Private American vs. Daily Kos: Anatomy of a Kickstarter Takedown

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Private American vs. Daily Kos

Mike Baron's Private American has been fighting an uphill battle since the project first launched to be crowdfunded. From having the project'sTwitter account suspended to being silenced (along with other projects) on Indiegogo, the book's publisher, Chris Braly, finally brought the project to Kickstarter.

On that platform, he began to get messages from another creator on Kickstarter, 'Gavriel Discordia', who asked the loaded question, "Why is this book so racist?" When Braly countered that it wasn't, Discordia continued that "It's by far the most racist comic book since Flick by Frank Miller," following that Braly's published books by Baron, including Thin Blue LIne and Florida Man, would "sell well at a Klan rally."

It was less than a day later that a hastily scrawled article appeared at Markos Moulitsas reactionary website, Daily Kos. The headline initially ascribed Baron as the creator of Marvel's Punisher as it decried, "Punisher creator Mike Baron releases another Racist AF comic book" (sic). The byline was attributed to Starr Mignon.

 The article concluded with a call to action, listing the support email address for Kickstarter, and the wording of how each complaint should read. Several of the readers commented in the discussion section of the article that they had done just that, until finally Kickstarter reported the project as suspended. This prompted Mignon to amend the article to declare victory, but to also direct the agitated minions to reach out to the provided support addresses for both Indiegogo and Crowfundr, with the rallying cry, "You know what to do."

Mignon maintains a Twitter account, but it has been dormant for a period of years. However, the account did link to a website for Pink Nightmare Squad.

Note that the website lists as a "retail partner" the website for the Discordia Culture Shop, a site that not-so-coincidentally uses the same iconography as Gavriel Discordia's avatar on Kickstarter.

But Mignon and Discordia's association goes beyond being co-supporters of their websites. It happens that Discordia is also a Kickstarter user for campaigns, and is shown on Kickstarter to be a "trusted producer." But what's truly damning about the currently funding Kickstarter listing is that it's not only for a graphic novel, SCP-5000 WHY, but that it also lists Gavriel Discordia and Starr Mignon together as project co-creators.

To reiterate: a graphic novel writer took to another, highly frequented website to publish an article designed to take down another graphic novel writer's project on the same platform. Critical Blast has covered stories involving tortious interference in the past, and there wouldn't seem to be a more cut and dried example than what has taken place here. However, that will be for legal experts to decide -- and decide they will. Critical Blast interviewed Chris Braly and a panel of comic industry guests to learn what his plans are going forward to overcome the damage the Daily Kos article did to the project. (Video below)

Chris Braly is the publisher of Bleeding Fool, which has published their own account of these events.