I was planning to attend DragonCon this year. The Georgia-based convention is the biggest of its kind in my part of the country, and gives those of us too far away from Los Angeles some of our only opportunities to meet folks like Leonard Nimoy or Bruce Campbell.
But there's an ugly side to the convention that doesn't get much press. From the ground, I'm sure it looks just like any other convention, cluttered with fanboys, geekgirls and a legion of cosplayers. But the money raised from the event has been going to help pay the legal expenses of an accused sexual predator. Here's what writer NANCY A. COLLINS has to say about it:
"DragonCon has had over 12 years to sever ties with this man, but has failed to do so. Although the convention’s chairman has bought enough shares from Ed Kramer to qualify as the controlling shareholder, Kramer refuses to be bought out. No matter what DragonCon does or says, funds from the convention will continue to go to Edward Kramer until either he dies or the corporation that runs the convention dissolves and reincorporates under another name. DragonCon knows what needs to be done, but has been dragging its feet on this matter, and has gone to great trouble over the last 12 years to hide the fact that they continue to fund Edward Kramer’s lifestyle. But now the cat’s out of the bag (in large part due to Kramer’s own decision to sue them for a larger share of the convention’s profits) and there’s no putting it back in."
There's lots of documentation out there concerning Kramer's charges, which aren't difficult to find. Artist STEVEN BISSETTE had this to say about Collins' effort to educate people on how their money was being spent:
"Her struggle to get the word out has cost her dearly: personally, professionally, and those consequences have been very real and lasting, too.Now that there are public confirmations and articles vindicating Nancy and everything Nancy has been battling to warn folks about, the worm(s) are turning—though she has yet to receive a single public (or private) apology from the many professionals who maligned her and her work while they were busily defending DragonCon and its association with Kramer. Thus, Nancy has been pre-emptively “punished” for years now for speaking up and speaking out about what she perceived as a dangerous situation that continued to put children in harm’s way."I mention this not in an effort to convince you stay away from the event, but you should know how your money is being spent. The Kramer case will definitely play a role in my decision on whether or not I'll be attending this year. It would have been the first trip for both my wife and myself, and we'd planned to go cosplay crazy (she's been itching to try out her ideas for a Snake Plissken costume.) Considering all of the unfinished business concerning DragonCon's finances, though, the whole thing just feels gross. While the convention isn't engineered to intentionally protect or shelter an potential sexual predator, the organizers could do more to distance themselves from the case. Instead, it seems doing nothing has proven easier ... and more lucrative.