MomoCon Responds to Harassment Allegations… Sort of

On Sunday we reported on how Cosplayer Luna Lanie was harassed by MomoCon staff after complaining about… well… really gross sexual harassment by other attendees on social media. Also in that article, we posted an account of another cosplayer who was inappropriately touched by MomoCon security personnel as well.

So yeah, it’s a pretty bad situation.

Well, MomoCon has now issued an official response. Nerd Reactor is reporting that MomoCon has put out the following official statement:

My co-chair and I pride ourselves on developing a family-friendly convention that welcomes a diverse group of people with inclusive content such as feminism in geek culture panels and, like any other convention, we have rules on cosplay attire. To ensure the security of our attendees we had more than 900 volunteers, building security and law enforcement on site at all times.

As soon as we saw a tweet from a local cosplayer saying she was harassed, MomoCon co-chair Chris Stuckey personally requested to meet with her so he could apologize on our behalf, provide her his direct phone number, request a description of individual, and have them removed from the convention. Unfortunately she was unable to provide a description at that time. Our security team would have enforced our zero tolerance policy for harassment.

While her attire that day violated our dress code, Chris did not mention it during the meeting because he recognized this would be victim-blaming. The cosplayer says when she left the meeting and returned to the convention some team of security, who would have been unaware of the situation as Chris did not mention her attire to anyone, rudely said her costume did not meet the guidelines. We have been unable to confirm this, but are still actively attempting to find the involved person(s) in order to ensure they are no longer affiliated with MomoCon.

We are extremely sorry this cosplayer had a negative experience, have apologized to her on multiple occasions and offered open lines of communication. The safety of our community is paramount to MomoCon. We take all issues of harassment and victim-blaming very seriously and these matters are always proactively addressed. We strive to instantly respond as soon as we become aware of any incident.

Moving forward, we will clearly and delicately communicate dress code violations in addition to continue to increase the amount of law enforcement and hired security on site. As MomoCon continues to grow we will do whatever is necessary to increase awareness among the general public that cosplay is not consent.

– Jessica Merriman, founder and co-chair, MomoCon

Now there’s a lot of ass-covering here, but, in all honesty, I’m not sure I buy a lot of it. They appear to be doubling down on the idea that Luna Lanie was in violation of the convention’s dress code.

The MomoCon dresscode for women is, and I quote, “full-coverage bikini top and shorts.” Looking at the video put out by Luna Lanie, she does not appear to actually be actual violation of said code — and you can find plenty of photos of women online who were not told they were in violation of the dress code at MomoCon who wore a lot less.

But I don’t think we should be surprised that a defensive convention co-chair is trying to throw shade at a person accusing her organization of something. I mean, it’s ironic that they claim they didn’t inform her that her outfit was inappropriate because it would be “victim blaming,” and then proceed to blame her for violating a dresscode she really clearly wasn’t… but whatever.

Beyond MomoCon’s official statement, MomoCon’s director of public safetly James Lee has ALSO put out his own official statement. And by “official statement” I mean an over 1300 word rambling monologue about how much he loves conventions.

He starts out by saying he’s responding to the negative statements about MomoCon, but then proceeds to give us his life story (which sounds pretty much like the life story of every con staffer I’ve ever met) and not address the situation at all. Honestly, I was planning on posting the thing here, but it would literally triple the final length of this article.

None of this really addresses what actually happened at the convention, but I don’t think that’s a shocker. MomoCon is in damage control mode right now, and determined to not admit it was their fault.

Which is, y’know, not a good thing.

Via Nerd Reactor, KorFan

Trae Dorn

Trae Dorn has been staffing conventions for over twenty years, and is a co-founder of Wisconsin’s longest running Anime convention No Brand Con. Trae also writes and draws the webcomics UnCONventional and The Chronicles of Crosarth, which leads many to ask when the hell they have time to actually do anything anymore. Trae says they have the time because they “do it all quite poorly.”