It was only a matter of time before the specter of sexual harassment reached the happy-go-lucky world of television shows based on comics. But the subgenre finally joins the film industry, other lower-profiles business environments, and comic book publishing as a place where men with power abuse it.
Variety reports that Andrew Kreisberg, an executive producer on The CW’s Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow has been suspended pending an investigation by Warner Bros. Television into his alleged “inappropriate behavior” with staff from the various series. According to “15 women and four men who have worked with him,” Kreisberg has a long history of inappropriate comments and engaging in unwanted physical contact. The stories range from the producer requesting massages from female employees, to viewing lewd images in the office, to simulating sex on a male staff member. It is also said he has a long-standing habit of judging women based on their appearance and making inappropriate comments in connection with his judgements. In one case, Kreisberg allegedly told a female employee, “Wow, you look so tired that I don’t even want to have sex with you anymore”, while her children were present.
Kreisberg strongly denies all of the allegations. He also suggests some of the stories originate from the pressure cooker of the writer’s room; where he apparently encourages the writers to act out potential actions for the various shows.
Both Warner Bros. Television and Berlanti Productions, the company responsible for the programs, told Variety they were recently made aware of Kreisberg’s alleged conduct and are “committed to creating a safe working environment for our employees and everyone involved in our productions.” Of course, many of the people Variety spoke to about Kreisberg told the site they never felt the Human Resources option would lead to any meaningful change.
Perhaps now, there will be some change as public accusations of serial harassers become more common. In recent months, men like Honest Trailers creator Andy Signore and Ain’t It Cool News founder Harry Knowles have seen their careers and reputations crumble in the face of multiple accusations. Kevin Spacey recently came into the spotlight when Star Trek: Discovery actor Anthony Rapp revealed Spacey allegedly attempted to assault him when Rapp was a teenager. Others quickly came forward and Spacey’s upcoming film, television and public appearance soon evaporated. In a stunning move, director Ridley Scott choose to recast Spacey’s role in All the Money in the World and reshoot his scenes just a few shorts weeks before the movie was set to debut.
If the pattern of recent days continues, Kreisberg may not have a job come Monday morning.
The shows, meanwhile, will continue. But as viewers, it may be time for us to consider the pervasive toxic environments brewing in the offices producing our favorite media and listen to those trying to point out the ugly truths when they appear.