Comic Book Legal Defense Fund aims to "fix what's broken" as Levitz & two other board members exit

(Image credit: Comic Book Legal Defense Fund)

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) has announced that three of its eleven-member Board of Directors have decided to exit their posts with the non-profit organization.

Paul Levitz, a 16-year veteran of the CBLDF board, is retiring from his post according to the organization. 

 Jeff Abraham and Katherine Keller have also resigned, after serving six and seven years, respectively.

"We respect the decisions that Paul, Katherine and Jeff have made to leave the Board," reads an unsigned statement from the board. "We realize it will be a long path to earning back the trust of our members, supporters and the industry. We recognize that it's been our inability to react, or act at all, that's been the cause of pain in our community."

These changes at CBLDF stem from renewed calls from the industry for internal changes within the organization after allegations of sexual assault by Brownstein against comics creator Taki Soma in 2005 received new attention on social media. On June 20, Former CBLDF deputy director Mike Scigliano accused Brownstein of workplace harassment when he worked there in 2010.

On June 22, CBLDF announced that they had accepted Brownstein's resignation.

"Even last week, when we took the necessary action in accepting Charles's resignation, our communications were stilted and clumsy," Monday's new statement continued. "To everyone who has come forward, we haven't done justice to your bravery and we are truly sorry. We vow to be better."

Brownstein had served as CBLDF's Executive Director since March 2002. Long-time publishing executive Bob Schreck was hired as deputy director in September 2019, however he is no longer in that position.

"We've begun the search for a new Executive Director. We're going to look both inside and outside the comic book industry to find the best person to run the Fund and fix what’s broken," the statement reads. " We are taking steps to expand our mission to make sure that we are best serving the industry's needs. We have a responsibility to our community, and that means listening and responding to your concerns.

"Most importantly, we want to keep talking. We want to keep listening. If you have a story to tell, whether it involves the CBLDF or not, we want to hear it," the statement concludes. "We've created the email where you can share your story or voice your concerns. We don’t expect our words to earn us anything. We hope our actions will."

Chris Arrant

Chris Arrant covered comic book news for Newsarama from 2003 to 2022 (and as editor/senior editor from 2015 to 2022) and has also written for USA Today, Life, Entertainment Weekly, Publisher's Weekly, Marvel Entertainment, TOKYOPOP, AdHouse Books, Cartoon Brew, Bleeding Cool, Comic Shop News, and CBR. He is the author of the book Modern: Masters Cliff Chiang, co-authored Art of Spider-Man Classic, and contributed to Dark Horse/Bedside Press' anthology Pros and (Comic) Cons. He has acted as a judge for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, the Harvey Awards, and the Stan Lee Awards. Chris is a member of the American Library Association's Graphic Novel & Comics Round Table. (He/him)