For the latest since we originally published this website in June 2020, see Updates.
We are a group of over sixty women and non-binary individuals whose utmost concern is the safety and protection of others like us. Our aim is to dismantle the systems that allow people in power to abuse that power for the purpose of serial predatory corralling, emotional manipulation, and grooming. With this goal in mind, we are sharing our stories about a man who abused his power. This statement was written with the involvement of all who have signed it.
Warren Ellis, a New York Times best-selling author, comics writer, public speaker, screenwriter, and producer, has devised and continues to follow a pattern of emotionally abusive behavior documented across more than two decades.
From our accounts, and the others who have come forward, there is clear evidence of Warren Ellis using his celebrity status and vast public platform as catalyst and shield to manipulate and groom targets under false pretenses, and to coerce private pornography and sexual exchanges. Over twenty years, femme-presenting people, often between the ages of 19 to 26, were impacted by this pathological behavior. We were all under an elaborate illusion, believing we had a friend, a mentor, a partner in this man.
To date, nearly 100 people have privately come forward with experiences regarding Warren Ellis. Given how deeply personal many of these experiences have been, only a fraction of those who have contacted us have chosen to share their testimonials on this site. We've assembled these stories in a form that keeps his targets safe from further abuse, yet clearly shows both how widely our experiences vary and also where the patterns lie.
The scope of our interactions with Warren Ellis varies extensively in degree and duration. With some of us, it was a brief period of private messaging conducted solely online; with others, he cultivated a relationship lasting many years, involving multiple episodes of intimate physical contact. Though people are still coming forward, what’s already been disclosed covers a wide range of experiences, some seemingly harmless, some devastating. Taken in aggregate, they show a clear pattern of abuse.
We were consciously manipulated with positive and negative reinforcement, gaslighting, and other techniques of control which leave lasting psychological damage. Warren Ellis’ chronic duplicity and manipulation (particularly of young and vulnerable individuals) often rendered informed consent impossible.
Under the guise of mentorship and camaraderie, Warren Ellis insinuates himself into his targets’ daily lives, building trust and forming patterns of attachment. Once the target thinks of him as their best friend or trusted confidant, he escalates the relationship into sexual territory, usually conducted online and through intense periods of communication, but sometimes in person. When his needs are no longer being met, or he seems to be losing control in the relationship, he abruptly cuts off contact, leaving his targets with enduring emotional trauma. Many suffer a loss of self-esteem, trust in their own instincts, and in some cases, their support networks.
This approach was refined and escalated by Warren Ellis for years, focusing on control, and with sexual interactions becoming darker and more intense. Many of us continue to suffer from depression, complex PTSD, and involuntary conditioned responses to this day. His simultaneous use of the same technique on numerous people without them being aware of each other presents a crucial difference from healthy relationships.
As can be seen from the personal stories we’ve shared, Warren Ellis generally follows the pattern of manipulation outlined below. This is not a complete list, nor has he been successful using these techniques in every case.
Between Warren Ellis’ public standing as a visiting Professor to York St John University, Doctor of the University of Essex, Patron to Humanists UK and guest tutor to the Shadow Channel masters programme at the Sandberg Institute, his deception, manipulation, and the script above, our relationships with him were drastically imbalanced. Such imbalance precludes the possibility of informed consent.
The above follows a textbook pattern of adult grooming: the groomer builds up a trust or friendship with an individual while emphasizing the need for secrecy or discretion, often using favors or promises to make the individual feel indebted. Eventually, the groomer achieves the goal of their grooming, i.e. making their target receptive to their advances. To an outside observer, this pattern can seem very close to a bona fide relationship, since, by design, only the groomer is aware of the scope and direction of their scheme.
Grooming also relies on subtle techniques that leverage “compulsion loops”, which are well-established in scientific literature and video gaming, and are commonly utilized by modern businesses to achieve addiction, AKA “user retention”. Examples include daily quests in games, getting a higher reward (more “XP”, etc.) for the first game of a day, more “karma” for the first post of a day on a message board, etc. The main driver is a regular daily dopamine boost sustained over time, not unlike the brain’s response to the phrase, “I’m always here for you, sweetheart” – as so many of us read in Warren’s texts and emails every night, simultaneously, unaware of each other.
Even as we compiled our stories, Warren Ellis contacted a few of us with sterile, performatively apologetic missives, which acknowledged little of the realities of his conduct. These texts and emails did not express self-reflection, acknowledgement of the harm his actions cause, nor desire to change his behavior. He also posted this public statement on June 19, 2020. Following that statement's publication, he continued to send sexual messages and overtures to people as recently as July 2020.
We are telling our stories so that three things happen:
A final thing that some of us are open to is the possibility of a mediated transformative justice action with Warren Ellis. There is still a chance for him to be of help on a larger scale. If Warren wants to get in touch with us to start this process, we are interested in cultivating healing, accountability, resilience, and safety for all involved. Specifically, we would like to see Warren:
To be clear, our aim is not to see Warren Ellis punished, we are here to look forward. We believe it is important to amplify awareness of a pattern to change the culture of complicity. Emotional abuse, despite not being criminalized in many places, should be recognized as a real and lasting violation. We tell these stories so that anyone can recognize the dangerous nature of this type of behavior and protect themselves and others.
We also ask those reading this to understand that writers can’t work alone, and many of the artists, colorists, flatters, letterers, editors, and other collaborators who have worked with Warren over the years still deserve recognition and support for the work they published with him.
To Warren’s supporters, we’d like to say that we felt the shock, betrayal, confusion, and anger these revelations may be bringing up in you now. We hope that, like us, you will be able to channel this new awareness into fuel for positive change in your communities, and within yourselves.