Before I lay out the series of events that lead up to this, let me emphasize something very clearly. Jon Schnepp’s partner, Holly Payne, has been through an unimaginable nightmare with the passing of Jon and then unfairly compounded by hospital bills that could ruin anyone. The way she has handled this situation is by far better than most of us would. That can’t be overstated.
Last month Holly and I had a really good sit down conversation in the Hospital where Jon was. She had literally just gotten the final word from the Doctor that there was no coming back for Jon from his condition. Her stature was titan like in the face of that news. I was frankly humbled seeing how she was coping.
Later, after comic-con, I did my tribute video to Schnepp and Holly touched base with me with a very kind text message expressing she thought my video was beautiful. I continued to encourage everyone to donate to the GoFundMe to help Holly manage the ridiculous medical bills that were coming and from my perspective everything was fine.
Fast forward a few weeks. My brother-in-law Ray (who really loved Schnepp), who for years did all the graphics for HEROES, made a shirt to honor Jon Schnepp. It was never for sale. It was never for money. It was never made available to anyone except us. It was never meant for anyone else to own. I took a picture of the shirt Ray made and posted it on my social media over a week ago because I was so moved by it. This is it:
Now we fast forward to yesterday. Holly, well after a week since the image had been posted, left the following comments on the picture completely taking me off guard when she wrote the following:
I was completely blindsided by this. First of all because we were not selling the shirts nor making them available to anyone. On Top of that, my previous communications with Holly had all been very positive. I was at a Star Wars concert at the time and I stepped out to write to Holly immediately and I wrote her the following:
Shortly after that I received a reply from Holly now saying she wasn’t upset about selling the shirts (which we weren’t doing) but rather that we had made them at all in the first place (which isn’t what she said in the facebook comments). She wrote the following:
After getting this and seeing the inconsistency in the messages I started to suspect there was something more going on that I wasn’t aware of. I followed up with her with the following message:
So that was the last message between Holly and myself. I went through the rest of the concert and heard nothing back. I believed that whatever Holly was feeling or going through and whatever it had to do with me, she would talk to me about it whenever she was good and ready to do so. She obviously has enough to deal with and worry about at the moment.
It wasn’t until hours later as I was settling into bed… I was completely blindsided by a very public attack on myself and Robert Meyer Burnett Holly tweeted out. It had nothing to do with selling shirts… it had nothing to do with the fact we even possessed the shirts. It was about something completely different. Holly wrote the following on twitter:
I simply could not breathe. I’ve used the word “blindsided” a couple of times already, and at the risk of beating the word to death… I was blindsided. In the following hour Holly unleashed a series of tweets directly targeting both Robert and myself. Both barrels, full blast.
I’ve known that Holly had (for reasons that I still do not know or understand) some grudge against Robert… but I honestly didn’t think it was that bad when she spoke to me about it weeks ago. Many people have publicly asked why Robert Meyer Burnett, the man who did more episodes of HEROES with Jon than anyone else (including me) was not on either the Collider Jon Schnepp memorial show nor on the HEROES memorial show. When Robert asked why he was not invited to participate in those shows, he was simply told “Holly doesn’t want you on it”.
Robert (here comes that word again) was totally blindsided by that. He thought he and Holly were on good terms. Understandably, Robert was angry. He wanted to speak up about the issue and I cautioned him against it. I told him: “Rob, Holly is in a place right now that none of us can even imagine. The pain and grief she’s going through is something we can’t understand. Give it time. Give her time. None of us act ourselves when we’re in that much pain”. There was nothing to be gained for Robert to honestly air out why he wasn’t on those shows and for the most part kept it to himself even though he was constantly being bombarded with questions about it. But, nothing good would have come of it were he to lash out. And so out of respect to Holly and Jon he didn’t.
After reading the tweets Holly had sent out, I recognized that what she was now lashing out about wasn’t the t-shirt, but the fact that I relaunched my comic-book movie/tv show “The Weekly Hero” with Robert (something I had always planned on doing once I found an appropriate co-host). I reached out to her again with the following:
We continued to exchange messages that mostly became repetitive. She was insisting I cancel my show and repeatedly made negative comments about me as a person (I assume to either try to be hurtful or to draw me into a fight.. because sometimes when we’re hurting all we really want is a good fight). I would ask her to help me understand why my show needed to be canceled when many other similar shows are up. We weren’t getting anywhere. I asked her several times for us to have an actual sit down conversation, I told her I would put anything on the table if we could talk. She ignored those requests and just continued to insist that it was wrong for me to have a comic-book movie news show and that I must cancel it. She went on to make several comments about me as a person and I wrote the following:
In the time it has taken me to write this, Holly has continued her assault and fired more shots on twitter. I’m not going to fight back. I’m not going to say one negative word about Holly. She is a titan who is dealing with the unimaginable. Even now I don’t think I’ve gotten to the real issue. It wasn’t selling shirts. It wasn’t making a shirt. And even now I don’t think it’s that I restarted a show I was already doing a year ago. I may be right, I may be wrong. I may never know.
I write this exclusively to give some context. If this is indeed about me having a show on my youtube channel that talks about superhero movies and tv shows, then all I can really say is that YouTube is FILLED with people and groups who do videos about superhero movies and TV shows. I’m unclear why I, the person who actually created AMC HEROES in the first place and had to convince Jon Schnepp that he was capable of hosting the show (and in doing so he became the greatest superhero and comics talk host in history… best there is, best there was, best there ever will be), should not be allowed to continue to do shows and videos about superhero movies just because I left the corporation we worked at together. To me, that is unfair and unreasonable.
But even then, had Holly said ONE WORD to me about any discomfort she had about me relaunching my show… I would at the very least have delayed the relaunch. I don’t know, it’s hard to say because she never gave me that chance, and left me believing we were on very good terms. Until I was blindsided.
Again, I don’t know where all this came from and I’m not sure I’ll ever know. Here is what I do know:
- Jon Schnepp was the best there will ever be at talking about comics and comic movies/tv shows. There will never be his equal and the most that I and anyone else can aspire to is to be second best to his standard.
- Holly is a champ. If most of us had to deal with what she has gone through these last weeks we’d have all given up by now, laying in the dirt just staring at the sun. Holly has stayed on her feet and has given us an example of what strength and grace look like under the worse pressure. No one should EVER judge someone dealing with what she has dealt with in terms of how they choose to deal with it.
To be honest, I didn’t even want to say this much, but I was unwillingly put into a position that I simply had to say something, to at least give a little context to the very public character assassination that is going on against both myself and Robert Meyer Burnett on twitter at the moment by Holly. All for the sake… of people doing an internet show talking about superhero movies and tv shows that we all love. This situation SUCKS for everyone involved, most of all for Holly obviously. Nothing good ever comes out of stuff like this and absolutely no one “wins”. We all lose. The very fact that we’re here at this point is a testament that we’ve all already lost.
To be upfront and clear, this is the last word I’m saying on this. I won’t respond to questions about it, I won’t engage in pointless “he said/she said” skirmishes, I won’t discredited Holly and I won’t justify myself. I just want to do my thing as I’ve always done: Talk about the things I love in a community that loves the same things. And I just want everyone else to be able to do the same.