Dark Horse Executive Senior Editor Scott Allie (until recently Dark Horse Editor-in-Chief, see "Dark Horse Has New EIC") drunkenly groped comics writer Joe Harris at a San Diego party this year, according to a lengthy piece by Janelle Asselin on Graphic Policy titled "Enough is Enough:  Dark Horse’s Scott Allie’s Assaulting Behavior."  Asselin outlined a long history of erratic, alcohol-fueled behavior by Allie, which was apparently widely known to co-workers and superiors.

Asselin argues in the piece that Dark Horse management tolerated Allie’s behavior and that the situation is not unusual.  "The truth is that Allie is a symptom of the problems in our industry," she wrote.  "He is not alone in his inappropriate behavior nor is Dark Horse alone in being a publisher that opts to turn a blind eye towards problematic behavior by its employees."

The piece got same-day reactions for Allie and from Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson.  In a statement released to CBR, Allie apologized for his behavior at San Diego Comic Con 2015.  "…I apologize to everyone I’ve hurt.  I’m completely embarrassed by my actions and how my behavior reflects on Dark Horse Comics, my friends, and family.  My personal approach and decisions for managing stress were bad.  Dark Horse and I have taken the matter very seriously and since this incident, we have taken steps to correct and avoid any behavior like this in the future."  Allie also told CBR that he is seeking outside help for substance abuse.

Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson also made an impassioned response in a statement (see "Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson on Scott Allie Situation"), defending the company’s actions and culture while lauding the intent of Asselin’s article.  "I applaud Ms. Asselin’s intentions in dealing with sexual harassment in the comics industry," he wrote, but strongly disputed her argument that Allie’s behavior had been tolerated.  "In cases such as these, we have been proactive in our response, with a variety of professional services involved, all with the goal of changing behavior," Richardson wrote.  "Additionally, a number of internal responses are acted upon, including termination if such behavior continues.  Under no circumstance is any individual ‘harbored.’ … I agree that harassment of any kind, routine or not, is unacceptable.  It always has been.  We at Dark Horse will renew our efforts to make sure that our company is never again mentioned with regard to this type of occurrence. …[O]ur goal has always been to provide a positive, safe, and respectful environment for its employees, creators, and fans."

There has been a pretty steady flow of allegations about sexual harassment at comic publishers this year, but Asselin’s piece seems to have struck a new chord, perhaps because it was well-researched and written, and because a the parties involved responded immediately, acknowledging that the incident occurred and that actions were being taken as a result.  That’s a positive outcome, and we hope that it portends a better culture in the comics business in the future.