Kickstarter Suspends Effort to Fund Schantz Comic About “Defying Transgenderism”

Author Hans G. Schantz, shortlisted for the Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance’s Book of the Year in 2018, and a guest at the first BasedCon in 2021, made Fox News when Kickstarter suspended his appeal to fund a comic project about the fictional prosecution of a high school teacher for “defying transgenderism”.

Schantz described his plans for The Wise of Heart, a satirical inversion of the Scopes Monkey Trial, in his newsletter:

…One evening in the early summer of 2022, I settled in to watch Inherit the Wind on YouTube. Not the 1960 film starring Spencer Tracy, but rather the 1988 television movie version starring Jason Robards and Kirk Douglas. I got a few minutes into watching it, and I had a sudden epiphany. This would make a great story set in the present day, featuring a high school biology teacher caught up in the transgender craze arrested for teaching the facts of biological science in defiance of a state law requiring unquestioning gender affirmation. I turned off the movie, and instead, I hunted down the transcript for the Scopes Monkey Trial….

He ran segments of the illustrated story through his newsletter, which Vox Day also published on his Arkhaven comics website (Internet Archive link).

Then in May 2023 Schantz launched a Kickstarter to fund publication of a book containing all the installments. The initial $3,000 goal was fully funded and Schantz was closing in on a stretch goal of $6,000 to pay for an audiobook version when on May 24 Kickstarter suspended the project and refunded all the pledges. A notice from the Kickstarter Trust & Safety (see screencap below) gave these reasons for the action:

A thorough review of your project uncovered one or more of the following violations: Inappropriate content, including but not limited to explicit or pornographic material [or] Hateful or offensive content that fails to meet Kickstarter’s spirit of inclusivity by promoting discrimination, bigotry or intolerance towards marginalized groups.

Fox News picked up the story on May 25: “Kickstarter abruptly suspends comic project for ‘defying transgenderism’”. Although their coverage is little more than a rehash of Schantz’ newsletter articles they did devote 500 words to it, and he says the major media attention has given a financial push to his replacement campaign at a different crowdfunding site.

We’ve all heard of the “Streisand Effect.” That’s where an attempt to suppress information online backfires spectacularly and only serves to increase awareness of the information. That “psychological reactance” occurs because once people are aware that information is being kept from them, they are more highly motivated to seek it….

At FundMyComic he has already raised more than $8,000 with a week to go.