound like he is going through a blackbook of all of them women in the industry and one by one sending them dick pics. Not the case from what is being said. Two women who had already sent him similar photos were the recipients of his photos. I see nothing wrong with that other than the fact that they felt uncomfortable with that. I can’t really blame either party. The women should have made it known that they do not want to receive any photos, but that they would send them only.

Also to Kevin, you don’t know the whole story. Obviously there is a reason Jordan is defending him, maybe it’s not as bad as everyone is making it seem and he knows that. This is just like the Michael Brown situation, everyone wants to ignore the fact that they don’t know everything. They hear something on the media, or hear Al Sharpton calling racism and immediately follow that like sheep. I’m not calling you a sheep, I am just saying I am sure there are reasons he is defending him and that we don’t have all of the facts.

Sending unsolicited dick pics? That’s fucking disgusting and we should all let the world know!
Calling his mom because of those dick pics? Totally acceptable.

This is the world we live in. How in the fuck can anyone against the first one justify the 2nd one?

Since my dumb twitter wisecrack is cited in the article and Morris mentions me in his response above, I should clarify something. It’s not that I think it shouldn’t be discussed. It’s that I’d rather it didn’t happen, and that way there’d be nothing TO discuss. But if someone’s sending unwelcome, unsolicited pics, the most sensible response I can think of is Name & Shame.

tl;dr: If someone is being harassed, fuck silence.

I agree Alex.

Also, why is it that someone can’t benefit a cause while also benefiting themselves anymore? Just because he is getting some attention from it doesn’t mean it’s not still going to help the people of Ferguson.

When I saw the wallpaper I instantly got it’s meaning and really liked it. Black and White standing together for a better tomorrow. I agree with that wallpaper. As a veteran of the Marine Corps I have black friends that are closer to me than my actual family, they are brothers to me. It’s just sad that not everyone can see how well we can work together if we just took the time to try.

A charity poster is shameless self-promotion….

This guy’s supposed to be in the comics industry? What an idiot. It’s all self-promotion out there. Stewart just happens to be using that self-promotion towards a good cause.

Nerd Rage is just ugly.

I’m sorry I cannot get over the fact that people are legit calling and threatening his mother. This blows my fucking mind. How is this not completely hypocritical of them?

Every time we see an article in this industry it’s about how men react to women by sending them sexually aggressive and threatening comments/messages. So, when someone is accused of sexual harassment … some of us think it’s 100% ok to then turn around and harass and threaten the guy’s mother? A woman that had nothing to do with any of it … but because it’s her son, let’s call her and threaten her?

What the actual fuck?

I cannot even process the rationale behind this.

This seems like 2 things that got real out of hand.
I’m happy he owned up to it so politely, that’s all you can do when you Fuck up that bad.
But the poster? These are brothers in arms! John and Hal are the two biggest GLs.
I grew up looking up to John Stewart. This was showing unity! I don’t get it…

So if he was already engaging in sexual activity with these women, who cares if he sent those images? Grow up, people.

On the subject of the wallpaper – I’ll take an insincere, self-promoting display of charity over a completely honest display of apathy whenever the offer comes up.

Just so I’m clear on this: he was in a consensual sexual relationship with these women. As in, both parties had willingly expressed interest in the other sexually. And he’s disgusting for sending images of his genitalia — which the women had already seen, as they had willingly had sex with him — because they did not specifically ask him to send those images? Does that sum it up?

I guess I’m glad that I’m an unrepentant homosexual, because I don’t understand the protocol of straight dating in the smartphone era. If a guy sends me an unsolicited dick pic — and it happens all the time on apps like Grindr or Scruff — I alternate between amused, bored, or sometimes turned on. If a guy I have slept with sends me an unsolicited dick pic, I certainly would not be offended by it. And if I was, I guess I would just delete it and say, “Thanks, not really interested.” I wouldn’t go about systematically trying to ruin a man’s career. Which has absolutely nothing to do with his penis, so far as I can tell.

Had these been women who had not willingly expressed an interest in the guy sexually, sure. He’s a pig. But that isn’t the case here. They were involved sexually at least at some point. So…sorry. I just don’t get it. Tell me I have male privilege or whatever. But this is not a big deal to me. Certainly I don’t understand why it should be a topic of industry gossip that a guy sent some of his FWBs x-pics.

As for the artist claiming that Mr. Stewart’s charity images are nothing but self promotion — I don’t even understand the argument. The man is raising money for charity. There is no harm here. I would buy one of those wallpapers because I thought they were cute, and would be encouraged to do so because they’re for a good cause. I had to go back and check the article for the artist’s name. Self promotion? The man’s name isn’t even on the original. Seems to me the person promoting himself through all of this is the troll hacking away at him on Twitter.

This shit is getting out of hand. Come on people, loosely sexual relationships are far more common than you think. Apologize, chill out, learn, move on.

On the part of Ferguson. Shit’s getting to out of hand. It’s on that community and the country to solve this problem. It’s 2014, this racism and laziness to solve issues is very very stupid.

Stewart is a great artist and personally I think everyone should shut up and he needs to get back to work because I want to buy his stuff.

Eric, there are allegations that go beyond what Stewart has admitted to.

I can only respond to what I’ve seen reported. And if sending dick pics to people with whom you’ve been sexually active is a crime, I hasten to guess that a significant majority of internet users are probably guilty of that crime. An awful lot of glass houses up on Twitter today.

I didn’t know who these people were before today and I’m regretting following up on comic creator vague-tweeting.

in case no one’s seen, Betty Felon screencapped a message she got from Stewart that puts the sincerity of his apology into question

http://bettyfelon.com/post/95300538239

I understood it as he was having sex with these two two years ago. The way I toke it they also send him rated r stuff. For sine reason after his fling with these two years ago. One of them decide to bring if up ? They were sleeping with him. Bit saying it’s ok. Just find it weird.

@Chris Jones:

That’s horse shit, man. He sent that message after people started calling and *threatening* his fucking Mother. Are you kidding me right now? Would any one of us be totally calm after that?

I am sorry but we need to be clear here.

The hashtag on this post is sexual harassment. Sexual harrassment is a CRIME. It has very specific parameters.
So Robot6 is now connecting Yale to a criminal act. Was that the intent?

If these women are not making criminal charges, then isn’t this all just gossip.?

I will begin with the premise that sleeping with someone doesn’t give you the right to send dick pics in perpetuity.
If you agree, or at least do not strongly disagree, feel free to read on.
When is it OK to send a dick pic to a person with whom you have known (in the biblical sense)? Well, that depends on the context. Did the person tell you s/he never wanted to see you again? Probably shouldn’t send a dick pic. Did the person tell you s/he is super into your dick and would love to see more of it? Go for it! Did the person tell you s/he was totally into seeing more of your dick five years ago, before you slept with his/her roommate? Well, maybe you ought to call first.
Obviously, this is an issue of context. What should be clear is that if you send a dick pic, and the person on the receive end of the message is upset, you’re probably to blame.
TLDR: You probably ought to send a thoughtful note. Skip the dick pic.

Nerd Rage, he should be mad at those people, then, not one of the women who spoke about his shitty behavior. The fact that he sent a thinly veiled “fuck you” to someone who mentioned his indiscretions speaks volumes about his character.

where the hell kind of proof do you have that he only sent dick pics to people that sent pics in return? there’s literally no proof other than his word,? and before simply taking someone’s word wasn’t enough for the comics internet to believe that he was sending dick pics in the first place.

like, what the *hell* kind of logic is that.

Chris Jones: Do you know who he sent this message to? Bigredrobot posted it and then bettyfelon reposted it. Do we know where it originated?

Mike: it was a message sent to Betty, as she states in the post.

so wait. Farinas thinks its wrong for an artist to use their art for any constructive charitable purpose?

I think it’s already pretty well established that Farinas is a terrible person. This is obviously in no way a defense of Stewart’s disgusting behavior.

Chris Jones: I had to reread it all over again to get that. I was confused because it was originally posted by someone else, and Betty was apparently clarifying that she wasn’t one of the women who received photos.

I’m also confused to what’s “unsettling” about him expressing his feelings to her in the aftermath of telephonic and Twitter harassment (deserved or undeserved), but I’m not sure there’s anything to be gained by discussing something I’m not directly involved in.

George Caltsoudas

August 20, 2014 at 11:42 pm

What J-Shap and Eric said.

Well, let’s look on the bright side. At least JL8 did not become JLB8

Side stepping all other issues, why isn’t it logical to include two characters who are black and white, friends, and equally well known for playing the same role? Seems like an inspired choice. Also, why are they the wrong choice because they’re “space cops.” Cops aren’t the enemy. Cops we do the wrong thing should be the focus. Let’s avoid the broad brush.

For the record, no one outside of comic book fandom sees Green Lanterns as “space cops”. To everyone else they are merely silly superheroes in green spandex. Nothing more.

From Yale’s Facebook page: ‘But I can’t deny it because no ones telling me what they think happened. I’m someone who admittedly has a fairly healthy sex life. I willingly admit that I have sent explicit photos to women with whom I’ve has relations with. When I’ve sent those photos, I’ve always been confident, due to either actions, requests, or otherwise, that both parties have mutually agreed that they are something desired. That being said, I’ll even acknowledge that there is perhaps some way that in an isolated incident, I horribly misread a situation and unknowingly sent something that both parties were NOT in an agreement upon. However, I cannot recall any instance where this could have happened, since I consider myself incredibly prudent in these scenarios, and will generally only reciprocate after I’ve received something. But as I said, no ones telling me anything, despite my efforts at contacting them privately, asking for them to clarify. Either I sent someone something that was solicited and they’re lying, I sent someone something as a complete accident, or this entire thing is being fabricated.”

That sounds like he has sent so many pictures to so many people that he has lost track.

“this entire thing is being fabricated” by dozens of women in the comics industry (and it is dozens, just check Twitter) who are putting their professional credibility and word of honor on the line just to play a mean prank on poor lil’ Yale. right.

Chris Jones: Everything I’ve seen on Twitter has been from “someone who knows someone” have there been any direct accusations or just hearsay?

Correct me if I’m wrong but this guy sent pictures to women he was intimate with? Ummm newsflash – you can’t be intimate with someone without seeing their body parts. Seems to me these women set out to make his life miserable (hell hath no fury & all that). Shame they seem to have succeeded. If I am mistaken about who the 2 women are, then of course that’s a completely different story.

Far as these ridiculous problems with his racial harmony comic… why is he being bashed for this? I’ve seen MANY comics, political cartoons, drawings, poems, signs, etc. in support of the same thing. So what’s the problem? If he has drawn these characters before with no issue, why the problem now? Maybe the message bothers some people. If that’s the case, y’all are pathetic.

Yale screwed up, but this screw up doesn’t erase all the good he’s done with his art and his comics. Besides, there are real comic writers who’re rumored to have done much worse things.

My God, this age is something else. Dick pics really cause this much drama?

It seems from the Twitter feeds of several professionals in the biz, this is by no means an isolated incident..and was an industry not so best kept secret.
Anyway, who cares if he is getting blowback? He did cutsey little cartoons about licensed characters..if he doesn’t work again, it’s not like we lost a giant of the industry. His stuff was about a grade above most other amateur webcomic stuff…except most of those guys would have got a cease and desist letter from DC a while back.
I guess as long as he promoted himself and did armchair charity (Look, here is how much I care..two little cute Green Lanterns, can’t we all get along?), DC was okay with it.

Only difference is, his “cutesy little cartoons” are actually better than anything DC is currently putting on the shelves.

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