'Invader ZIM' director Steve Ressel accused of grooming teenage girl and sending her inappropriate texts, art
Video essayist and podcaster Shannon Strucci claims that Steve Ressel sent her inappropriate messages and made fanart of her, all while she was 16 and he was in his late 30s
Steve Ressel, an animator, storyboard artist, and director, who has worked on such projects as 'Invader Zim,' 'Duckman,' and 'The Wild Thornberrys' has been called out online for his grooming of an underage girl. His accuser, Shannon Strucci, shared screenshots of inappropriate messages and art he had shared with her when she was 16, and when he was around 38. Shannon Strucci, a video essayist and podcaster, came forth with her story after another woman online shared her own story about having been groomed at an early age by an older creator. Strucci shared inappropriate messages she received from Ressel, as well as revealing pieces of art he had made of her, taken from the DeviantArt page that was dedicated to her alone.
The two met on a 'One Piece' forum when Strucci was in her mid-teens, and Ressel was in his late 30s. Strucci would help proofread his comics, and he helped her with her art. Strucci's claims include that he taunted her about how the age of consent in her state was 16, made a page exclusively dedicated to images he drew of her (despite never having met or having seen her face), and sent her crude animations of himself with a boner. Strucci says that Ressel was obsessed with her Southern heritage, claiming that he often expressed bigoted opinions and drew her in Confederate uniforms. She also points out Ressel's contribution to the infamous 'Rugrats' storyboard jam, which included pornographic and incestuous depictions of the series' characters.
Strucci claims that her intent isn't to "cancel" Ressel, as he currently has no major platform from which he can be taken down. Strucci wanted to share her story, however, and call out the creator for his behavior. In the past few weeks, there has been a wave of creators being called out for their inappropriate behavior in comics, video games, and the tabletop roleplaying game industry. Creators are not only being called out for harassment and abuse but for the practice of grooming young girls, taking advantage of their youth as well as their desire to break into their chosen industries. "If you are a fan of someone and they are treating you this way, my advice is to document all of it and to remember you are not bad or dumb or gullible if you end up in this position. Abusers know how to manipulate people and how to work age, fan dynamics, etc to their advantage," writes Strucci.