Hope Nicholson, founder of comic book publisher Bedside Press, has shut down the publishing company following an admission that she was the perpetrator of an act of alleged sexual assault against comic creator Tres Dean.
Last year, on December 12th, 2018, The Huffington Post published a personal editorial by Dean, whose comic book work includes Joey Ryan: Big in Japan and Dead Beats, titled“I’m A Man And It Took Me Years To Recognize I Had Been Sexually Assaulted” in which Dean detailed his own sexual assault by a female member of the comic book industry:
“I was 23 years old, still in college (not-so-fun fact: male college students ages 18 to 24 are five times more likely to be sexually assaulted than members of the same demographic who aren’t in college) and attending a massive event for the industry in which I was just starting to find my footing. At a large party the first night of the event, I was introduced to someone with whom I was familiar through social media. It was immediately evident she wasn’t sober.
After what I’d generously estimate to be 90 seconds of small talk, she leaned forward and stuck her tongue down my throat. I pulled back. She proceeded to do it again twice more. I made a clumsy exit from the interaction, but periodically throughout the night she’d find me again and make further drunken passes at me, both physical and verbal. For further context, she was several years older than me and had rising stock in our industry. I was still very much at the bottom of the proverbial totem pole.”
Though Dean does not specifically name his abuser, Nicholson came forward nearly a year later and took responsibility for Dean’s assault, stating that she “no longer [wanted] to run from it” in a series of now deleted tweets.
“Something that contributed to my depression this year and I no longer want to run from it.
I was named by someone as an assaulter. While I don’t think that’s the case, I feel awful that I hurt anyone, and that anyone felt socially obligated to kiss me. It feels awful.”
She would add in a subsequent tweet:
“This is the article. Don’t message or hurt this guy. He is allowed to express his own story. His story is not mine, but it is largely accurate. I was rude. An idiot. A messy drunkard. A pest. I hope I’m not anymore. But it doesn’t excuse my actions then.”
After this admission, Nicholson took to the official Bedside Press Twitter account to announce that she would be “leaving the publishing industry” and shuttering the company.
The tweet read:
“An update. I will be closing Bedside Press, and be leaving the publishing industry. Thank you for your years of readership.”
In the now deleted tweet, Nicholson included an image noting that “books currently in distribution or printed will remain in distribution for the near future.”
She also stated she will be looking for new publishers to take over reprints and material currently being worked on and that she was making this decision due to being unable to “handle everyone’s anger.”
As a result of recent events, I have decided the best move for my authors is to close Bedside Press.
Books currently in distribution or printed will remain in distribution for the near future and I will try my best to find publishers to take on future reprints of these titles.
Books in production and not finished will be assigned to new publishers before print.
I’m sorry. I loved publishing and comics. But I’m not strong enough for this industry. Both in the past, when I made mistakes, and in the present when I can’t handle everyone’s anger. Please do not let any of this effect my authors. They are very talented and work hard.
Thank you for your past support and may you all go on to great things.”
The full text of the letter can be seen at around the 14:50 mark in Clownfish TV’s coverage.