Looks like sexual predators in the public eye have been getting their comeuppance lately. This time the culprit was Skyler Page, creator of the animated series Clarence on Cartoon Network. We don't often hear of big studios (television is a bit of a boy's club it seems) firing employees for committing sexual assault, but the Network surprised us by firing him after another employee, Emily Partridge, revealed that he had sexually assaulted her. Partridge is a storyboard revision artist for Adventure Time.
The allegations don’t stop with Partridge though; Page has been invasive and violent towards other women as well. Maré Odomo, an illustrator and friend of Partridge’s, tweeted about Page, which is how the allegations began. This prompted Partridge to go public with her story last Wednesday. Here is a post from her personal Tumblr blog in which she goes into more detail about her case.
Page was fired the day after Partridge came out with her story, according to a statement from Cartoon Network. No other comments were made by the studio.
I am very impressed by how the network is handling this. As an avid Cartoon Network fan myself, I was quite proud. I am also proud of the fact that Partridge is getting so much support. Page is also getting support, mainly because there is reason to believe that he has a mental illness. While I’m for the non-discrimination of anyone who is mentally ill, let’s make sure to separate the issues, because people with mental illnesses are not inherently violent. The assaults that Page committed were NOT due to his mental illness, and conflating the two won’t further the removal of stigmas that are attached to either of these things.
Clarence will continue airing, and avid activists against sexual assault should not boycott the show (and the staff that produces it and will continue to do so), but rather applaud the efforts of Cartoon Network and continue to support Partridge. While this is not the end, this is a very good step towards a more just environment for women everywhere.
Photos via Cartoon Network and Twitter.