I have been a reader of the work of writer Warren Ellis for a long time. His work has been instrumental to a lot of my thinking about magic and the future. Online groups he formed led directly to my professional career and to many lasting friendships. He was personally kind to me online a couple of times. I’ve quoted him extensively over the years, including in the last talk I gave and posted here.
It has become clear in the last week that Ellis has been using his power and privilege to manipulate younger women into providing sexual favours. From dozens of women. For decades.
I have heard many of their stories. I believe them all. And much of his work, and public conduct, has hinted at this. His recent attempt at an apology is an insufficient piece of corporate-speak obfuscation which covers his arse career-wise and does nothing whatsoever for the women he took advantage of.
The facts remain. He was a sexual predator, of a type especially prone to recidivism – they rarely stop, but only pause then relapse. He had a type, practiced prey selection, honed his technique and pressured the women not only to be sexual with him, but to not discuss it with others. Then he dropped them from his life if they tried to expand out of his immediate control, often with severe implications for their careers; certainly, on their lives.
Most (I am told, in confidence, not all) of what he did may have been legal, but that is not the point.
It was dishonourable. Reprehensible.
It replaced a duty of care to vulnerable young professionals and fans in his field with the attitude of a greedy child in a sweetshop.
He chose to do this. He knew better, and did it anyway.
Over and over again. Just because he could.
And now, everyone knows this. Reactions have… differed.
I am leaving my references to his work on the blog, but I have to note the context in which his words should now be regarded. And to say this…
Men need to do better.
Yes, all men.
Even if you’ve never dreamed of harming or exploiting a woman or anyone, the male-dominated cultures which permit and even exalt such behaviours have to be challenged, opposed, destroyed.
And it is men who should, need to, do the work here.