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January 27th, 2014


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ron_newman
04:23 pm - This person was harassed at Arisia by a non-registered attendee (ghost)
twistpeach has posted this account of being harassed at Arisia by someone who was not registered for the con.

(hat tip to shadesong for bringing this to public attention)

(22 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:tikva
Date:January 27th, 2014 09:50 pm (UTC)
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Arisia staff were excellent this year at dealing with harassment and violations of the code of conduct. I also brought an issue to them (of a different nature), and I was taken seriously, reassured, and supported, and the issue and person were dealt with swiftly. I don't know everything about the outcome, but I was relieved and impressed. Well done.
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From:cogitationitis
Date:January 28th, 2014 04:00 am (UTC)
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Good to hear. We've been working hard on it over the past couple of years.
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From:n1jdu
Date:January 27th, 2014 11:34 pm (UTC)
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Not directly a comment on this issue ...

I am always a "day tripper" to the con's I attend. I have never been to a con party, or (other than the Masquerade) any evening event. It appears that just about anyone can attend a party (other than restricted / private / invitation only ones) Arisia member on not. The hotel corridors are not part of the con, and (it seems) the folks running a party have the responsibility of restricting entrants to members or not.

As for evening dances, pretty much the same I'm guessing (are there security people checking badges?) I've seen videos posted with people I know who are not likely to have purchased memberships dancing around having fun. (not having asked them, I can't be sure)

Sleazeball people will come from all ranks (members on not) and not all "ghosts" are bad people.
[User Picture]
From:totient
Date:January 27th, 2014 11:51 pm (UTC)
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not all "ghosts" are bad people

Indeed. I ghosted the first Arisia, and went on to chair it six (and sixteen) years later. But I also didn't try to go to any of the convention functions, nor did I cause trouble.

That said, we can totally kick people out of the hotel whether they're in function space or not, and routinely do so as the next step after kicking them out of the convention. Their failure to buy a badge doesn't help them with this.
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From:twistpeach
Date:February 11th, 2014 03:34 pm (UTC)
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FYI, I met my boyfriend of two years when he was ghosting the con. He had just run into me on the dance floor and asked a security staff member how to approach me. The staff person advised him to go talk to me, asked for his badge, and when he confessed to ghosting, promptly booted him out into the hallway where I was fatefully loitering. The rest, as they say, is history.

p.s. We hunt down the security person every year to let him know we're still together (and show him our badges) :D
[User Picture]
From:bovil
Date:January 27th, 2014 11:54 pm (UTC)
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Believe me, I know sleazeballs who are desperate to gain membership, and get all upset when their bad behavior puts them in the "no membership for you!" category.

But ghosts?

Hotel rooms with parties in them happen because the convention negotiated the appropriate agreements with the hotel. Try throwing a big party in a hotel room without a convention's hotel contract, and you'll find out what hotels do in normal circumstances.

Some conventions have rules for party hosts that do not permit random non-attendees in parties.

The best ghosts are still freeloaders, taking advantage of the membership dollars paid by attendees, and the volunteer hours put in by the staff. The community is not the event. The event is put on by the staff for its members, not some nebulous "community."

The ghosts who aren't registering as a protest? If you want to protest, don't go. It's that simple. Don't protest on the backs of people who aren't supporting your protest. If the convention or its organizers suck so bad, why be there in the first place?

Ghosts who are convention staffers at other conventions (like this bozo)? The ultimate professional discourtesy. They know what goes into putting together an event and how tight budgets often are.

It's not a question of whether ghosts are bad people. They can be good people, but they shouldn't feel entitled to be at the con.
[User Picture]
From:clauclauclaudia
Date:January 28th, 2014 01:18 am (UTC)
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This started out coherent and degenerated into a series of loosely related observations. I'll just point out that I haven't been Arisia staff in years and I speak only for myself.

Arisia hit its attendance cap this year on Friday night sometime, after which point the choice was freeload vs miss entirely. And Arisia hasn't really had (afaik) a policy of parties having to let in only people with badges. Which are together a reasonable excuse IMO for people without badges to attend room parties of hosts who don't mind. But not to attend the dances, etc.

Big function spaces at Arisia like Art Show, Masquerade and Dealers room have volunteers on the door checking for badges. I don't know if the dances ever have.

If someone without a badge who I didn't know came to our room party, I'd find it weird cuz we're just a bunch of friends and randoms hanging out, but whatever, if they were well-behaved. We do sometimes invite folks without memberships to drop by, because circumstances. If they were behaving as in the Rocket Fuel part of this story, they would be shown a security badge and the door in one order or the other.


But the main point of mentioning that this guy was a ghost is, I think, to say, "Arisia is taking action. Arisia couldn't have yanked his membership, because he didn't have one." Although I do think it is esSPECially your responsibility to behave well if you are ghosting, and it's understandable for people to be wary about ghosts since the con has less control over them.


Needless to say, no excuses suffice for the behavior described in the original complaint. A thousand times more so for the further complaint under the trigger warnings.
[User Picture]
From:bovil
Date:January 28th, 2014 02:34 am (UTC)
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Don't worry, degenerated isn't unusual in a difficult discussion. It's a sign of thought, exploration, and avoiding the easy path.

But the main point of mentioning that this guy was a ghost is, I think, to say, "Arisia is taking action. Arisia couldn't have yanked his membership, because he didn't have one."

And that's great. It avoids turning the incident into a "this kind of thing doesn't happen here" narrative. I'm dealing with a professional-life one of those, and it's made a spectacular splash in the press. Those things do happen here, because we're just people.
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From:tisiphone
Date:January 28th, 2014 08:47 am (UTC)
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Arisia hit its attendance cap this year on Friday night sometime, after which point the choice was freeload vs miss entirely.

The date of Arisia is fixed. It's been on MLK weekend for the past 23 years, AFAIK. It's also not a secret that it routinely hits its attendance cap. In my opinion, anyone who hadn't bought a ticket by Friday afternoon had already made the choice not to attend.
[User Picture]
From:vvalkyri
Date:January 28th, 2014 04:20 pm (UTC)
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That's not really fair, particularly with it being opposite mystery hunt. Every other year it has remained possible to buy day memberships; I ran into one friend in the hall who only found there were no Sunday memberships when he got there. I think he ended up just going out to dinner with folks, but I wouldn't have blamed him at all for going to a bunch of parties.
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From:bovil
Date:January 28th, 2014 05:47 pm (UTC)
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A growth curve indicates that a cap that wasn't met in the past will eventually be met, and sooner.

I wasn't at Arisia this year, but I did see a lot of official convention activity on social media spreading the word that cap was close to being reached each day, and when it was reached.

I'm going to Gallifrey One in a few weeks. They had a live count on their registration site showing how close they were to cap. It sold out in 17 days. 10 months before the con. For the second year in a row, there are no day memberships. There has been continuous social meida activity explaining the cap and that the con sold out.

Yet there are still fans complaining how the convention is ruining their lives.

Sexual harassment ruins lives. Too many events on the same weekend? Missing a con because you didn't prioritize it or plan for it? Not so much.
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From:vvalkyri
Date:January 28th, 2014 06:50 pm (UTC)
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I'm sorry - it seems I wasn't all that clear. Your assertion that "In my opinion, anyone who hadn't bought a ticket by Friday afternoon had already made the choice not to attend," given that this was the first year Arisia had hit cap in that way, and given that many locals do show up for a day membership, seemed . . . an unsupportable assertion.

So perhaps I should have said "that's not a really fair assumption" or perhaps instead "that's not a really logical conclusion given the circumstance."

Apparently you think I meant it was unfair to disallow more people after the cutoff or to prohibit people from coming in without con badges.

Or perhaps your implication that my comment means I think sexual harassment is an appropriate price to pay for people not being disappointed about capped membership is really fallout from whatever's going on with Gallifrey One.

:shrug:

(re social media, facebook is incredibly unpredictable, and not everyone is even on facebook. perhaps had there been an email blast to everyone who had ever bought a membership or day membership before /then/ one could argue there was no excuse for not knowing the con would hit cap by friday and there would no longer be memberships.)

but all of this is off topic from the main post.
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From:bovil
Date:January 28th, 2014 08:49 pm (UTC)
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I did not imply that you thought sexual harassment was the cost of disappointment. You inferred that.

I did explicitly state that disappointment wasn't equal to sexual harassment (the core topic of the reports). Even when entitled fan histrionics tries to make disappointment into a life-destroying problem.

I understand the disappointment of not being able to get a membership.

I also don't see that disappointment as a justification for ghosting.

And, tangentially, caps do come into the sexual harassment discussion. Most conventions institute a cap because they want to maintain something that's important to the organizers. That might be a safe attendee load for the facility. It might be a comfortable staff/attendee ratio so operations/security can deal with incidents. Or it might be maintaining a particular community culture (which, to be fair, has to be a pretty low cap to be truly effective).

Ghosting under a cap, even if you're not going to the official convention functions, adversely impacts the convention's ability to maintain a safe environment, if maintaining a safe environment is the reason for the cap.
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From:dda
Date:January 29th, 2014 02:10 am (UTC)
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We were bumped from MLK Jr. weekend at least once at the Park Plaza due to the hotel making a mistake.

As for hitting cap, it hasn't happened before at this hotel that I'm aware of; the Hyatt was smaller and although we had fewer attendees then, we did hit it at least one year.

Arisia cannot require badges for public areas of the hotel (including room floor hallways as I believe we are not the only folks in the hotel).

None of that excuses being in function space without a badge so unless one's circumstances prevent it, I always recommend just buying a weekend membership rather than take the chance that day badges won't be available on Saturday. We did try to spread the word that we would probably hit cap (which probably made it a self-fulfilling prophecy!)
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From:archangelbeth
Date:January 28th, 2014 01:58 am (UTC)
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Thank you for the heads-up! And glad to know that Arisia, and other cons, are taking steps.
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From:killpurakat
Date:January 28th, 2014 04:00 am (UTC)
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Ugh. Terrible that she had to put up with that, but kudos on how she and the Arisia staff dealt with it (and are still dealing with it).

I just don't get people like this. >:( Heck, I was walking around with a riding crop toy and got asked by several people to spank them (or take pics that looked like I was doing so), and even with that permission I was extremely hesitant and careful to not do anything to threaten anyone.
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From:radio__america
Date:January 28th, 2014 04:40 am (UTC)
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He's known within the younger cosplay community for being a total creepy predator. I didn't see him at Arisia, but if I had - I would have brought it to staff attention. He's a creep to the max.
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From:laura47
Date:January 28th, 2014 09:43 am (UTC)
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I knew him through LARPing, and I just didn't realize how bad he was, I just thought I was put off by weird personal interactions soon after meeting him.
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From:myselftheliar
Date:January 28th, 2014 04:05 pm (UTC)
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Seconding this- I have had problems with him at other conventions.
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From:tisiphone
Date:January 28th, 2014 08:48 am (UTC)
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I'm impressed by the reported handling of the incident by staffers. Arisia can't prevent people from being creepy on the premises, but it looks like they're doing the right things to deal with it when it happens.
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From:sodyera
Date:January 28th, 2014 12:01 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for repeating this. I'd noticed a distinct undercurrent of negative incidents throughout what was otherwise a nice weekend. I had a couple, which were minor, but even minor incidents mar an overall positive event, because those are what surface first in the memory.
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From:herbertinc
Date:January 28th, 2014 03:41 pm (UTC)
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I agree. I've stopped going to Arisia in the past few years due to the almost inevitable event of ending up in an enclosed space with a past assailant (for something that did not happen at a con) who is a frequent panelist at the con. After the assault, that mental stress always negatively colored the fon for me, andd even over five years later, just isn't something I want to deal with.

But I am very glad people are speaking up more and that they are being listened and responded to with seriousness and respect.

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