3 JUNE 2014
A few days back, CCI Marketing and PR Director David Glanzer gave an insightful interview to Comic Book Resources' Albert Ching that covered his feelings on the anti-harassment petition created by GeeksforCONsent. As I noted here, one of his chief fears was that a new policy would make the media think there was a harassment problem at SDCC. He seemed to genuinely believe that ignoring the petition would prevent this, even though it was obvious to me and many others that the PR harassment horse was already out of the barn and needed to be harnessed fast.
And of course now headlines are multiplying across outlets like rabbits, talking about "Comic-Con's Harassment Problem." (See Comics Alliance and Slate and The Beat and Voice of San Diego for just a few.) I really wish it hadn't come to this, especially when the media is still electric with articles on Elliot Rodger and responses to Arthur Chu's Your Princess is in Another Castle. But maybe the dialogue will force some positive action.
My view is that CCI has a golden opportunity before them. This is a chance to release a statement that says something about how San Diego Comic-Con is a great community, but they're also part of the convention community at large and they're aware of the conversation on harassment within that wider community. And so they feel it's their responsibility as the biggest and most popular pop culture convention to be the vanguard with a firm new policy that will blaze the trail for all other conventions - because they care not just about the safety of their own attendees but that of the fan community at large.
If they spin it like that, they will: sound progressive, please the petition people and suggest subtly that harassment isn't a problem at San Diego so much as at other Cons, but they're going to be magnanimous and set a good example. That is the way they can turn the media tide in their favor and silence their detractors.
But this is CCI - so I expect we'll see a few bumps before this gets settled.
What exactly does the petition ask for? I don't understand what these girls want.ReplyDelete
You can see the petition here: http://www.change.org/petitions/it-s-time-for-comic-con-to-take-harassment-seriously-insist-they-create-a-thorough-harassment-policyReplyDelete
They're asking for a mechanism to report harassment, with visible on-site support, signage on the zero-tolerance policy, information on how to report harassment and volunteer training on how to respond to reports. Not all harassment at the Con is men groping or saying lewd things to female cosplayers, but that is the scenario that's defining the issue right now. That's why other Cons are using the "Costumes are not consent" posters to remind people to be respectful.
I've encountered a lot of skepticism these last few days from Con attendees who refuse to believe this is a real problem. I'd suggest starting with the petition link above and following some of the links from there to understand why some people are so upset.