Comic-Con 2014: Outcry, action against harassment grows

July 24, 2014 | 5:00 a.m.
Anna Kegler, left, Rochelle Keyhan and Erin Filson, representing a group called geeksforCONsent at Comic-Con. The trio will be handing out anti-harassment paraphernalia at the convention. (Kirk McCoy / Los Angeles Times)

Anna Kegler, left, Rochelle Keyhan and Erin Filson, representing a group called geeksforCONsent at Comic-Con. The trio will be handing out anti-harassment paraphernalia at the convention. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

SAN DIEGO — Mariah Huehner attended her first Comic-Con as a newly minted comic book editor a few years ago, looking to network with artists. But at a nighttime party in a hotel by the bay, she realized that others had a different kind of connection in mind.

“One of the guys suddenly had his hand on my butt,” said Huehner, 35, who is best known as the author of the “True Blood” and “Emily and the Strangers” comics. “It’s a shocking reminder that you’re seen differently.”

FULL COVERAGE: Comic-Con 2014

Comic-Con International’s dense crowds, Bacchanalian atmosphere and mask-wearing anonymity make it prime territory for misbehavior, according to both men and women who have attended the event many times. Here, and at other similar events around the country, convention-goers have been known to grope, stalk and take “upskirt” photos with impunity. The behavior is so common that there is even a term for it: Creeping at a con.

But as San Diego’s annual convention opens Thursday, a backlash is brewing. One prominent science fiction author is holding his event away from the official Convention Center site to protest what he calls lax anti-harassment policies. And a group calling itself Geeks for CONsent submitted a petition with 2,500 signatures calling on organizers to post signs in the convention halls detailing its anti-harassment policies. It also wants convention volunteers to get training on how to respond to harassment reports.

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Christopher Maracha, of San Francisco, salutes on his way up a convention hall escalator. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Elias Meraz, left, poses with cosplayer Alicia Bellamy, dressed as the "Scarlet Witch." (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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The Gonzalez family of Santa Ana takes a rest on the convention hall floor. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Fans pass by BBC America's "Orphan Black" ad on a convention hall wall. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Chris Beasley as the Hobbit's Gandalf makes his way through the crowd. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Kevin Uribe, of Red Bank, NJ, stands quietly, dressed as "Silent Bob." (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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John Whitt of Minneapolis spreads his wings as "Batman." (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Chris Vick of Los Angeles touches up his makeup during a break from his role as "The Spoon Killer." (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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"Orphan Black" fan Cynthia Perez walks away with a cardboard cutout of the show's character, Cal Morrison. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Fans pack an elevator to the convention center sky bridge. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Elisa Teague walks the convention center floor in an unconventional gown. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Bugs Mitchell of Westminster finds a quiet cove to check his email during Comic-Con. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Keeleigh West of Reno, Nev. spreads her homemade wings on the convention hall floor. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Chopper the dog moves through the Gaslamp Quarter with his owner Mark Shaffer. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Chris Clarke of San Diego reaches out to touch a macabre mannequin to see if it might be a real human in front of the Zombie Apocalypse Store in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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A cosplay group entertains passersby in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter during Comic-Con. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Andrew Knighton, under the gigantic eyeball, heads into the Comic-Con convention center. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Convention attendees gather around a scale model of Star Trek starship USS Reliant. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Convention-goers stop at nothing, even if it means waiting in long lines, to buy Marvel merchandise. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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A woman in a period gown takes the stairs after realizing it would be a tight squeeze into the elevator. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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The face of fictitious mascot and cover boy Alfred E. Neuman shines through in a compilation of Mad magazine covers. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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A pair of Supermen give onlookers a double take as they check out "Star Wars" merchandise at the convention. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Josh Roemele, 10, marvels at "Transformers" merchandise, just one item among a bevy of goodies. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Fans, dressed up and dressed down, take an escalator to the convention floor. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Cosplayers David Schoelen, left, and Paul Baum work up the right attitude. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Thomas Willeford of Harrisburg, Pa., appears in costume at Comic-Con 2014 as Steampunk Iron Man (circa 1889). (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

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Attendees enter the San Diego Convention Center as Comic-Con 2014 officially opens its doors for preview night Wednesday at 6 p.m. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

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The Marvel booth at Comic-Con 2014 gives away free posters to the early arrivals during preview night Wednesday. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

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A.J. Peplinski, 6, and his father, Allen Peplinski, of Las Vegas look up at a Bumbleblee figure from the "Transformers" movies at Comic-Con 2014. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

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Hannah Collier, right, explains the new video game "The Crew" to Robert Atwater at Comic-Con 2014. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

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Josh Buonocore of Orlando, Fla., takes a selfie with a zombie at "The Walking Dead" Terminus wall. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Children construct Lego projects during a contest at the Lego booth. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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San Diego friends Elizabeth Walsh, left, and Traci Haze clown around for a photo with a model of "The Hobbit's" Gollum. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Crys Harm of Langhorne, Pa., sports bright green contact lenses. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Zak Skelly rides on dad David's shoulders through a packed San Diego Convention Center. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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A Thorin Oakenshield figurine, part of the Hobbit collection at the Weta booth. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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A Han Solo in Carbonite. The life-size figure is part of a giveaway at the Sideshow Collectables booth. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Men are reflected in a glass case as they look over a Superman figure. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Adult Swim's master of ceremonies Randall Byers, center, supervises the Wheel of Wonder, which fans spin for prizes. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Kris Keyes as Dive Bomber, right, checks his email as passersby take his photo. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Renee White of Melbourne, Australia, snaps a photo of a giant Godzilla at Comic-Con in San Diego. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Comic-Con 2014 in San Diego officially opens Thursday but fans arrive early to pickup credentials on Wednesday. Travis Jackson with 1540 production helps with the construction of Warner Bros.' 24-foot tall sculpture of Godzilla behind Hall H. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

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Lauren Moyer assembles flowers and billboards for the Interactive Zone at Petco Park as part of Comic-Con. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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SAN DIEGO- July 23 2014: Emily Graham, of Vancouver Canada waits in line for a preview event at Comic Con July 23, 2014 in San Diego. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Arriving early at Comic-Con, para-olympic runner Blake Leeper of San Diego is the first double leg amputee in America in the Olympic games. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

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Anna Kegler, left, Rochelle Keyhan and Erin Filson, representing a group called geeksforCONsent at Comic-Con. The trio will be handing out anti-harassment paraphernalia at the convention. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

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Docy Elliott of Ottawa, Canada, is already in costume (Goku from "Dragonball Z") as he arrives early to pick up credentials. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

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A worker helps assemble a giant billboard for the new NBC show "Constantine" near Petco Park as part of Comic-Con preparation. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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Passersby look at a re-branded Hard Rock Cafe -- now the Ascension Cafe -- which is a Comic-Con placeholder touting the Syfy show "Ascension" in San Diego. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

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The city of San Diego gets into Comic-Con as trolley cars are wrapped in ads from the CW's new "Gotham" television show. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

“San Diego Comic-Con is the mecca of conventions,” said Rochelle Keyhan of Geeks for CONsent, who plans to hand out literature about what constitutes harassment while dressed as a steampunk Disney princess. “They should be leading by example. Instead they think they’re the only convention that has no harassment.”

Organizers point out that Comic-Con already posts its policy, that “harassing or offensive behavior will not be tolerated,” on its website and in a printed events guide.

“Anyone being made to feel uncomfortable at our show is obviously a concern for us,” Comic-Con spokesman David Glanzer said in an email. “The safety of our attendees is a primary concern of ours. For this reason we have more staff and security than other events of our type. In addition we also have a command post in the lobby of our event that is staffed with members of the San Diego Police Department, fire and other emergency services.”

With about 130,000 attendees, Comic-Con is a place where fans celebrate superheroes and science fiction and Hollywood studios promote their upcoming geek-friendly fare. As comic book characters have broadened, so too has their fan base. More women have begun attending Comic-Con in recent years, and now comprise about 40% of convention-goers, according to Glanzer.

Women who attend these conventions say some of the men present still seem to think it’s a boys club.

Janelle Asselin, who has edited comics for DC and Disney, said she has been groped at half a dozen conventions. She said a male comic book artist once told her he would like to eat her “like a pie,” and she received rape threats in comments posted online after she had written a critique of a comic on her blog.

“It seems worse in the last five years or so,” Asselin said. “But I think a big part of that is that there are more women here, and more women saying, ‘I’m not gonna shut up about how women are treated in comics or how they’re treated at cons.'”

"Games of Thrones" actor Jason Momoa makes a comment during the show's Comic-Con panel in 2013. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

“Games of Thrones” actor Jason Momoa makes a comment during the show’s 2011 Comic-Con panel. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

The uncomfortable moments aren’t limited to after-parties and encounters on the crowded convention floor. At a “Game of Thrones” panel at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con, a mix of cheers and groans rose up in the audience when actor Jason Momoa said his favorite part of his role on the HBO show is that he gets to “rape beautiful women and have them fall in love with me.” At a panel last year featuring female action stars called “Women Who Kick Ass,” audience members waiting for other speakers grew restless and complained audibly in the convention hall that the panel should be called “Women Who Talk too Much.”

The atmosphere persists at conventions even as the comics world itself is becoming more inclusive. In the last week, Marvel Comics introduced a female Thor and a black Captain America, and a new “Archie” comic saw its red-headed hero take a bullet for an openly gay character.

There are signs Comic-Con is heeding some of the criticism — a last-minute email sent to badge-holders late Tuesday prominently highlighted its anti-harassment policy, and encouraged attendees to enlist security if they feel unsafe. Glanzer said it was the first time organizers had taken that step, saying “it seemed like a good idea to add to that with the email distribution.”

For some would-be attendees, including sci-fi author John Scalzi, organizers haven’t done enough. Last summer, Scalzi wrote a blog post titled “My New Convention Harassment Policy,” saying he would only be a panelist or guest of honor at a convention that has a clear, visible and enforced harassment policy. More than 1,100 people, including several other authors, co-signed his post.

“Every section of culture and society goes through this, where a group who has put up with a lot of harassment says, ‘No, we don’t want that anymore,'” Scalzi said recently. “There’s always that moment where the world shifts. Nerd culture is in the middle of that now.”

Though Scalzi’s publisher, Tor Books, had already booked him to attend Comic-Con this year, he decided to hold his event, a reading and signing, at a location outside the convention center.

“I found Comic-Con’s policy to be deficient,” Scalzi said. “It didn’t state clearly and unambiguously what they believe harassment to be.”

Renee White of Melbourne Australia snaps a photo of a giant Godzilla, part of the 2014 Comic-Con.

Renee White of Melbourne, Australia snaps a photo of a giant Godzilla, part of Comic-Con International 2014. (Los Angeles Times)

The culture of caddishness at fan and genre conventions is a long one — in a piece of correspondence from a 1962 science fiction convention in Chicago, an organizer suggested that writer Isaac Asimov deliver a talk on the “Positive Power of Posterior Pinching” and offered to supply some posteriors. Asimov declined, but asked to be pointed to a “girlie show” while in town.

In 2006, while accepting a Hugo Award at a convention in Anaheim, author Harlan Ellison grabbed the breast of the presenter, author Connie Willis. In the world of science fiction literature, it was the equivalent of the lead actor winner grabbing the lead actress winner’s breast at the Oscars.

“It was a slap in the face to me to see a successful, powerful and respected writer treated that way at the genre’s biggest award ceremony,” said science fiction author Kameron Hurley, who was sitting in the audience. “I didn’t go to many cons for a few years after that.”

Changing a culture where even minor tweaks to a character’s suit can be treated as blasphemy will be slow going, many in the genre world say.

“We have a saying, ‘If something’s done once, it’s a tradition. If something’s done twice, it’s a hallowed tradition,'” Scalzi said. “Not everything is gonna be solved immediately, but when people are becoming much more willing to publicly say, ‘This is a problem. This guy has done this thing and we want it addressed,’ I do think change is coming.”

– Rebecca Keegan | @LATHeroComplex

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Comments


56 Responses to Comic-Con 2014: Outcry, action against harassment grows

  1. MrTemecula says:

    I remember attending the Con 15 years ago and there was none of this stuff. It was a bunch of awkward male nerds and geeks. What the hell happened?

    • sam says:

      It was there, you just weren't aware of it.

    • VickaVick says:

      More women stopped letting the awkward male nerds and geeks dictate whether or not they could enjoy cons as well.

      • MyBuddy says:

        Women DON'T have to attend, do they? Just asking. If I didn't like something, I sure wouldn't go.

      • Ellie says:

        Women enjoy the comics they want to attend the conventions. Why should they have to stay away because of bad behaviour from a small group.

      • John says:

        What an awful thing to say. So, if you don't want to be sexually harassed you should stay home? That comment alone should get you banned from every convention ever held again. YOU stay home.

    • crypticmirror says:

      The general tide of entitlement and MRAs happened.

  2. Janet Tucker says:

    Such laughably frantic tap dancing to avoid the dreaded "M" word (that is, "men"). No wonder males still feel so entitled to behave badly. It is still forbidden to name them directly, and they know this in their dark little hearts.

  3. Hank says:

    Comic-con has always been about nerdy basement dwellers and ht chicks dressing up in sexy consumes.
    Those pimply nerds spend their lives dreaming about sex with those characters, and then here they are alive and nubile right in front of them. Not surprising that disaffected, unsocialized losers would act out, when confronted with sexily displayed female flesh.

    • Guest says:

      Pretty much nailed it, I'd say. The closest a lot of these guys have gotten to a female is getting intimate with a Fleshlight.

    • Incognita Secunda says:

      1. So, women should just expect this behavior?
      2. So, it's okay for guys to feel entitled to women's bodies?
      3. So, all nerds are "disaffected, socialized losers"?
      4. So, all women who attend cons are "nubile" and "sexily displayed"? You do realize that a good number of the women whose experiences were related in this article were there to make professional appearances that did not involve cosplay, right?
      4. So, guys are incapable of realizing the difference between fantasies based on a comic-book character and harassment of an actual woman?
      5. I could go on, but it's getting exhausting.

      That sure is a mighty passel of logical leaps and ugly assumptions you've made in the service of shrugging off a major issue.

      • Samuel Bautistra says:

        I think you missed the point, Hank just explained the reason this things happen. He's not supporting or denouncing it.
        But the you what, if I was a girl I would NEVER go as a sexy character.

      • @Womyn2me says:

        Well, I am a girl. If I go in a sexy costume it is for MY pleasure, not yours or any other man. Keep your hands to yourself. Look all you want. But my body is my body and you harass me and you are banned from SDCC for life. Want that?

      • gary says:

        Not logical leaps nor assumptions by Hank, just straw man arguments by you. Hank said none of those things.

      • John says:

        You missed the point entirely. And in such a long-winded way, too.

    • steve says:

      Another example of how men have to change. If you don’t like these cons make up your own. It’s that easy

    • Dan says:

      Hank, spoken like a true bigot. You clearly have never been to a convention. The demographics at comicons are the same as every other professional convention (minus the cosplay and kids). Apparently you have no concept that attendees are just as likely to be well-adjusted, MARRIED adults (many with their kids) who probably make more money than you do. But hey, don't let the TRUTH get in the way of your prejudices.

      • John says:

        A bigot. Get out your dictionary, Dan, for you haven't got a clue what you're talking about, yet you're spewing it in such an inappropriately angry way. From the point of few of us non-zealots who have attended conventions, I think Hank got it spot-on.

  4. Jill says:

    I have a daughter, 12, who is getting into cosplay. I am worried about her going to cons where people can't keep their hands to themselves. I spent a lot of my youth at gaming conventions (OrcCon and Gateway among them) and I was never afraid or treated disrespectfully… but that was 20+ years ago… I guess things have changed.

    • doggie says:

      Is it possible a group of radical feminists are blowing things way our of hand!?

      • A Nonny Mouse says:

        No.
        But of course, I've been going to conventions for 20 years, so what would I know? I'm just a woman. Some people here seem to think that women should just put up and shut up.

    • ctein says:

      Dear Jill,

      I can help you and your daughter out, here. This will be a little long-winded, but please bear with me. There are EASY ways she can take care of herself and I'll get to them.

      Before I do, I should mention that I've been going to cons for over 40 years. Things have always been bad for women. I don't mean for every single woman; you’re an example to the contrary. I just mean the state of affairs. The thing is, you wind back 40, or 30, or even 20 years and women were a lot more reluctant to speak up about this. It was just “something men did” and you had to put up with it. That's still an unfortunately common attitude, but it was a lot more common then. So, you'd be less likely to hear of incidents of harassment and assault. Second, standards have changed (improved!). “Date rape” wasn't even a commonly known term until the late 1980s. It used to be mostly okay, if you found a majorly drunk woman at a party, to try to get her into bed. The concept that “unable-to-consent = sexual-assault” just wasn't out there.

      Cons may be less safe today than they used to be; I can't speak to that. But the majority of what you're hearing about, it's because our tolerance for these kinds of assault on women has gone way down.

      Which still doesn't mean it doesn't happen a hell of a lot.

      Now, about your daughter taking care of herself. The following only applies to crowd situations like SDCC. The first thing to remember is that you're surrounded by other people and the vast, vast majority are not sexual predators. Call one out in a crowd, and he's outnumbered 20-to-1. The second thing to remember is that it is okay, in fact it's important to make a fuss. If someone (official or attendee) tries to tell her not to make such a big deal of it… well, would she be good with that if someone had tried to snatch her purse order smart phone or iPad? Remind her of this. She's the one who has been assaulted; she is entitled to make a fuss!

      She can make one very, very easily. If a guy lays a bad hand on her, all she has to do is shout very loudly “Get your hand off my bottom/chest/leg!” A scream doesn't hurt (even if it's a fake scream). Say it loudly, say it repeatedly, until other people notice. That won't take very long at all. Don't let the guy get a word in edgewise. If he tries to say she's a liar, or she was mistaken, or it was an accident, your daughter just needs to repeat, “No it wasn't! Don't touch me!” She doesn't have to reason with the guy or win a debate, any more than she would with a person snatcher.

      If it's a guy who's much older than her, even better. Then she can play the “age card” and she should (you play the cards you've been dealt). Something along the lines of “Don't touch me! I'm only 12! I'm a child!” Yes, I know that she doesn't want to be thought of as a child and I'm not saying she should be. This is all for show. This is to embarrass the guy and make him look bad to everyone around him and, if she wants to push it that far, get the attention of the convention authorities. She doesn't have to play fair or nice.

      She won't be able to pull the age thing on a younger teenage boy, but the rest of it will work fine. Young teenage boys are VERY easy to embarrass!

      Here's what she should not do. She should not handle it discretely, with no fuss, or just quietly move away. First, because that will not make her feel any better. She will still have been victimized by the creep. Second, because it will not make him feel any worse. It won't discourage him from doing it to the next woman he thinks he can victimize. He got what he wanted– he got to grope a woman and get away with it.

      Don't let him get away with it.

      Finally, tell your daughter to teach this to all her friends.

      None of this excuses the convention from failing to promulgate and enforce an anti-harassment policy. It's not a substitute for that. But, when the folks in power aren't taking care of you, you take care of yourself. And you make sure you do it in ways that discourage the creeps from doing it again.

      pax \ Ctein
      [ Please excuse any word-salad. MacSpeech in training! ]

    • Dan says:

      Are you implying that your daughter would be safe from similar abuse at some other crowded event? I'm not sure why comicons are being singled out. I'd be afraid to let my 12 year old daughter be involved in cosplay (especially if the outfit was racy) at ANY location.

    • AJV says:

      JIll

      You are right to be concerned. I recommend (you're her mother, you decide if you want to do this or not) you tell her that males have no right to do anything to her without her consent, no matter what she wears. I (not a parent, nor her parent) think she should know what to do in case something happens that makes her uncomfortable (harassment), and that she goes to the staff. it can get very ugly if she exposes them through, say, social media.

      Nevertheless, the vast majority of con goers, males and females alike, are very nice, enthusiastic, kind, generous, caring, etc. A little too excitable and passionate sometimes. We're really talking about a small percentage of nasties, but they do exist.

      Also, since you are obviously in the LA area (I was just at Gateway last weekend, running a larp), I'd be leery of LASFS and LosCon, where there was a sexual harassment claim from LosCon 2013 and the way they handled it was a kangaroo court demanding the girl prove what happened (with the man standing next to her), and she was slut shamed by Jerry Pournelle and other "judges" who said (or agreed with) the sentiment of "If she can't grow up and say no, it's her fault."

      Note, too, that former female members of LASFS (they left the club after this incident) said that there were always a few guys that they were told, as adolescents, to "Don't be alone with." So that's the culture we're in: girls are told to not be alone with this guy, but the club won't kick the guy out instead.

      Fortunately, a lot of new cons are springing up with a very open, diverse, inclusive direction, and I encourage you to look for them. Usually they can be found by looking for a "Code of Conduct" on their webpage. It should be easy to find, and comprehensive. Good luck to you and your daughter, and I hope she'll be attending cons for a long time, either as a con founder or as a professional guest.

  5. Mike says:

    I've attended a lot of cons and I've never seen anything like the harassment described but maybe that's because I wasn't looking. If this many women state that this is a problem then we should take it seriously and police ourselves. If you see someone taking advantage, groping or bothering someone else, say something or get a con staffer. This should be second nature to a group of fans who are constantly bombarded with characters who do the right thing because it's the right thing to do.

  6. Brett says:

    You have to look at it from a point of view that this was all still happened 20 years ago. There just was not as high of a concentration of people getting together. The crowds and main stream public figures didn't attend con's like they do now. It turns into a mob mentality for the most part and will keep on happening until there are enough women who speak out and the con's start holding people accountable for their actions. I don't think it is just limited to men ogling and getting grabby with women. I'm pretty sure it goes both ways, just not in the same proportion. And you have to also accept that comics as well as all media objectify women, and cos play plays up to the sex factor. I am not saying any of this means that it should happen or is acceptable behavior…but you should know that if you play with fire, you could get burned. Again, not acceptable.

  7. IvanC says:

    Something has to be done however Scalzi has it wrong, the problem isn't that creepy guys aren't aware of the policy. The policy doesn't need to be posted on every single wall and pillar, they are quite aware they are doing something wrong when they do it. The convention organizers need to enforce its rules and assist anyone harassed, remove the offender and contact police if necessary.

    Creepy guy is not sitting home when he gets an email blast and only then realizes that groping women is wrong because convention organizers put it in an email.

    • gorlim says:

      Promotion of an unambiguous harassment is at least as much for the people who will potentially be victims of it (so they know where to turn to), not so much for the creepy guys (who will probably not change).

    • Chris Salter says:

      Two reasons. gorlim pointed out one. The other: A lot of the way creepers get away with creeping is by saying "Oh, I didn't know that X was considered harassment". You're always going to have grey areas but having a clear policy that spells out a bunch of the things that do count as harassment goes a long way to making that defense invalid. And there are actually creepers who don't realise their actions constitute creeping, who do modify their actions (and sometimes seek out more information and become genuine non-creepers) when they find out that they're wrong.

  8. Nerdwentmainstream says:

    Sex doesn't exist in San Diego or comic Con. Whatever are these women talking about?! Laughable that they even feel that because they work in comics that men shouldn't touch her ass at a party. What kind of rated G parties did she think people went to? Sex is real people, and wherever there are people, there is sex. Dont dress like a skank cos player, and expect men to not stare or want to grab. If it's on display you're ready to play. Nothing has changed in 3,000 years, except peoples expectations have become retarded of how the world is supposed to behave. Maybe if they went to comic conventions instead of MEDIA-BLITZ-BIGBUDGET-COSPLAY-GAMER-SEMI-NERDbut-NOLONGERNERDY Con things would be different…..NAHHHHH!!!!

    • Jen says:

      Oh my lord! Please reread what you have written, you are a arse.

    • Brenda says:

      What has changed in 3000 years is that Women and Men are equals and as such deserve to be treated like equals. Respect each other. This is not about sex, but respect. How a woman or man dresses has nothing to do with being treated with respect.

    • Other Jen says:

      As I started reading your comment I was thinking, "Oh, this guy is stating the extreme view for parody…" Then I realized you were serious and seriously an idiot.

      I didn't know that wherever there were people there is sex! That is crazy!!! I mean… at work!? and restaurants!? and at baseball games!? Is this one of those tap your toes three times to get laid kind of thing? What is the secret code!?!? You need to fill the rest of us in so that we can all start having more sex! This kind of thing should not be kept secret!

    • recoveringfrommanic-depression says:

      how long have you been out of your cave for? I assume you have no daughters.

    • John says:

      Another awful, sexist, uber-nerd speaks from his twisted, asocial point of view. You are an embarrassment to all male-kind.

  9. Mike says:

    As an adult male comic fan, if I saw someone being disrespectful or inappropriate towards anyone (male or female regardless of costume) I would feel compelled to stop them. How could people who idolize superheroes allow something like this to get out of control? The cosplay people are part of the magic in the atmosphere at these type of events. They work hard to bring to life the characters that we all love, and they do it out of their own pocket on their own time. I would have a big problem if someone was doing something to ruin that. Be the hero people. Stop the creepy bad guys.

  10. There is no excuse for this behaviour. The problem is that these creepy guys were not brought up properly by their parents, and were given everything they wanted and had life too easy.

    They were never taught the meaning of the words “no” and “inappropriate behaviour”.

    This could be a good learning curve for the organisers to employ security guards at the conventions to deal with the offenders and have them thrown out and put on a ‘do not admit’ warning list in the future.

    • Victor M says:

      I believe that is an excellent idea. Persons caught harassing others should be immediately booted and banned from returning to the event. Maybe that would get the message across that this behavior will not be tolerated.

  11. Doggie says:

    Um, she was grabbed at a party, not at Comic Con. Besides, these women are looking for trouble…they wear super sexy outfits. Some wear only police tape over their privates….NOTHING else. Gee, wonder why they are treated poorly.

    • The Raspberry Unicorn says:

      So basically what you are saying is that these women are asking to be sexually harassed and/or assaulted? Do you honestly think when women are sexually assaulted/raped that it happens because of what they're wearing? That is the most absurd and ridiculous logic I've ever heard. I hope you don't have a daughter, or ever do for that matter. Go back to the dark ages dude. How embarrassing for you….

    • @MKnight302 says:

      Classic case of victim blaming. They are treated poorly because entitled men such as yourself think they have a RIGHT to treat them poorly. If I saw a guy in a g-string and nothing else, I would *never* think I had the right to touch them without permission. Ever. Got it? Sadly, I don't think you ever will.

    • MegaBadFox says:

      No matter what someone is wearing, that is not an invitation for that person to get molested. Even if that person is running down the street naked, that doesn't make it okay for someone to assault them. How would you like it if you wore a nerdy shirt and someone randomly kicked you in the shin because they don't like that particular series and you should have known better than to flaunt it in front of them? You can make jokes about how "Oh, if it was universally-reviled series X, then I deserve it!" but the fact is, if someone laid their hands on you in an invasive manner without your permission, for any reason, you would be angry about it, and rightfully so.

  12. Iowa Book says:

    I met Harlan Ellison years ago at my job at a bookstore in the midwest. He was arrogant troll then and I guess his behavior hasn't changed any.

  13. RaeMi says:

    That was supposed to say skanky or slutty… my phone autocorrect for me. :-/

  14. Guest says:

    If you see harassment at a convention, be a hero – and pull in security (they are everywhere) and have them talk to the woman involved. I've seen too many creepy "I'll save you from this loser" attempts by guys that have no better intentions. Don't insert yourself into the situation. It makes things worse.

  15. B Schwartz says:

    Forty-three years attending comic conventions and I've never seen nor heard of anything like this. Guess I've been going to the wrong shows.

  16. Wilson says:

    Well then try this for more information: http://www.goldenlasso.net/ending-convention-rape

  17. Mikk says:

    As a woman going to cons I’ve been very lucky that I’ve never had to deal with creepers. I do happen to be taller and stronger than most women so that might play into it. They being said, I’ve had friends get creeped on and grabbed and I’ve witnessed it many times just wandering the floor. It’s not just at geek-out cons like comic book or anime themed ones, I’ve also seen some godawful creeping at GDC and Macworld. All the men who keep posting “I’ve been going to cons for xx years and never seen this” should open their eyes and look around next time. Look at the expressions on women’s faces when a male con-goer is taking a picture or standing close. And if you ask to take pictures of someone or with someone, again look at their faces. If they look uncomfortable you should probably back off. The call for a more defined harassment policy is definitely for the victims, so they can feel safe when calling for security that they will be believed.

    • Mikk says:

      Also, I’d like to point out that it can go te other way too. Men get sexually harassed at cons, by both men and women. Unfortunately they’re even less likely to speak up because of social stigmas.

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