I agree that it shouldn’t happen in formal professional settings. In more informal situations, though (like some of those similar to the ones Ellis failed at consistently), I’ve seen it work*. The onus is on the party who’s been accorded more power by society to make it so by behaving ethically and with respect (sort of a variation on the “campsite rule”).
[* including in a situation where the mentor was a woman]
And more often than not, it does not. The few “successes” doesn’t erase the failures. This included.
I think the sorts of spaces under discussion (message boards run by and for the artist in question) needs to be understood as a professional space and treated as such with regards to sexual relationships.
So many mentor/protégé intimate relationships and collaborations with a power imbalance have gone wrong, though. Usually the powerful person is the one who benefits most, if the other person gets anything out of the experience at all. It is promoted and encouraged, and too often treated as a perk for the powerful.
Part of the meaning of protégé is protected. Mentors who do the opposite of protecting by violating trust and coercing those under their authority or control don’t deserve power or respect. I’m glad to see more of them being exposed, because if it was such a good thing for all concerned, why do they go to great lengths to keep it hidden? That’s part of the pattern that helps them find more targets for their abusive behavior.
In reading about some of these serial workplace/working relationship wreckers, not only do they seem predatory, but also lazy. Like they just couldn’t be bothered to put in the effort to go out and find people to date, so they just targeted whoever was in close proximity. When did “Don’t where you eat” fall out of the top 5 in the career advice list?
Yeah, and in this case that edginess was part of this kind of “ironic” persona of being a lecherous asshole. Which… kind of turned out to be true. Although it strikes me that the reality differed from his persona in that in reality he’s incredibly immature, basically. Incredibly un-self-aware, emotionally stunted, solipsistic… it explains why he always had this vibe that made him seem rather pathetic to me. I always felt sorry for him and didn’t know why. Though now that I know why, I don’t feel sorry for him.
Can’t be a fun week for other celebrities with that name. I once worked on a show that had four people on the sound crew… one of them looked superficially very similar to me, such that anyone who didn’t already know either of us had trouble telling which was which.
He took working in theater to mean that he could pop into the dressing rooms whenever he so chose. This did not make things great for me. Which is why I was given the privilege of firing him.
Which we did very publicly, out in front of the theater at about 5pm on a Friday afternoon, as many of the performers were showing up for rehearsal. Never saw the dude again, can’t even remember his name.
I don’t even think it is sexual. I think it’s pure contempt, hate, and insecurity. The easiest way to be able to destroy a woman in the workplace is to say she slept her way up. Make sure women have no choice but to sleep with you and they can never overtake you. I think there is nothing more to it than that.
Something I have come to realize - and understand that I am speaking in general and not about you specifically - is that men have more of a role in this kind of b/s than we realize. We need not have been actively involved as Warren Ellis was.
First, I think a lot more men have abused their positions than we care to admit, especially among geeky/woke/progressive men. This isn’t meant to disparage progressive ideas, only that it has been used as effective cover for other misogyny and manipulation.
Second, even if a strict majority of men haven’t perpetrated the misogyny and manipulation, many of us have been active bystanders. Personally, if I reflect honestly about my past, I can see instances where I allowed manipulative behavior to go unchecked and I think men are more passive about this stuff than we care to admit. I am not much into comics so I don’t know anything about Ellis, but presumably he doesn’t work exclusively with women. I find it hard to believe there weren’t other men to which Ellis’ behaviour was obvious.
So when we say “I don’t understand men like this” we give up our own license to change things, and we’re trying to dodge responsibility or make it about “us” as individuals - we’re worried we might lose a bit of power.
Thank you for pointing out so clearly what some here have been saying: yes, this man is an asshole, but he’s not the only problem. It’s an entire culture that needs changing, not just individual bad apples.