DC Using Threats So They Can Fire People Easier?

They tried to fire Gail Simone, then had to rehire her when fans got mad. So now, the Cone of Silence.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

DC Comics

A few weeks ago, DC Comics fired Gail Simone from Batgirl via email with little explanation.

Simone mentioned it on Twitter, and given her status as a fan-favorite writer, a stink was raised, boycotts were threatened, that sort of thing by the rabid folks in the social media sphere. So, a few days later, DC Comics re-hired her for the same job she just got fired from.

That made things weird for DC, admittedly, because creators now have an actual avenue to deal with being fired. Thus, the Warner Bros. subsidiary can't ax them willy-nilly without risking the public shaming over it. So now, it appears that they've resorted to threats of super-double-secret probation to try to avoid that.

In the face of Marvel NOW dominating the New 52 in sales, DC honcho Dan DiDio apparently wants to shake up creative teams in a similar vein to drum up interest, and maybe Simone was part of that initiative. Bleeding Cool rumor has it that when DC fires someone now, they're being asked not to tweet about it. If they play ball, they will still be considered for future work at the company. If they don't comply, they become persona non grata. Apparently, they'll also be trying to suppress some previously-announced creative teams on their underperforming titles before they even have the chance to start.

If that's all true, it seems highly strange that a company can fire a guy and also prohibit him from talking about being fired just because of the off-chance they'll maybe re-hire him. How about not firing the guy in the first place? Going to social media as a reasonably public figure to announce one's availability for other opportunities seems like an avenue that shouldn't be denied anybody who's looking for work. It seems more than a little draconian, and it also comes off as dictatorial – a guy wanting his edicts to stand even if they're supremely unpopular (see also: Stephanie Brown/Cassandra Cain, yadda yadda).

It doesn't really need to be any easier for the giant media conglomerate to terminate their work-for-hire employees anyway. The internet is one of the equalizing forces in the often-inequitable balance between creative types and corporate types, and enforcing a social media muzzle by dangling potentially-imaginary carrots feels really contemptuous.

If it's all true, that is. What do you think?