6:27pm PT by Aaron Couch
DC Editor Accused of Sexual Assault by Ex-employees
Multiple ex-employees of DC are publicly accusing veteran editor Eddie Berganza of sexual assault.
Three women, two on the record and one unnamed, shared allegations in a BuzzFeed story published Friday in which they described instances of Berganza forcibly kissing or groping them. Rumors of misconduct had long followed Berganza, who has been with the company since the 1990s.
Liz Gehrlein Marsham was 29 in 2006, when she said Berganza kissed and groped her, three weeks into her new job at DC. The alleged incident occurred at a bar in New York called McGee's, where DC employees often hung out. She continued with the company for six years, but said she was "physically ill from being stressed all the time" by the end of her time with the company, due to the situation with Berganza.
Cartoonist Joan Hilty, then in her 30s, said she had a similar experience at McGee's in the early 2000s.
"I said no — he kept insisting," said Hilty, eventually telling him, "If you don't take that arm off me, I'm gonna break it."
In 2010, former DC editor Janelle Asselin organized a multiple-employee complaint to the company's HR department about Berganza.
"I worried every time we had a new young intern come into the office that was female," Asselin told BuzzFeed. "I just became very concerned with what he was going to do next. The more stories I started to hear from other people, the more I started to feel this was a compulsion, that he couldn’t stop if he had tried, and he wasn’t trying to stop. That scared the shit out of me."
Berganza continued to rise through the ranks and was named executive editor later in 2010. But in 2012 at WonderCon, Berganza allegedly kissed another woman by force, and that incident was reported by Bleeding Cool. Shortly after that alleged incident, DC demoted Berganza from executive editor to group editor.
A DC representative told The Hollywood Reporter the company could not comment on private matters.
"DC and WB are unequivocally committed to cultivating a work environment of dignity and respect, one that is safe and harassment free for all employees," the rep told THR. "We take all claims of harassment very seriously and investigate them promptly. Employees found in violation of the policies are dealt with swiftly and decisively, and subject to disciplinary actions and consequences."
THR was unable to reach Berganza, and he did not respond to BuzzFeed's request for comment.
Nov. 12, 3:23 p.m. DC has suspended Berganza, the company said in a statement Saturday: "There will be a prompt and yet careful review into next steps as it relates to the allegations against him, and the concerns our talent, employees and fans have shared. DC continues to be extremely committed to creating a safe and secure working environment for our employees and everyone involved in the creation of our comic books," said the company.