San Japan Chair Dave Henkin Steps Down After Controversial Statements

There may not be any conventions currently happening, but that certainly doesn’t mean that there isn’t any convention news. San Antonio, TX based anime convention San Japan announced yesterday that convention chair Dave Henkin has stepped down and been removed from their leadership.

Henkin’s removal was in response to a tweet on his personal @Proz twitter account where he defended the convention’s decision to not invite people of color as guests, while simultaneously seemingly defended inviting known sexual predators. While Henkin has privated his account (and obscured it from search), screenshots of the tweet have been circulating widely:

While Henkin stepping down is overall a good sign, some have argued that it’s still just the first step when it comes to widespread progress in the anime con circuit, and that we have to do more.

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.”

3 thoughts on “San Japan Chair Dave Henkin Steps Down After Controversial Statements

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  • June 7, 2020 at 6:26 pm
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    Re: “he defended the convention’s decision to not invite people of color as guests, while simultaneously seemingly defended inviting known sexual predators.”

    This is exactly backward. Neither San Japan nor Dave has ever made any type of decision to not invite people of color of guests. San Japan has had POC guests including industry, and including Black, Hispanic, and Asian Americans every year since the first 3-day event in 2008 (Maja, Black musical guest). Mega Ran (Raheem Jarbo) appeared as a featured musical guest in both 2009 and 2015. For Maja and Mega Ran in particular, it was never considered relevant that they were Black, only that they were excellent nerdcore performers.

    Nor was he defending known sexual predators. The words were referring to two particular persons requested in bulk every year, but who are at the top of a list of people who will never (or never again) be guests at San Japan (it is, in fact, my list, established in 2009).

    The wording was incredibly unfortunate, and shouldn’t have accepted the premise of the underlying question, but was actually reflecting a strongly held desire that the attendee base participate by being more diverse in their responses to the annual September guest request thread.

    Reply
    • June 7, 2020 at 7:19 pm
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      He was definitely defending the reasoning why cons invite sexual predators, even if he wasn’t advocating for it. And even if he misspoke, and that’s not he meant it doesn’t negate the rest of his statement.

      He was pretty clearly saying inviting people of color wasn’t financially worth it, and that the reason he didn’t was because fans weren’t demanding it. You can try to spin it however you want, but those are the words he used.

      Reply

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