Concentrate: This Week in Con News (May 1)

After a week off, we’re back! This is Concentrate, our weekly news feature where we boil down the week’s news from the convention circuit plus share our calendar of the weekend’s upcoming conventions.

The past three weeks have seen a number of conventions begin to take a deliberate stance on the presence of GamerGate, an internet-based movement that members claim is fighting for improved ethics in video game journalism; critics have labeled it a hate group, following a bevy of threats made toward female game developers.

The "cosplay is not consent" signage at NYCC and other ReedPOP shows. Photo by Rachel Lovinger (mirka23) on Flickr.

The “cosplay is not consent” signage at NYCC and other ReedPOP shows. Photo by Rachel Lovinger (mirka23) on Flickr.

Harassment at conventions has been an issue for many years, with groups like Geeks for CONsent popping up to pressure conventions into adopting more specific anti-harassment policies. However, most of these campaigns have been focused on cosplayers. ReedPOP has notably posted prominent “cosplay is not consent” signs around their conventions, and drafted a new anti-harassment policy with the assistance of The Mary Sue.

But the GamerGate response has been different, with several shows now leaning on their existing anti-harassment policies to remove disruptive parties from the show. Three weeks ago, Calgary Expo booted a group of exhibitors selling GamerGate-related merchandise for disrupting a women in comics panel. Last weekend, RavenCon removed an attendee from a panel after he made threats of harassment against the panelist on social media. And this week, Denver Comic Con defended their “harassment is defined by the victim” policy after being bombarded by GamerGate-affliated fans on their Twitter and Facebook pages. Denver CC summed up their attitude toward the group:

Here’s the bottom line: wear shirts with GG on it or don’t. If it causes no issues, then well your point is proven, right? But if it starts a bunch of trouble, the people starting said trouble can go right back out the way they came in, sans a badge. We are not spending any more time on this. We have [a] show to run.

The vast majority of attendees at these shows likely have no idea of the drama going on behind the scenes – few are probably even aware of GamerGate at all. But as conventions begin to attract a bigger, more diverse audience, zero-tolerance attitudes towards disruptions and harassment will be on the rise.

  • It’s Free Comic Book Day tomorrow! Even if you don’t have a local convention, at many local comic book shops this is kind of a mini-con (some are even billing it as such) – so come on out, pick up something new to read, see your local cosplayers (or even wear your own), and maybe meet a creator or two! If you don’t have an LCS, be sure to check your local library – many are also running FCBD events. Find your local event here, and check out how big the event has grown on The Beat.
  • Con Man, the Alan Tudyk-helmed webseries about a washed up sci-fi star doing the convention circuit, officially has a distributor – Vimeo will carry the series through their on demand service.
  • Tickets on sale this week:
  • Don’t forget that Monday is May the 4th – as in, May the Fourth Be With You, Star Wars day – in case you’re already experiencing withdrawal from Star Wars Celebration. There are a whole bunch of deals available, and thinks you should throw a party. Or just make all that Star Wars themed food and eat it at home while marathoning the original trilogy. Hey, your call.

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What’s Happening This Week (Wednesday, April 29 – Tuesday, May 5)

Organizers: hosting a con soon? Fans: want to help get the word out about your favorite event? Contact us to have it added to the calendar.

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