Eleise Ashley and Kiara Anderson, Senior Reporter and Reporter.
White supremacy is moving into comics with the help of Vox Day, a writer and lead editor at Castalia House Publishing, whose personal beliefs have led to criticism from reporters and fellow writers. The Wall Street Journal called him the most despised man in science fiction. Day is the self-proclaimed Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil and others have gone as far as calling him the devil himself.
His platform reaches thousands through his Youtube channel, Darkstream, published writings and his blog. The sheer number of supporters Day has warrants the question of the line between free speech and hate speech.
Day is the creator of Alt-Hero, a comic series that tells the story of a superhuman team whose goal is to establish global justice. While the story writing is generic and the artwork is mediocre at best, there is a large amount of offensive material that has gone surprisingly unmentioned by fans.
An example can be seen in Day’s comic book character Rebel, a female hero whose superhero costume features a Confederate flag pattern.
According to the transcripts on Reveal, an investigative journalism website, Day said this was intentional.
“As you can see, we’re not afraid to fly the Confederate flag despite the fact that the left has come out so hard against it,” Day said.
When Rebel is portrayed as a hero trying to serve global justice, it makes one wonder what kind of justice Day believes she serves when she is wearing a suit with designs that yield negative connotations of racism, slavery, segregation and white supremacy. The underlying message behind this character and her actions promote offensive beliefs.
The comic also portrays illegal immigrants as villains who must be tracked down and turned in to proper authorities. Illegal immigration isn’t the only thing Day has strong opinions of however.
Day has also spoken widely about his beliefs on women. In an interview posted on author John Brown’s blog, Day was open about his belief that women shouldn’t vote. Day believes women are more likely to vote for someone they want to have sex with.
His low opinion of women is continued by going on to say that when women get higher education, society stops procreating, which inevitably does harm and doesn’t provide demographic benefits. According to Day, this is common sense. This idea is the reason why Day believes women should not be afforded the same equal educational opportunities as men.
Despite this, fans of Day have praised the comics, which are currently available on Amazon. Some reviews call the comics “original” and “a breath of fresh air.”
In a podcast transcript by Reveal, a journalist stated she reached out to Amazon regarding these comics and asked why the materials were still available for purchase. Amazon’s PR staff responded by saying that it followed Amazon’s guidelines.
“What we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect,” Amazon guidelines read; an ironic response given the subject matter found within the comics.
If Amazon’s guidelines on offensive material are based on what the public will deem offensive, one wonders what public Amazon uses to create their policy guidelines. This comic book series is offensive to a large number of people, yet Amazon does not see that as enough.
Author John Brown suggests that Day’s opinions are purposely presented in a way that Day knows is offensive, as if he does it simply to get a rise out of the public. Brown portrays this as though that idea makes Day’s work acceptable and the public should disregard their grievances.
While it may be the case that Day writes as he does to get a reaction, it truly doesn’t matter. It doesn’t take away the fact that Day’s comments spew hatred on women, illegal immigrants, minorities and others who do not have the same privilege he has as a white man.
His beliefs about women are absurd and the racial hatred displayed through his character’s design is disgusting to say the least.
He has taken his freedom of speech and twisted it into something completely different – hate speech.
Sociology professor Daniel Suh made a key point on this issue: free speech and hate speech are not mutually exclusive.
While Suh said he was not completely versed in the topic, he explained that it is not always free speech or hate speech but rather relies on context and intention. Sometimes someone can be expressing their free speech in an offensive way.
Typically hate speech is viewed in the same context as offensive; however, they are not actually one and the same. Someone can be saying something that is offensive but it is not hate speech.
If someone said they think orange juice is gross, they may offend someone who particularly likes orange juice, but this is not hate speech.
Hate speech is something said that targets an individual or group of people.
Day violates this definition time and again through his slander of immigrants, people of color, women and the LGBTQ community.
If Vox Day was anything other than a white male, he would have been brought to light a long time ago. His comics wouldn’t have been as positively accepted. His work would have faced serious criticism and his beliefs labeled hostile or aggressive. Yet Day’s skin color has afforded him a fan base that defends him and his beliefs.
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