Sexual harassment and assault have always been a problem in the convention community, but it’s only really had a light shown on it for the last couple of years. We’ve written about it before, but it never hurts to reiterate how important it is that conventions have written, accessible policies that address sexual harassment. We’ve also stressed the importance of proper follow-through of these policies.
I think that’s why it’s always a mild shock when we discover another con that doesn’t seem to have gotten the memo. Not only that, but when those same cons, rather than look and see what’s working elsewhere, decide to just dig in their heels and bury their heads in the sand.
In what can best be described as “a massive headache for a convention’s guest relations staff,” Jason David Frank and Jean-Claude Van Damme reportedly came to blows at La Mole Comic Con in Mexico this last weekend. According to The Blast, Frank was asked by Van Damme to do a joint photo. As the two have been notoriously feuding for years, Frank apparently thought Van Damme wanted to bury the hatchet.
This wasn’t so much the case.
When Frank arrived at the green room, he found a hostile Van Damme. As The Blast reports:
That’s when the Power Ranger says he realized it was “all a setup.” Frank tells us JC approached him with cameras rolling and demanded Frank apologize for calling him out in 2010 and said if he wanted a fight, “Let’s throw down.”
The second annual Lybia Comic Con was shut down by an armed militia this weekend in Tripoli. The Special Deterrent Forces (SDF), a right wing militant group affiliated with the UN backed Government of National Accord raided the convention, arresting initially not just organizers but reportedly some attendees too.
Over twenty people (out of the hundreds present) were detained, though all but six were later released.
The SDF claimed the convention needed to be shut down as it was “derived from abroad and exploit[ed] weakness of religious faith and fascination with foreign cultures.” Organizers were shocked by the raid, as they had obtained permission from the government to hold the event.
The organizers told the Libya Herald that the SDF accused them of crimes against public morals and Islam including “agnosticism, atheism, holding masonic ideas, believing in Halloween, distorting the minds of youth, and kufer (abandoning Islam).” Organizers also said that some of those arrested had been beaten, being told that “Libya was a Muslim country, not a free/liberal country.”
On this episodes we celebrate Star Trek: Discovery‘s renewal, discuss Doctor Who‘s announced new companions, feel relief at the Han Solo movie finally having a title, get confused at the Settlers of Catan movie, and get elated that Constantine will get to be bisexual on Legends of Tomorrow.
Gen also went to Anime Fusion, and we discuss the differences between Wisconsin and Minnesota cons.
The convention’s organizers are blaming the ongoing wildfires in California for the cancellation.
This is, frankly, slightly puzzling. While their office is based in Petaluma, the convention itself was going to be held in San Jose. San Jose is about two hours away from the closest fire, and conditions are much more likely to improve between now and the scheduled dates. And while the staff may be based in Sonoma county, it’s not like TWiT.tv has gone off of the air — and I haven’t heard news of Patrick Delahanty of AnimeCons.com packing a bug-out bag and fleeing while screaming at the top of his lungs. To be fair, organizer Philip Kim does claim to have been evacuated from his home since last week, and there may be circumstances we’re not aware of. But with rumors around financial problems surrounding their Texas show, it’s hard to be skeptical.
But this is the reason the con is giving, and with no insight into their internal workings I guess we have to buy it.
In an earlier version of this story I was a bit more of a dick. Some of that dickishness has been edited out of the article. Maybe not enough, but sometimes you just sort of have to own your mistakes.
On this episode of Nerd & Tie we talk about Amazon developing new TV shows based on Snow Crash, Ringworld and Lazarus to start. We also talk about the new trailer for Pacific Rim: Uprising, how the Sonic the Hedgehog live action movie is still happening, Time Lord Expo getting cancelled just weeks before the con, and the sorry state of Wizard World.
After a good week of speculation, what some saw as inevitable has occurred — Dayton, OH based Time Lord Expo has officially been called off just two weeks before the con’s scheduled date. Convention organizer Patrick Baumgardner took to the con’s official Facebook page and announced the cancellation earlier today:
This doesn’t exactly come as a surprise to most people, as just a few days ago Doctor Who “Superstore” Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey announced they had been told to cancel any guest flights that they had booked for the con (as the store’s owners had gotten heavily involved with the con’s planning), and as a whole pulled out of the convention in response.
The main reason for the cancellation hasn’t been given, but we can make a few guesses. In the official post, Baumgardner said that refunds could immediately be requested, but asked that people wait until Friday evening to do so if possible. If anything screams “we’re out of money,” it’s someone asking you to wait to hit them up for money until what is, for many people, payday.
Update: Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey is organizing a free replacement event on Sunday, October 14th. Terry Molloy and Caitlin Blackwood will appear.
In a press release yesterday, Wizard World announced that they were “postponing” five of their remaining seven 2017 shows. While their Austin and Oklahoma City shows will still take place as scheduled, their events in Biloxi, Peoria, Springfield, Montgomery, and Winston-Salem won’t be taking place this year.
Now a normal person would refer to these events as “cancelled,” but I guess saying they’re “postponed” reads better from a PR perspective.
Considering the financial difficulties Wizard World has had over the last few years, it’s hard to be all that surprised. The money made by the company per-show has been down, and the market has kind of reached a saturation point. In the same release, the company has also announced their 2018 lineup of shows, which currently totals at seventeen (though they also said more shows will be added).
How many of those will actually happen remains to be seen.
On this episode of Nerd & Tie we review the first new episodes of Star Trek in over a decade with Star Trek: Discovery, tackle J.J. Abrams taking over Star Wars Episode IX, contemplate the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina coming to The CW, and then… well then we hit the con scene. In that corner, we have Anime Punch disbanding because their founder is now a convicted sex offender, and Rose City Comic Con is taking a stronger stance against Nazi cosplay.
Columbus, OH based convention Anime Punch has been disbanded and will no longer hold any more events. The convention staff announced that they would be ceasing all future operations on in a statement on their official Facebook page on September 14th:
This is in the wake of convention chair Michael Beuerlein pleading guilty to Sexual Battery in the state of Virgina on September 5th. A misdemeanor, Beuerlein is currently currently out on parole. He has also been required to register as a sex offender.
It’s always terrifying to find out someone like this is running around the con scene. For what it’s worth, not many seem surprised about Beuerlein, as at least this rather lengthy Facebook thread seems to detail a number of other alleged incidents involving Beuerlein. Whether those other allegations are true or not, he sure seems like a person you wouldn’t want to let into your con, let alone operate an event
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