On Saturday, August 30, Jennifer Williams took to Twitter and tweeted the following bit of wisdom:
Then, a few days later on Tuesday, Septemeber 2, she posted the following:
The owner of Harrison’s Comics is a man named Larry Harrison. Even though Williams spoke to him on Sunday about her concerns, he didn’t know that she was fired until afterwards:
Who then fired Williams from Harrison’s Comics? That would be Julian, the very person she claims made the comment about the rape room, the same person Willimas complained to Larry Harrison about:
Let’s see if I have this straight. A woman hears a manager make an inappropriate comment and goes to the manager’s supervisor, the store’s owner, about what she heard. The manager then takes it upon himself to fire the woman without even informing the owner. How is that appropriate?
On September 5, Larry Harrison, owner of Harrison Comics, after days of negative publicity on social media, decided to pick up a shovel and dig himself even deeper. He wrote a long response on the comic shop’s official Facebook page. It included the following:
Ms Williams was hired on a 30-day trial basis, as were five other employees she was being trained with. Training includes a tour of the store, including a room we call the “statue room.”
If you’ve been in our Salem store, you know we have many statues displayed in locked cases throughout the store. They are displayed behind glass because statues are fragile, valuable collectibles that can easily break if improperly handled.
The boxes these statues come in are specifically designed to protect them, so the boxes are stored in the “statue room,” a practice that’s been in place for at least ten years. When a buyer purchases a statue, an employee goes to the statue room, finds that statue’s box, and repacks it for safe travel to its new home.
While the group of trainee employees were being shown the room it was referred to only as the “statue room” or the “stat room” for short. This prompted one of the new trainees (not Ms. Williams) to question “Stat, like stat rape?” The group trainer frowned at the employee who mentioned rape and sternly said “We do NOT have a rape room.” This was the last first and last time “a rape room” was ever mentioned in Harrison’s until Ms. Williams’ took to social media and we were put in the position of having to defend ourselves.
The most ridiculous thing from this Facebook explanation is how Larry Harrison somehow knew that his group trainer, Julian, frowned at the employee who mentioned the word “rape” during the tour. How would he know Julian’s facial expression? He wasn’t there. And why wasn’t this other trainee, a person who evidently thought the storage room was for perpetrating statutory rape, fired? Is this the kind of person that they want to deal with the public at Harrison Comics?
My guess is that this other employee wasn’t fired because this other employee doesn’t exist. I think Julian made the comment about a rape room, just like Jennifer Williams says he did. It’s important to note that Willams claimed the word “rape” was used during the store tour. Larry Harrison isn’t disputing that. He is only disputing the claim that the comment was made by Julian, the frowning group trainer and manager.
It’s awful that Jennifer Williams was fired, but I think in the long run, it’s for the best that she’s not working at Harrison’s Comics. Either Williams is right and the manager makes jokes about rape or the store’s owner is right and the manager allows an employee to joke about rape without firing them. Either or, it doesn’t sound like a great place to visit, let alone work.
Comic book shops like Harrison Comics make me thankful for Amazon.