Former Daredevil showrunner and current Marvel Comics writer Steven S. DeKnight has revealed he won’t continue to write for the publisher until current editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski steps down over his controversial past. In a series of tweets, DeKnight explained that he couldn’t stand by and work under a man who “climbed to the top through cultural identity theft,” referring to Cebulski’s controversial past, as he previously used the pseudonym Akira Yoshida, despite being a white man.
After rumors that he previously used the pen name Akira Yoshida, Cebulski admitted he used the pseudonym after being promoted to editor-in-chief at Marvel Comics. There had long been rumors that Cebulski was using the name to write stories while still an editor at Marvel Comics. Cebulski confirmed that was the case in 2017 after a Bleeding Cool report exposed the entire situation. The ensuing conversation that followed the revelation understandably focused on the problem with a white man pretending to be Asian, with equal concern over how Cebulski walked away relatively unscathed, being given a slap on a wrist for a quite pathetic cover-up attempt. The criticism lobbed his way from the Asian community (and beyond) was fair, and despite calls to fire him, Cebulski managed to convince Marvel his past problematic actions were a mistake.
Steven S. DeKnight voiced his concern about Cebulski’s past and position at Marvel Comics once alerted of his previous controversy. The former Daredevil showrunner and writer of two titles in the upcoming Wastelanders series questioned how Cebulski could still have a job while calling his actions “completely unacceptable.” DeKnight noted that he loves working with Marvel Comics, but finding out about Cebulski’s past changed the equation “drastically,” adding, “There are so many great editors there. To allow a man who climbed to the top through cultural identity theft to remain in that position is unconscionable.”
DeKnight said that despite working for Marvel being a “childhood dream come true,” he couldn’t in good conscious continue without the issue being resolved. He called on other creators to join him.
It’s great to see DeKnight use his platform to push back against Cebulski. Despite Bleeding Cool’s report the editor-in-chief of Marvel was reprimanded for his past and previous pen name, in almost any other situation after revealing the truth, he would have been canned. Cebulski didn’t just use a pen name, he actively pretended to be an Asian man to get ahead and continued to deceive Marvel, his editors, and co-workers to do so. Sure, he’s helped raise the platform of Asian creators and characters since he took on the role, but that doesn’t cancel out his past while pretending to be Akira Yoshida. It will be fascinating to see if DeKnight’s actions and words will encourage Marvel Comics to do anything. But, considering how they’ve handled the situation so far, it’s doubtful any further discipline is coming to Cebulski, as Marvel probably considers it a closed issue.