A Security Guard “Verbally Assaulted” Hearing Impaired ‘Walking Dead’ Star Angel Theory at Walker Stalker Con

It’s generally agreed upon by most con staffs that you don’t want Guests of Honor mistreated at your event. It’s also generally agreed upon by most con staffs that you don’t want people harassed over their service animals. And frankly, it’s generally agreed upon by most competent con staffs that you don’t want anyone at your event to feel physically threatened.

Well, last weekend Walker Stalker Con didn’t do a great job at all three of those.

Apparently a security guard at Walker Stalker Con “verbally assaulted” hearing impaired The Walking Dead cast member Angel Theory during the con. According to an Instagram Live stream by Theory’s co-star Nadine Marissa (which was captured by a Twitter user), on Saturday Theory was playing with her service dog Nova between signings. Due to the excessive noise in the room, Theory’s hearing aids were turned off at the time. Marissa says Theory’s dog had not been an issue for anyone at the con on the previous day, so Theory did not believe it would be a problem.

While she was playing with the dog, a member of the convention center’s security apparently took issue with it. Marissa says in the video, “Angel’s playing around with Nova, the security guard begins to scream at her to stop, ‘pick up the dog,’ in a very demeaning manner.” As Theory is hard of hearing, obviously she was not aware of the request. The security guard did not attempt to take any steps to gain Theory’s attention beyond yelling, and Marissa says that if he had just tapped Theory on the shoulder the entire situation could have been over in an instant.

When a booking agent attempted to explain to the security guard that Theory was hard of hearing, he accused Theory of ignoring him. Marissa says that with the obvious commotion, Theory came over and approached the guard to see what was happening, unaware of the situation.

According to Marissa the guard claimed Theory was going to hit him, but Theory purportedly said nothing. It was at this point that local police who were on site (and apparently heavily armed) approached to see what was going on. “Can you imagine, being deaf, not knowing what’s happening, you turn around, and there are two to three officers standing behind you, holding rifles,” Marissa says in the video.

Marissa also says that Walker Stalker Con owner James Frazier was nearby and did nothing to de-escalate the situation.

One of the major hurdles to this whole mess was that Walker Stalker Con did not provide an ASL interpreter for either Theory or for hard of hearing attendees in general. If an interpreter had been provided most of this situation could have been avoided in general. Frankly, if the convention center’s security had been better trained and made aware that Theory was hearing impaired it seems like all of this wouldn’t have happened as well.

According to tweets by Angel Theory, Frazier did apologize to her — though not to an adequate degree:

Walker Stalker Con has released an official statement on the matter, clarifying that the security guard was not an employee of the convention itself, but the venue. That said, it still seems like it was a major failing of the convention not to brief the event’s security about a guest of honor’s disability, and is concerning that the security staff was so poorly trained. I know I definitely wouldn’t feel safe in that venue.

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 wrote and drew the now completed webcomic UnCONventional, and produces the podcasts BS-Free Witchcraft, On This Day With Trae, Stormwood & Associates, and The Nerd & Tie Podcast. This 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.”

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