Monday, May 28, 2012

PSA on Rick Onley by Richard Caldwell

(Public Service Announcement)
Over the last decade, Rick Olney has made a name for himself. He has attempted such ventures as writing and publishing, original art dealing, event planning, and most notably convention show organizing and promoting. The problem though, is that every one of his efforts has ended with broken promises, highly suspect financial transactions, outrageous claims and threats of litigation. He has painted himself into a corner of infamy with notoriously commissioning unpaid art and using and abusing the trust of others, burning artists, galleries, journalists, fans, distributors and publishers alike with his cacophony of lies and deceit. And he has developed a pattern, a method to his madness. When the heat builds too intense and questions again start to arise, he pulls a disappearing act (usually leaving a long trail of bills unpaid in his wake), only to reprise later, elsewhere, with a new game plan for striking it rich off the comics market.
It is well-documented that whenever one of his victims steps forward, Olney immediately responds with thuggish threats, even in the face of court orders. Owing tens of thousands of dollars is no skin off his bone, evidently. Even more aggravating is his continued insistence that he is in fact innocent of all charges, and the subject of some maniacal internet smear campaign conducted by a handful of misinformed individuals. Everyone following this slow-motion trainwreck is still waiting eagerly to hear any plausible, rational, ethical, moral, or legal defense in his favor. Or even an excuse by any person other than his wife for his actions, past or present.
My problem, is that he's doing it again, and I for one am sick of allowing the cancer to spread thusly. I actually do love the comic book medium, and fear knowingly that it has too much of an inferiority complex as well as continuing identity issues to allow a known charlatan like Olney to bring about its end any quicker. Olney is not the victim of bad PR, he generates bad PR, for the entire industry, and is no more the victim of gross misunderstandings than was Charles Ponzi. I am fully aware that this is not the first such effort, and for such a cause in particular, but I'm just hoping to catch everyone else up to speed, more than anything.
Let's examine this comment made recently by Olney himself regarding mass objections to his conniving his way onto a seemingly ill-researched podcast program:
"Hmmm… interesting. Looking forward to the next episode where perhaps I’ll be able to talk about a few of these misconceptions and lies that seem to have gained a foothold about me. More importantly though that its pointed out that education and comic books don’t always go hand-in-hand. Sometimes people with an opinion, negative or positive, use the Internet to express themselves. I’ve never lied or misrepresented myself. Never."

Now while the podcast in question proved to be an attempt at entrapment, the persons running the program were clearly, equally if not moreso interested in accumulating higher ratings. Nonetheless, for Olney to presume that his many doubters are uneducated is folly enough. For anyone to insist upon never lying is just absurd. The statement between those two statements is what I wish to challenge.
The first real public outcry against his lies was made through the unscrewed website, which was begat specifically in response to his actions and with the intentions of warning the creative community about Rick Olney and any others of his ilk that should happen to pop up. Famed artist and storyteller Colleen Doran, who has no enemies on Earth, has well served as a spokesperson for creator rights, and with Olney himself serving no small roll as catalyst in this.
Journalist Rich Johnston has famously focused on cornering Olney at every step. Though Johnston is often disregarded as a gossip proliferater, if his stories were so groundless then he likely would've lost a great many libel and slander lawsuits over the years, which obviously has never been the case. In addition to Johnston's Bleeding Cool, the two largest comic book news sites, comic book resources and newsarama, both seem to take as given that Olney is criminal in his acts. These involve multiple editors with sizable staffs, all apparently part of the same conspiracy of the unintelligent hellbent on accusing Olney of anything under the sun. The same goes for Heidi MacDonald and the Beat. Other big league journalists and commentators who Olney has personally rubbed the wrong way are the great Tony Isabella (one of the nicest guys in the world) and Alan David Doane. And while this is a good account of the facts of Olney's troubles up to several years ago, cautionary tales have continued on a range of excellent and well researched blogs such as iblogalot, and kesslerkomics, and tasteslikechicken. Forums have tackled the issue as well, debating and sharing details and spreading the word, from the 606, to absolutewrite, to comiccollecting, to comicscommunity. Even cbr, again. Warnings continue to appear via devantART such as here and here as well. And while unscrewed has unfortunately been plagued by spammers and lack of proper attention from its founders, others have stepped in to help fill that void. On blogspot, on tumblr, on twitter, and on typepad. He even earns special mention on the new official guide to deadbeats in comics blog. But surely these dozens upon dozens of persons (who are at least smart enough to read and write and type and put together a website or blogger) are a small fraction of the online public perspective. What does the rest of the internet really think of the self-promoting hack? It's not looking too good, states the jury.
I myself even spoofed the man here at New Comics Day. But in the interest of full disclosure, by all means feel free to read Olney's own blogs for yourself. Sequentialsoul is his place for trash-talking those who have been hurt or robbed by him. Nobody is allowed to comment there, of course. But in the top left you can report the blogs to google for abuse. But everybody needs to turn their shoulder to him, indefinitely. Cut him off and cut him out. If he turns up on forums, on facebook or twitter or myspace or whatever, block his account. If someone gets blocked enough the admins will remove them altogether. Additionally, I'd ask other media outlets to pull back on any more stories about Olney, as the attention whore only seems to see bad publicity as still being publicity. And, should he ever have the balls to actually show his face at a convention anywhere, he has to go to the bathroom sometime...
Rick Olney, you are a villain, and we are all watching you. Enough is enough is enough. When pacifists are crusading against you, then something is incredibly rotten in Denmark. Go back to McDonalds and leave everybody alone.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.