An Update on the Lauren Faits/Ron Ladao Harassment Situation

Back in February we wrote an article about a couple of situations, including a summary of an incident from a dozen years ago involving “Geek Girl Chicago” blogger Lauren Faits and photographer Ron “Soulcrash” Ladao. In her original blog post she said that Ladao burst into a room that she and others were changing in, and claimed that Ladao had tried to film her and others in a state of undress.

Ladao disputed her version of events in a Facebook post. Faits went on to revise her post, correcting several mistakes she had made, including forgetting to acknowledge that the room belonged to Ladao. Considering that the events happened in 2003, it seemed unlikely that any additional clarity could be brought to the situation though.

Well, that assumption turned out to be wrong. Ladao apparently went back into his archives and dug out the video from the evening, posting it to Youtube last night. If you choose to watch it, please realize that the language is not entirely safe for work. I also recommend viewing the video with the annotations turned off.

In the video, taken by Ladao, a group of people (including Faits) are headed back to a hotel room at Kazecon so that some of them can change out of their cosplay. After arriving in the room, several people are asked to leave the room (somewhat angrily). We don’t have the full context for whether or not this had been the initial plan, but Ladao and several other men leave the room and go into the hallway.

After being in the hallway for just a moment, Ladao (seemingly irritated to be asked to leave a room that was at least partially his), opens the door and kicks it open — breaking the chain lock. He immediately retreats though, and this is where the video ends.

While some have claimed that this invalidates Faits’s account (and it certainly contradicts her timeline of events in significant ways), it’s obvious that from within the hotel room it would appear that Ladao had tried to break in when he’d been asked to leave. If I were in her place, I would have probably felt quite threatened too.

Faits has posted a response to the video in which she admits her recollection of events has been clouded with time. It does appear that Ladao acted with significantly less malice in this particular situation as well — just really, really stupidly.

Honestly, I can’t really figure out how Ladao’s “prank” to re-enter the room was designed to do anything other than make the people changing feel uncomfortable. It’s not as bad as Faits had initially described, but he had been filming and then did try to burst back into the room.

Faits’s assumption that filming her in a state of undress was Ladao’s intention isn’t an unreasonable one.

This is a complicated situation. It’s obvious why both Faits and Ladao see themselves in the right. But we now have video of the incident, and we’ll let you decide where you fall on your own (and frankly the only reason we’re bothering to go this in depth is because enough readers asked us to).

I guess in closing, before you dismiss this, let me remind you that the reason Faits wrote her original post was that she claimed others had been harassed by Ladao. She related this story because it was her own (and it would be wrong to out those who have talked with her). I choose to believe her, but you can make your own decisions on the matter.

  • Echo

    Disgusting. Even after everyone can see you lied, you still try to dodge having to apologize. It just makes you look scummy.

    • At what point did we lie?

      We told you what other’s accused him of. Are you saying Geek Girl Chicago never wrote what she wrote? Because what we did was repeat her accounting of events. That’s… not lying. That’s believing someone who was partially mistaken.

      And we updated that article to point to the video and to here where we went further in depth. At every step we’ve given people access to Ladao’s side and provided you with all the available information we had.

      If you don’t like our conclusions, fine — but we sure as heck haven’t “lied” at all.

      • Echo

        “Faits is now refusing to work with any conventions that work with Ladao, and rightfully so. And you know what? Some people are actually listening to her. To the credit of one of Chicago’s best comics events, C2E2 has decided to break off any relationship with Ladao specifically because of this.”

        The words you’re looking for are “I’m so sorry, we screwed up. We’re apologizing to Ladao and taking measures to make sure we never do something this stupid again.”

        • Except we still agree with Faits, so why would we apologize?

          Again, you’ve yet to point out a lie we’ve supposedly told.

  • Ace

    It’s pretty damn clear that she blatantly lied about the situation, but you still want to paint him as the bad guy, while Lauren just “admits her recollection of events has been clouded with time.” This post disgusts me tbh

    • I think it’s “pretty damn clear: that she misremembered it.

      I think anyone who expects a person to have crystal clear recall of something from 13 years ago reaaally has a lot to learn about the human mind or how memory works. Eye witness testimony is often flawed, wrong, and jumbled.

      The fact is if you look at the events in the video from her point of view, it sure wouldn’t look like a joke. The “prank” (as Ladao has called it) was to break into the room — the joke was that she’d be uncomfortable. That was literally the whole point of his actions.

      Explain to me, in simple words, how what he did was alright — how that “prank” would be acceptable. Enlighten me.

      • Ace

        I don’t know where this prank thing is coming from. It didn’t seem like a prank to me. He was upset that they decided to change in HIS room and kick him out after he told them they should change in the bathroom where they have the most privacy. Plus, if you actually watched the video there was another male that was INSIDE the room while they were changing yet they didn’t make a fuss about him and accuse him of sexual harassment. Gee I wonder why. it’s almost like this is just a convenient excuse to ruin a man’s reputation for no reason because they hold a grudge against him.

        Also, I understand that people have hazy recollections of events that occurred over a decade ago, but if that was the case she should have reconsidered levying a heavy accusation like that when she didn’t know for sure.

        • Ladao stated in his Facebook post “I thought it would be funny to enter the room and give them a scare as a prank.”

          That’s where I’m getting that from. It’s literally how he described his own actions.

          • Ace

            Didn’t read that post so I see that it was a dumb joke. doesn’t change the fact that he still didn’t enter the room and he didn’t intend for the chain to break. She’s still very much in the wrong for lying about those facts. Yet you’re trying to play it off as though she were an innocent victim when it wasn’t HER room to be changing clothes in. How would you like it if some girl started changing in your own room and told you to get out or else you’re a creeper?

          • If I had agreed to let her change in the room? I’d be fine with it. Even if I wasn’t, I still wouldn’t open the door on someone I knew was changing.

            Let’s be clear: He intended to scare her. He intended for her to think he was entering. He intended to make her uncomfortable. The violation was intentional.

        • (also, regarding the “other male” — you don’t get to decide for other people who they are and aren’t comfortable changing in front of. They chained the door, so clearly they DIDN’T want anyone else in the room while changing and that’s all that matters)

  • Scott

    It isn’t that Ron is “not guilty” as some have said, or that he is totally free and clear due to the video, but that a published statement of an extreme nature was made that is damaging to his reputation with all of the related consequences (there already has been quite a few). She has every right to talk about being uncomfortable in that situation, but a lot of people have issue with the extreme wording, extra things said as fact but didn’t fit the video at all, and statements only partly in line with the video. Not to mention the statement saying others have had issue with him, but only used as a side note to imply he has bad character without backing. Clouded memories should be stated with care if it is in regard to the character of another person. Unless legal action is taken, all of that will stay available online and be tied to his character until sites such as hers and yours no longer exist. There is a reason laws exist regarding libel. Again, a lot of people are not questioning Ron’s stupid acts but the nature and level of accusations compared to the factual video that was found. Obviously, people should watch the video and decide on their own if they want to associate with him, but the original article, your original article if you haven’t edited it, and likely others will be out there without the factual video to give people who see them the full story.

    • We updated the original article prior to posting this one.

  • reviewer007

    A wise man once said that a lie of omission is still a lie.
    And if this were as traumatic as she claims, the events of that day would be VERY clear to her.
    I wonder what else in her writings she “forgot…”

    • See this? This is the line. Continue crossing it and you’ll find yourself unwelcome here.

      You don’t get to be the judge of someone else’s trauma. Tread carefully.

      • Tau Myx

        Why doesn’t Ron get to have trauma? I would be devastated if someone I thought of as a friend suddenly started telling such lies about me. And yes, they are lies. In the video Lauren is quite rude and not remotely scared of Ron. She even taunts him about “You broke your door”, showing that she DID know it was his room. Perhaps she was more mature then than she is now. Lauren has posted and stood by several inescapable falsehoods:

        1) We were followed.
        – She followed him. She needed him to open the door for her to get in to his room.

        2) Amidst girls’ screaming of “No!” and “What is wrong with you?” and “Go away!”
        – Only Lauren said this, (and gave him the finger.) and it was before anyone started undressing. Ron left immediately, though expressing offence at her rudeness.

        3) The photographer rushed in with a camera, attempting to get nude photos and/or video of underage cosplayers.
        -Ron did not have a camera at this point, he had handed it to someone else.

        4) I had touched his camera to point it away from the girls.
        – The camera remained outside the room at this point, she never touched it or even saw it after Ron left the room as requested.

        In addition, Lauren commits several lies through omission:

        5) Repeatedly mentioning her own age, but failing to note that Ron was less than a year older than her.

        6) Failing to mention that other men were in the room with her as she undressed. (Isn’t THAT criminal?)

        7) Mentioned above, she did know she was in Ron’s room.

        8) He warned her ahead of time that he had the key and could come in.

        9) “I’m not here to ruin anybody’s career or to make decisions for others.”
        – How could she possibly think that what she posted would not have this effect?

        =============================

        Finally, there is the frightening lack of mercy that Lauren advocates for Ron. She says that this event alone invalidates everything else he has done as a cosplayer and friend. But when the tables turn, she suddenly wants people to coddle her “personal narrative” over what really happened. Guess what Lauren, guys have feelings too. We can feel betrayed too. And we have every right to feel threatened by your presence at a convention.

  • Avi Friedman

    Thank god he WAS filming, you biased douchnozzle. It’s the only thing that offered him even a little wiggle room in the noose he was being lynched with. This kind of crap is the reason that real victims of harassment will feel uncomfortable to report actual crimes against them in the future. Shame on you.

  • Clarence

    IT was HIS room, HIS space. She had no right to colonize it, and she certainly wasn’t changing in the bathroom, she was changing right out in the open WITH ANOTHER FEMALE and ANOTHER MALE present! If there was a rude one in that situation , it was her.

    Then , ten years later, she tries THIS. After working with the guy. Talking to the guy. Not apparently having another issue with the guy for ten years she tries to spread crap about him all over the place.

    And you defend this vast misinformation campaign by her – and her refusal to act as an adult- with the term ‘truama’. As someone who has had someone related to me violently raped (and seen the actual aftermath and seen how the cops never found the guy so no justice) this whole ‘guilty until proven innocent because the dainty traumatized lady said so’ makes me sick. If she was ‘traumatized’ by THAT, she needs help, not white knights. Delete this comment all you want. Not only do real victims (not liars or exaggerators) spit on you, but I rather hope something similar comes along and does the same to you. ” Listen and Believe.” Gullible fool.

    • We usually do delete posts that include direct insults, but I’ll humor you for just this once.

      1. No one said she was changing in the bathroom. Yes someone suggests it in the video, but I’m not sure why you’re bringing it up.
      2. Yes, it was his hotel room. No one is disputing that anymore. But he agreed to let her change in it and agreed to leave the room. He has literally stated that he then attempted to re-enter to scare them as a prank. He knew
      3. Why does it matter that one of the cosplayers changing was male? You don’t get to decide on an individual basis who she is and isn’t comfortable changing in front of.
      4. Your bringing up someone elses assault is irrelevant and intentional derailment. Yes, it’s awful that happened to your friend. But just because someone else got stabbed it doesn’t mean you can’t get angry someone punched you in the face.

      As for the rest, you’d be best served by actually READING the articles, including both Ladao’s and Faits’s.

      You can go away now.

      • Yep

        “1. No one said she was changing in the bathroom. Yes someone suggests it
        in the video, but I’m not sure why you’re bringing it up.”

        Probably because that would have been the most reasonable thing to do? If I’m not mistaken, Ladao checked the bathroom to see if it was okay to change in. Instead of doing so, however, the girls started changing in the middle of the room and kicked the guys out. Well gee, why is this important? Because he’s saying she was, more or less, being rude. Rude of course not being what I want to say, but hey, direct insults and all that shit, yeah?

        Like, come on. That entire paragraph was about how she colonized his room. He brought up the bathroom to say that there was no reason for her to do so. How did you not relate the two? It’s not hard to figure out.

        “2. Yes, it was his hotel room. No one is disputing that anymore. But he
        agreed to let her change in it and agreed to leave the room. He has
        literally stated that he then attempted to re-enter to scare them as a
        prank. He knew”

        Once again, the point was that she was took his room. He wasn’t saying it was his room, as if anyone could possibly argue against that, just that she took his room for absolutely no reason. Come on now, it’s starting to annoy me how you aren’t connecting obvious things to one another.

        “But he
        agreed to let her change in it and agreed to leave the room.”

        He also said it was his room and could enter any time he wanted.

        ” He has literally stated that he then attempted to re-enter to scare them as a prank.”

        Why does it matter that he was trying to scare them as a prank? How is that at all relevant to it being his room? All you did was change the subject to paint him as a bad guy. You agreed that it was his room, completely missing the point, and went on to a different, completely irrelevant point. Why?

        “4. Your bringing up someone elses assault is irrelevant and intentional derailment.”

        Like bringing up Ron entering the door as a prank is irrelevant and arguably intentional derailment? I hope you like that change in phrasing.

        You argued against the wrong things. Point #3? Yeah, that was good. I agree there. Hell, I agree with #4 as well. However #1 and #2 were completely pointless, which is a pun on the fact that you missed his point when making those two arguments. You also come off as a hypocrite, talking about derailing and talking about irrelevant stuff, when you did the same in point #2. So basically, come on now.

        • The “prank” is the whole point.

          Do you not get that? His busting into the room is with the intent to make them feel threatened IS the problem. THAT is what crossed the line, and has always been the issue.

          This whole “commandeer the room” angle some of the commenters have locked onto doesn’t really matter, since he agreed to leave the room and did so.

  • A. Carvelli

    There is no denying that he broke the door lock and that is was a prank gone awry. The problems I have with Laurens post is that:
    1. She repeatedly states things like “we were under age, ” leading the reader to believe that he was much older than her, when he was her peer and friend
    2. She frequently says how traumatized she was by the event and has been unable to enjoy conventions or the opposite sex since then when there are multiple videos and posts that show otherwise.
    3.That the girls screamed when the door was opened when there was no screaming
    4. That she says that it was sexual assault – there was no assault of any kind
    5. Ron was shirtless at the time of the event, but he had apparently been shirtless all day, and she knew it
    6.They were not followed to the room, Ron was in fact ahead of them.
    7.and the fact that everyone seems to miss…Ron was not holding the video camera at the time of the incident. Someone else was filming and that someone else had the option to turn the camera off and didn’t. Why does she not go after the one that was doing the actual filming?

    • I’m only going to respond to a couple of points (just because a few of these are point of view based and just because I disagree with their importance doesn’t make them inherently wrong).

      Regarding #2 – I think it’s hard to criticize someone for how they acted after a traumatic event. Different people react different ways — and some try to hide it and pretend it didn’t happen. I don’t think we get to judge whether something actually affected someone emotionally based off of whether or not we perceived them being “okay” afterwards.

      Regarding #4 – You’re right — even in her original version of the story it doesn’t meet the legal definition of sexual assault. It should have been defined as sexual harassment. While she clearly felt threatened, sexual assault was the wrong term to use (and why our articles covering the incident always used the term harassment and not assault).

      Regarding #7 – Lauren knew Ladao had the camera prior to leaving the room and that he was actively filming. While it’s true he handed off the camera to a friend, there’s no way she could have known that and it’s not unreasonable for her to assume he’d still have it in his hands when he burst in.

  • Joe

    I know I’m late to the party, but I must say you are in a very gray area here. Depending on the Judge’s interpretation on Illinois law this site may have broken the law. Both you and the the accuser in this situation are making what amounts to claims of a crime having been committed. She originally said assault, and you have said criminal harassment. From My understanding Mr Ladao was underage at the time of the incident. This may be considered this to be reporting on the criminal acts of a minor and naming said minor. Since there was no official criminal complaint you may be able to slide on this, but it is a the very least lacking a moral compass. The juvenile seal is there for a reason. We as a society have decided that actions that one takes as a juvenile should not follow a person for the rest of their life.