ComicWow! (CW): Can you please tell us about the incident that occurred at the LGBT X-Men panel at NYCC?
Peter David (PD): Rather than belabor it, I will try to be as succinct as possible: I had been fed misinformation about the Romani in Bucharest many years ago that came rolling out of my mouth and got dumped on the poor questioner. There is no excuse for it, especially since I have discovered that what I had accepted for so long was nothing but lies. I am nothing but ashamed of my behavior, and I’m also horrified that Marvel is being tarred with the same brush for my stupidity. In the world of Marvel comics, we aggressively pursue diversity, and we have no biases against any group. You’re talking to the guy who wrote X-Factor #87, the issue that singlehandedly turned around negative fan opinion about Quicksilver, who happens to be Romani. When XF #87 came out, I was deluged with letters from people saying, “I’ve hated Quicksilver for decades until I read this, and now I love him.” The things I said in no way reflect Marvel’s attitudes or editorial policies, nor the work that I’ve done with various social groups including Romani, and were solely me going off on one guy for no reason. My actions were something that I have not only regretted, but that [Marvel Editor In Chief] Axel [Alonso] took very seriously as well. We had a very long discussion about it in which he condemned my outburst and made it clear that Marvel would not remotely tolerate such negative attitudes about any group. That discussion occurred shortly after my outburst but, I want to emphasize, after I had already realized how badly I had screwed up and endeavored to apologize for it.
CW: Can you give us some clarity on your recent public apology?
PD: As I said on my website, I realized how badly I had misjudged the Romani and apologized to the Romani in general and the questioner in particular. What’s sad is that no matter what I said, some people dismissed it as insincere or a non-apology. To me, a non-apology is, “I’m sorry you were offended,” because that shifts the blame onto the listener rather than the speaker. I said the opposite: I screwed up. I was wrong. Anyone who was offended was fully justified in being offended and I’m sorry for the things that I said and which I no longer believe. These are not things I’m saying to simply quiet discussion; these are things I genuinely feel.
CW: If you could talk to the questioner that brought up the Romani culture at the panel, what would you say to him, if anything?
PD: Well, I did talk to him, actually. Extensively. I had my outburst on Thursday, spoke to him for a long time on Thursday and again on Friday. I emphasized to him that my views had not impacted on anything that I had ever written, and that I had always treated Romani characters with respect. It was also the beginning of my starting to realize that my outburst had been wrong in the first place, and spoke with him about expanding on the treatment of Romani characters and the history of the people. To me it’s a bit sad that he hasn’t mentioned any of those two days of discussions to anyone, but I understand. I wronged him. Sometimes when you wrong someone, it’s impossible to try and make it right.
CW: Thank you so much for your time. To close things out, do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to tell your fans about?
PD: Honestly? I’d rather not. I want to focus purely on my stupidity and my apologies rather than try to turn this into an opportunity to promote projects. Sorry.