Paul Levitz ‘Retires’, Katherine Keller And Jeff Abraham Step Down From CBLDF

by Oliver MacNamee

With the resignation of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) director Charles Brownstein, over claims of sexual assault against creator Taki Soma in 2005, dating back years, others are falling too. Or, rather resigning with Paul Levitz (who is ‘retiring’), Katherine Keller and Jeff Abraham all stepping down from their positions and going silent online, wishing for privacy at this time. But, will this be enough to save a charity organisation that has helped so many creators in the past, given that many are seeing the initial resignation by the accused Brownstein as bad form for CBLDF? After all, many online observers felt this was far too little, too late and that CBLDF should have acted with swiftness against him. As a result many comic book creators have withdrawn their own support for this charity.

But, if it folds, what then takes its place? After all, many comic book creators are freelancers and many rely on the support the CBLDF have offered in the past. While many are critical of the workings of CBLDF other are coming to its defence, because of the support they have offered. Support that has helped many in need.

But, what did those who have now resigned or retired know and why the silence and refusal to answer question? After all, this isn’t the first time Paul Levitz has worked with some one who has been accused of such heinous crimes, now is it? Eddie Berganza does come to mind. Although, to be fair, accusations against him only surfaced after Levitz has stood down as DC Comics’ President.

For me, though, this for me only raises more questions over what was known and what was covered up not only at CBLDF and DC Comics, but across the whole corporate culture of America and beyond. This type of behaviour is not specific to just the comic book industry, now is it? And, the CBLDF isn’t the first to drag their feet over such incidents either. But, is it worth the complete cancelling of this organisation as a result?

Here’s the full statement from CBLDF in full:

“The CBLDF announced today that Paul Levitz is retiring from our Board of Directors. In addition, the Board has accepted the resignations of Katherine Keller and Jeff Abraham. See our full statement here.”

“We respect the decisions that Paul, Katherine and Jeff have made to leave the Board. We realize it will be a long path to earning back the trust of our members, supporters and the industry. We recognize that it’s been our inability to react, or act at all, that’s been the cause of pain in our community.

Even last week, when we took the necessary action in accepting Charles’s resignation, our communications were stilted and clumsy. To everyone who has come forward, we haven’t done justice to your bravery and we are truly sorry. We vow to be better.

We’ve begun the search for a new Executive Director. We’re going to look both inside and outside the comic book industry to find the best person to run the Fund and fix what’s broken. We are taking steps to expand our mission to make sure that we are best serving the industry’s needs. We have a responsibility to our community, and that means listening and responding to your concerns.

Most importantly, we want to keep talking. We want to keep listening. If you have a story to tell, whether it involves the CBLDF or not, we want to hear it. We’ve created the email feedback@cbldf.org where you can share your story or voice your concerns. We don’t expect our words to earn us anything. We hope our actions will.”

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