Love also emailed Fan Expo and said the reply she received was “inadequate” and felt like a complete brush off. Pirko had a more worrying response:
They stated that their attendees and their team were adults, and it was all a bit of fun that people wouldn’t take seriously. A direct quote from the email ’We thought about clarifying that cuddles must come with consent, but we thought if we’re always putting the rules in front of the fun – well that hurts the spirit of Fan Expo as much as the people that try to abuse our rules.” They also stated that they hadn’t gotten around to putting their harassment policy up yet, but had made it a priority.
Reminding people not to harass other attendees only makes the convention less “fun” for those who were inclined to harass in the first place. For everyone else, it reassures them they can have real fun in a safe environment with fellow fans.
To put this letter into context first, on their website they were advertising tickets as follows: “Come in out of the cold and Cuddle a Cosplayer”
Despite that being VERY skeezy, and completely against everything CONsent stands for (and though they did change it to (with consent) after a little bit of outcry) - the finer points of the discussion/controversy can be read on this article here == > FanExpo “Cuddle a Cosplayer”
Now, as a cosplayer myself I’m… offended, upset… I really don’t know. First of all you are encouraging your attendees to ‘cuddle’ us. Who knows what this entails as it is really pretty open ended and people can view ‘cuddling’ as different things. Not only are you encouraging them, you’re almost PROMISING them that they’re allowed to do so. By buying a ticket from you, you are letting them know that they are allowed to touch us. Did you email every single cosplayer to ask our permission? No of course you didn’t, that would be silly, it’s also sort of impossible. But that impossibility gives you absolutely NO right to use us in your marketing while possibly putting us at risk of some sort of sexual harassment.
Second of all, and this one is really just silly, but you used us in your marketing ploy. What should I do? I’m a cosplayer? I bought a ticket… should I go… stand in that corner over there and cuddle myself??? If you’re planning on using the amount of cosplayers that come to your convention as a draw for the General Public… maybe you should start offering some sort of discount for cosplayers, like show up in costume get $5 off.
While my second point is really just silly, over all you are treating us less than what we are. Yes we’re cosplayers, but we’re still human beings. By opening the door you have you have opened the door to so many potential problems, that of course you will never have to deal with, because you aren’t the underaged girl walking around in a pokemon costume about to be groped by an adult male who thinks she’s cute, but hey that’s okay right? FanExpo HQ said they could ‘cuddle’ a cosplayer, that’s what it said when they bought their ticket… try telling that to every young cosplayer male and female who will quit the hobby or be emotionally scarred because of conventions like you opening that door for creepers to creep and make it ok because you let them pay for that ‘right’.
Had one of those moments where you’ve spent so much time, effort, and money on a costume, that there are literal blood sweat and tears in it?
And then all of a sudden just hate it, and everything, and want to throw it out? :|