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And That's Terrible

Finding Comic-Con International’s Harassment Policy


Harassment in the geek sphere has been a hot topic as of late. Whether it comes anonymously over the internet or in person, harassment is something many are finally looking to put a stop to, or at the very least, create consequences for, in our community. So when we personally witnessed something we felt fell squarely in this category and looked into how we could put an end to it, why did we find a roadblock? 

Like many of you, we here at The Mary Sue reached our Network-inspired, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” stance a while ago. But in case you haven’t, here are some harassment posts we’ve run over the last twelve months:

Fast foward to Friday of this year’s Comic-Con International: San Diego. A post on HitFix.com was brought to our attention by a reader. The title alone should tell you why we felt the need to speak up – “Comic-Con 2013: 15 amazing butts in costume.”

I don’t encourage clicking through but suffice to say, as it sounds, the post is a gallery of Comic-Con attendees’ posteriors. These photos were not posed, but mostly blurry images taken on the sly of both men and women at the convention. While attendees agree to be photographed or videotaped when they purchase their ticket and enter the San Diego Convention Center, these photos seem not only a gross misuse of that rule, but also harassment of unsuspecting con-goers. I tweeted about the situation to let them know this was not OK behavior from my point of view, and also spoke to the recent outcry of the “Cosplay ≠ Consent“ campaign.

Legally, are they allowed to take these photos? Yes, but doing so in this particular way makes them look like bullies. I’m sure there are plenty of Comic-Con attendees who would have willingly posed for a shot of their rear if they were asked politely. Instead, they took “creeper” shots. In framing the photos this way (an interpretation supported by the author of the post), they firmly establish the intended value of the gallery is not simply in objectifying the body parts of Comic-Con attendees, but doing so against their will, without their permission or knowledge.

After my initial tweet was retweeted over fifty times with no response from HitFix, I wrote two more tweets; one to the author of the post Liana Maeby and another at HitFix Executive Editor Daniel Fienberg. Maeby’s own tweet publicizing the post on her account read, “Hey, creeps. I made you a gallery of Comic-Con butts.” It has since been deleted but here is a screenshot I took from the website Topsy, which keeps tweets even after deletion for some time.

Fienberg replied to my tweet with, “There are people above me. I understand the concerns and will make sure they’re voiced.” The post remains active.

While HitFix seemingly had no interest in the issue, conventions (and those who frequent them) have been taking harassment, and the conversation surrounding it, more seriously as of late. In fact, writer John Scalzialong with a thousand others, took a stand to say he wouldn’t attend a con without a harassment policy. Some conventions, like CONvergence, even went so far as to create posters to make the point clear – harassment is not OK at this convention.

And then there’s Intervention, an event specifically created to be a different kind of con but which also takes pride at being a safe space for women and members of the LGBTQ community. Their harassment policy is clearly stated on their attendees’ rules page.

So you can understand our surprise when we looked for something similar on the website of one of the largest events in the geek community and came up empty. I scoured the Comic-Con website looking for a harassment policy specifically to see if there was a note for members of the press. When we did our story on PAX East harassment, Robert Khoo, President of Penny Arcade, Inc. told us, “Our media guests are expected to behave in a professional manner, and it was clear to us this particular individual crossed that line. We got in touch with the outlet and the individual during the show, and that particular journalist is no longer welcome at PAX. We want everyone at PAX to feel welcome and comfortable.”

But again, our search for this policy, or something similar, on Comic-Con’s official website yielded no results. I turned to Twitter to ask if anyone else knew where their harassment policy might be and was directed to a post by Greg van Eekhout from earlier in the year, which quoted this:

Attendees must respect commonsense rules for public behavior, personal interaction, common courtesy, and respect for private property. Harassing or offensive behavior will not be tolerated. Comic-Con reserves the right to revoke, without refund, the membership and pass of any attendee not in compliance with this policy. Persons finding themselves in a situation where they feel their safety is at risk or who become aware of an attendee not in compliance with this policy should immediately locate a member of security or a staff member, so that the matter can be handled in an expeditious manner.

But where did he get this paragraph from? A photo (taken by Lea Hernandez, spotted by David Seidman) of a page from last year’s Comic-Con events guide. We found it a bit odd this information wouldn’t have a prominent place on their website, especially considering all the recent discussions on the topic, so we emailed Comic-Con PR in order to find out if they were aware of this particular issue or the HitFix post. We received an automated reply since their team was “on site” at the convention. We followed-up with another request, which was met with an automated reply saying their offices were closed.

In a post Wired ran the week before Comic-Con 2013, they mentioned reaching out for information about harassment policies as well. “Wired asked a Comic-Con representative to outline the training provided to volunteers and staff members but received no response. In a previous conversation with Wired, [Director of Marketing and Public Relations] David Glanzer said the convention has ‘no tolerance for harassment’ and ‘encourage[s] anyone who feels they’re being harassed to contact a member of security or staff.’”

But how are guests supposed to know about this “no tolerance” policy and what it entails if it’s not front and center or easily accessible?

Oni Hartstein, Co-Founder of Intervention, spoke to us about the importance of a clearly stated and publicly available harassment policy.

“Harassment policies educate the public on what is and isn’t acceptable while it also lets attendees know that we are here for them and that they shouldn’t fear coming forward if they feel threatened,” she said. “I founded Intervention based on my personal experiences as an independent artist and as a woman. I’ve personally been on the receiving end of harassment – I’ve been touched without my consent at cons and verbally harassed. [Trigger warning] Outside of cons I’ve had my face broken over a table by a guy who wanted to ‘put me in my place.’”

She added, “Most importantly I wanted people to know that they shouldn’t fear coming forward if they feel harassed or threatened in any way.”

Once more, we reached out to Comic-Con PR for clarity on the topic and were happy to receive a human reply. We reiterated our questions as to whether or not they were aware of the HitFix post, if they have a policy of revoking press privileges to press guests who are causing issues for attendees, and if any action was going to be taken in this particular case. We also asked if a harassment policy was posted on the Comic-Con website for everyone to view in case we had missed it.

Glanzer replied:

We were not aware of this posting previous to your email. Yes, Comic-Con does have a harassment policy which is written into the Events Guide. The Events Guide is handed to and/or made available to each attendee.

I cannot comment on specifics regarding any complaint, however, each incident is handled on a case by case basis, as are the decisions on how best to prevent the issue from occurring again.

I hope this answers your questions.

Glanzer’s response still leaves us with a few questions. Among them, the issue of not commenting on the complaint when the complaint in question was submitted by me (by his own admission this is the first he’s heard of the Hitfix article, and so cannot be refusing to comment on someone else’s complaint process) and whether or not there was a policy in place specifically for the press. It’s deplorable to us that some individuals still feel that making fun or exploiting the bodies of others is the best way to cover an event. However, it’s more concerning to see Comic-Con not take every possible step to prevent harassment in the first place.

What reason is there to not have their harassment policy posted prominently on their official site (or exist on the site at all)? Perhaps it could be displayed as a prompt when a ticket is purchased or sent along with the email confirmation they send to everyone attending. It would certainly ensure more attendees, press or otherwise, were aware of the policy than hoping they read through the entire Events Guide which, if you’ve never seen one, is usually over 200 pages long.

As a leader, if not the leader, in the fan convention circuit, shouldn’t Comic-Con also be leading the way by fostering a safe space for all, instead of being one of the last to jump on the bandwagon?

[UPDATE] Since posting, convention goers have reached out to us to say they’ve emailed their local cons to ask about their specific harassment policies. We’ll continue to update this page with conventions that do have a clear, and easily found, harassment policy. Please feel free to send us others.

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  • Anonymous

    Well if it makes you feel any better, Dragon*Con’s harassment policy is: “Don’t be a jerk.”

  • Anonymous

    I had panic attacks before I went to ’12 Comic Con, due to crap like this. I also couldn’t find their harassment policy, not to mention all the horror stories. I was privileged enough to not be harassed (as far as I know, ie possible creeper photos) and had a good time. However, this is complete and utter BS. Definitely something I think twice about before going to Comic Con again.

  • Anonymous

    Yeeeah, kinda need to be more specific then that. I mean, if the big name cons want to keep pandering to the predators, go ahead. All of us who want a safe space will just keep making other cons to go to. Definitely not a long term solution, but there it is.

  • http://elisabethflaum.wordpress.com/ Elwyne

    Yay, another reason to avoid SDCC.

    We should get this image on buttons to wear to/distribute at cons everywhere. No one can argue with Wil. http://dontbeadickday.com/

  • Anonymous

    This saddens me more than you can imagine, as a male I’m embarrassed every time I hear stories of harassment and think about the fact that it’s men who should know better doing this. San Diego is the premiere event, and for it to not have a policy is sad.

  • Catherine Kramer LaFrance

    Great article — I’ve only attended two local cons so far, and I’ve not yet had a chance to cosplay; potential harassment deters me.

    But here’s my discussion question: What, if any, relation is there between physical harassment at cons (even to the point of physical violence, as Ms. Hartstein describes in her quote) and domestic abuse? I know domestic abuse is hard to document, as many women fear their partners’ retaliation should the women attempt to escape or pursue legal action; are women (and men, too!) afraid to come forward if they are being harassed at cons?

    Might the spotlight on eliminating harassment/violence between acquaintances/strangers help to underscore the importance of eliminating domestic abuse?

    Not trying to be a Debbie Downer here, nor am I in an abusive relationship myself. I just don’t like unnecessary violence.

  • Civic

    Remember if cons don’t have guidelines against harassment there is always the local police.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    The local police aren’t going to track down and punish people who take creepshots, though. Just ask Reddit.

  • Jennifer Lundstrom

    For CONvergence in Minneapolis, the harassment policy is the first one listed. You can find it in one click of the main page. You also find posters throughout the con and a safe zone for anyone to go to!

  • Daniel E. Jacobs

    Dragon Con is less than month and it’s push 40 to 50 k a year… I went looking they too don’t have a word about Harassment is there anything we can do to help get them to fix that… or am I missing a page or a link?

  • Amanda Cox

    Perhaps the thing that disturbs and angers me most about the “cosplay butts” post (besides the fact that it is, indeed, beyond creepy) is the unnecessary body-shaming used against the women alone. We have the “WonderButt” and two girls in long skirts as two of the entries, but the other two posts about women are making fun of the women for not wearing any pants — which NONE of the women photographed are. The author seems to have her own idea of which people deserve to be wearing certain cosplays, and which people are just there for her to torment. The men photographed all get nice little compliments, but the women? Hyper-critical, AND creepy. What a pleasant combination.

  • Bill Hedrick

    I have come to the conclusion that ComiCon is not a convention, it is an industry show that fans may attend. As such it is beholding to the industry not to the ticket buyers.

  • Bill Hedrick

    I would argue that CONvergence is the leading convention

  • Bill Hedrick

    Police generally do not roam the halls at cons on Saturday nights at 1 AM

  • http://www.socialmarvels.com/ Shaun

    I’m embarrassed to a point, but this happens every year. Every. Single. Year.

    If you want to change it it isn’t going to be going after a single publication about an article on butts – you’ll have to go after Comic Con directly.

  • LifeLessons

    Get on it Comic Con!!

  • Aaron kooienga

    For pete’s sake this type of idociey makes me ashamed to be a man harassment is harassment and I just don’t understand in what world this would even be thought of as the least bit okay.

  • Ryan Colson

    It’s “behave like a jerk and we may throw you out”.
    Srsly.

  • Anonymous

    I kind of started to laugh at the paragraph where it said that ‘Attendees must respect commonsense rules for public behaviour’, because as a person who works in retail I’ve learned long ago that people don’t use common sense. When You expect people to use commonsense, that is when you will be sorely disappointed. There needs to be rules for people to follow and people who are trained to keep them to make sure that they are followed.
    Of course its kind of ironic that, while it is common sense for a Con to have a Harassment Policy, a con that asks for Common Sense doesn’t use it. So I’m not too surprised.

  • Daniel E. Jacobs

    that isn’t helpful I know D*C just got finished with one problem maybe they can show how much they have grown with Well worded and strong Harassment policy.

  • Anonymous

    I feel like these harassment policies may be a lot of tl;dr. Maybe if it was broken out into a FAQ, or a list of examples then more people would pay attention. Maybe we need to come up with a standard ‘How geeks and nerds should act’ website/list that cons could buy into that goes over what ‘common courtesy’ is and things like this…

  • Jon Who

    Sorry, but I have to say that while, this was tasteless, I don’t see anything that is so harsh that it would be considered harassment. These are adults going to a public function. They know what they are getting them selves into. I looked at all the pictures and read the little quotes, and it wasn’t anything against the person. There is not one person here who can say they have never said or thought anything like this when seeing someone of the pictures. Or how many have taken a picture of a stranger who is a hot mess, or a hottie? How many of you have been to the people of Walmart site, and laughed and shared pictures?? That site is harassment, it was created to shame the people. A lot of high horsers on here. I do agree that this should raise questions about what is and what’s not considered harassment, but it’s a very fine line that has to be drawn carefully.

  • Jon Who

    I know I am going to get alot of flack about this., but remember before you go pointing the finger at me, there are 4 more coming back at you. I firmly believe in my point of view. Now how much harassment am I going to get over it?

  • Anonymous

    are women (and men, too!) afraid to come forward if they are being harassed at cons?

    In my experience? Yes. Harassment generally isn’t seen as a serious issue, even outside of cons, because “it’s not like they did anything”/stop being so uppity!”/”it’s a compliment!” At a stereotypically male event, wearing skimpy costumes, doubly so.

    I don’t know if it’s always fear, exactly, but reporting harassment is a huge hassle, both policy-wise and socially. So when people talk about harassment being underreported, it’s not surprising at all. Everyone wants to be taken seriously, and there’s just no guarantee that they will be.

  • Anonymous

    I would respond to your original point, but I’m still caught up on the logistics of this four-finger-pointing thing.

    But seriously, where are you hanging out that everyone is constantly using creepshot sites?

  • Rafi Mankassirain

    As a male nerd’s who’s always dreamed of going to a Convention, I finally got my wish going to the 2013 Ottawa Comic book convention. It was breath taking, there’s just some form of magic when going to events like these, just the wonder of having all these super passionate people gathered in one place celebrating all of there various passions. Which why this harassment troubles me so. Comic con is supposed to be a safe place were people’s various differences of opinions, creed and other forms of division are washed away in the passion of being a nerd and effort and the time and all the bravery put into all those who have the courage to cosplay. Harassment is not ok, And I hope that SDCC can find away to create a policy that can ensure the safety and security of these brave people in this environment.

  • Kim Pittman

    That doesn’t stop people who attend from being harassed or make it okay. I don’t want to be groped if I go to GDC or E3 either.

  • Jon Who

    It’s called the internet. There are PLENTY of sites, blogs, and tumblrs I am sure that post shots like these. It’s not an uncommon thing. You ASSUME that I partake in these. No I don’t.

    My reasoning for the ” four-finger-pointing thing” is because I disagree with the fact that this is being called harassment, and I anticipate the people who judge me based on the fact that I disagree.

  • Kim Pittman

    It’s also worth noting that while not a “harassment policy” there are rules for behavior printed ON THE BADGE for every PAX attendee.

    1. Drugs are bad.

    2. Don’t steal.

    3. Don’t punch or kick people.

    4. No cheating.

    5. Don’t harass anyone.

    6. Don’t mess with things that aren’t yours.

    (They have added between 5 & 6 – Don’t vandalize anything!)

    And finally, Wheton’s Law – Don’t be a dick.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, we ASSUME that the guy who is rabidly defending something called creepshots (and can name examples and ideal locations to find them) actually is interested in creepshots. There is no logic to that conjecture at all. Nope. You’re just some random good samaritan desperately fighting for the right to take pictures of strangers’ private areas without consent.

  • Jon Who

    Hey genius, read EXACTLY what I wrote, and not what you think it says. I am not defending it. I was it was tasteless, and childish, but that I do not think it’s harassment. Where do you get me saying I am defending them.

    The issue is harassment. Not defense of your so called creeper shot. I said that since many have questioned the harassment policy this should be used to define what is and is not harassment.

    But right on queue, here you are to make a nasty comment. If you have ever posted a picture or “meme” of a fat person or ugly person with a funny quote, are you just as guilty?

  • Jon Who

    .

  • Ian Osmond

    Hopefully, enough harassment that you learn why you’re wrong.

    Failing that, enough harassment that you feel unwelcome and decide to avoid any of us forever. Because that would work, too.

  • Jon Who

    Are you threatening me? What happens if I decide not to leave? Do you speak for everyone on here? Is there some secret nerd gang that’s gonna get me for voicing a opposed opinion??

  • Ian Osmond

    Well, threatening to make fun of you, I guess. Does that count as threatening?

    If you decide not to leave, I will either give you a long, detailed, and well-researched explanation of basic gender theory and what harassment is, or I will make fun of you. Haven’t decided yet.

  • Ian Osmond

    Um. I haven’t ever posted a picture or meme of a fat person or ugly person with a funny quote. Have you? ‘Cause that would pretty much mean that you’re a dick.

  • Jon Who

    So you are going to harass me. Why? Because I have a different opinion?

  • Jon Who

    Have any friends who do it? Ever call them out on it, or threaten to make fun of them for it?

  • Ian Osmond

    No, actually, I don’t think I do have any friends who do that. Honestly, there are ENTIRE COMMUNITIES OF PEOPLE who think that that sort of thing is just wrong.

  • Jon Who

    Of course you haven’t it’s just only me.

  • Ian Osmond

    Well, you are assuming that you’re going to be harassed for defending harassers. Seems a shame to disappoint you.

    Defending the bad guys puts you on the side of the bad guys. Since the level of offense under discussion is harassment, that seems like a reasonable response.

  • Jon Who

    I AM NOT DEFENDING ANYONE!!! I never once said I defend it!!! I said in MY OPINION I don’t think it’s HARASSMENT!!

    READ WHAT I WROTE AND NOT WHAT YOU THINK I WROTE!!

  • Jon Who

    An e-mails has been sent to The Mary Sue about you and this, because I do not feel I should be made fun of or harassed to leave because I had a difference of opinion.

    You are doing the very same thing you are trying to fight against and then defending your self by saying “You deserve it because you opposed it”

  • Ian Osmond

    Dude. You’re defending them.

    Your defense structures in your paragraph are “lesser offense”, “victim complicity”, “defense of tangential issue”, and “tu quoque”, with about two-thirds of your word count devoted to the tu quoque defense.

  • Jon Who

    I think it was wrong they did it. But I don’t think it’s harassment.

  • Ian Osmond

    Honestly, yeah, it’s only you. At least here. You’ll notice that you’re the only person here who does this sort of thing, which makes your tu quoque defense absolutely risible. And if it makes you uncomfortable to realize that you ARE alone in doing this sort of thing, good. Hopefully that will give you motivation to change.

  • Jon Who

    You want me to stop. To go away to give in, so you win. You don’t know me, and I never back down. So keep coming at me with your childishness all you want.

  • Ian Osmond

    That’s called the “lesser offense” defense.

    Where are you getting your working definition of harassment from?

  • Ian Osmond

    I want you to realize why you’re wrong. If your brain has ossified to the point that you have no capacity to change it, to learn things, or to assimilate new information, then, yeah, I’ll ignore you, because, well, ossified people are useless to the world anyway, and simply must be worked around rather than with.

    Are you ossified and incapable of change?

  • Ian Osmond

    That’s going to be hilarious. I’m really looking forward to seeing what The Mary Sue has to say about the idea.

  • Jon Who

    I am very capable of change. But I don’t think I am wrong. and I am sure there are others out there who feel the same. Maybe not on this site, maybe are. It’s not for you to decide something is wrong, and then make me believe it is.

  • Jon Who

    It could be called the mars offese defense I DONT care. the fact is people have their own opinions. and this is a discussion forum. I am able to give my opinion. You don’t like it fine understandable, however I will not let you sit there and tell me and the rest of the site you are going to harass me until I leave or change my opinion.

  • Ian Osmond

    That’s the problem. If the only recourse is to escalate to law enforcement, then the problem is intractable. There should be SEVERAL layers of lesser interventions long before resorting to the law.

  • Ian Osmond

    Last year’s Readercon problem demonstrates the way in which that fails, though. Rene (French male name) Walling is a well-known fan with many friends who help run Readercon; Genevieve Valentine is better-known now, but was VERY much just starting out last year. Rene was given much more leeway in his behavior than someone that the con-runners didn’t know — or didn’t like — would have been.

  • Ian Osmond

    And it doesn’t work.

  • Jon Who

    So because I don’t agree with you I am a usuless person and don’t deserve the same respect as others who do agree with you. Hummm. Where is the logic in that?

  • Ian Osmond

    The point is that you are wrong, factually. Harassment has a definition, and posting ass shots of people fits that definition.

    “People posted ass shots of people in costumes” is a statement of fact. “Posting ass shots of people in costumes is harassment” is a statement of fact.

    “Posting ass shots of people in costumes is not harassment” is a counterfactual statement.

  • Ian Osmond

    Is that what I said? Read again.

  • Jon Who

    Ok well that’s your opinion.

  • Anonymous

    Dude, you came in yelling about how you were going to be persecuted for your (frankly, odious) opinion of creepshots. Now that you’ve finally baited someone into arguing with you, you’re going to cry harassment? Climb down off the cross, we could use the wood.

  • Jon Who

    So because I disagree I am allowed to get treated like shit.

  • Vian Lawson

    And that’s a good start. And having just attended PAX Aus, I can say that the organisers and enforcers were heroic in their efforts to run a welcoming and safe event.

    But “don’t harass anyone” is clearly too vague in a world where “if I don’t get caught it’s not harassment” seems to form part of some people’s definition. Some people, like the clueless, mercifully deleted Who below, can’t see that taking a creepshot contributes to a hostile environment for women which is part of the definition of harassment. The poor clueless creeps need it spelled out.

    (Of course, the danger of spelling these things out, is some creeps will simply try a form of creeping not spelled out … thank the Gods for Wheaton’s Law.)

  • Anonymous

    If they have booths, industry professionals do pay to attend Comic-Con –and professionals who work there get harassed as well. Women working at booths are particular targets of harassers.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    I don’t know what was happening here but please keep things civil and do not harass, or threaten to harass, anyone.

  • kristen mchugh

    I think a good start to solving the problem of creepshots would be to modify the blanket waiver to photography. “Photographers who wish to obtain close-up stills or video of attendees for publication/broadcast or personal use must obtain verbal or written consent.” It won’t stop them entirely, but it does give the subjects of creepshots some recourse. As for an anti-harassment policy, it doesn’t have to be super complicated. Furnish attendees and guests with a copy upon purchase of badges/acceptance of invitation to appear/payment for booth/table, train staff/volunteers in how to enforce the policy, have a reporting process and ensure that security knows to hold anyone reported for violations and/or assault until the person who is reporting decides whether to call police.
    1. Do not touch anyone without their consent.
    2. If someone does not give consent, do not nag, cajole, or otherwise attempt to obtain their consent once they’ve refused to give it.
    3. “No means no, but only yes means yes.”
    4. Verbal harassment is not tolerated.
    5. Eject people who violate the policy immediately.
    Comic-Con International has failed spectacularly at logistical details, like badge purchase process, line management, and that alone often makes the con less enjoyable than it should be, but ignoring that personal safety of attendees is actually their business is beyond absurd. An anti-harassment policy is a good idea for them, as legal coverage alone. The fact that they’re more stringent about badges being non-transferable than they are about making the event as safe as possible for the hundreds of thousands of people attending is. . . I don’t even know. This is not hard, it’s just basic decency.

  • Emily Hill

    Just give me five minutes with a pervert and they’ll wish they never harrassed anyone

  • http://www.autographedcat.com/ Rob Wynne

    It’s too vague for a full policy, but it’s probably ok in the context of a summary list printed on the badge. As long as it is summarising a longer and more detailed text elsewhere to which one may refer.

  • Sandra Regina
  • Katharine Ellis Tapley

    I don’t know about a harassment policy, but Boston Comi-Cons website says this in their Cosplay FAQ section:

    http://www.bostoncomiccon.com/schedule.html#cosplay-faq

    “Can I wear a costume to Boston Comic Con?
    Yes.

    Do I need to wear a costume to attend Boston Comic Con?
    Absolutely not.

    Does it have to be a superhero costume?
    No, you may dress as any character you choose provided it’s “family friendly” and please note you must wear shoes at all times in the convention center regardless if your character does not.

    What do you mean by “family friendly”?
    If your costume is too revealing/offensive (cover up those naughty bits!) you will be asked to cover up or change. For example, a Mystique costume comprised of only blue bodypaint and panties would not be permitted.

    Will people take my picture?
    Probably, by wearing a costume in public you are tacitly giving approval that people take your photograph and immediately post it to the internet. That being said people taking photos should ask permission first.

    What if some creep won’t stop harassing me?
    Tell Boston Comic Con staff or a member of Security immediately. Boston Comic Con will not tolerate any sort of harassment of our attendees whether they are in or costume or not.”

    My guess is that since they have this on their site, they have an actual harassment policy somewhere? Maybe?

  • BookSavvy

    Chicago TARDIS (Doctor Who Convention in Lombard, IL)- http://www.chicagotardis.com/?page_id=154

    “Chicago TARDIS reserves the right to revoke the membership of any
    individual who behaves badly, especially if he or she upsets or
    endangers other members, the staff, or the guests. Verbal, physical, and sexual harassment especially will not be tolerated.
    If we revoke a membership, we will not offer a refund, partial or
    otherwise. We will also ban the individual whose membership was revoked
    from future conventions.

    If you have a problem or need other assistance (such as being
    verbally, physically, or sexually harassed), please locate a person
    wearing an engraved staff badge. They are the only people authorized to make changes, move equipment, settle disputes, or to revoke memberships.”

  • Mary Kidd

    Just emailed the director of cosplay for Wizard World Cons. Let’s she what she has to say.

  • http://www.fangirlwithtea.com/ Pamela

    I also emailed SDCC about their harassment policy and got the same reply. When I emailed back to voice my concern about it not being on the website, I got a brick wall of silence. Thanks for the response, guys. I feel so much better knowing that once I get to the con, I can see what to do if someone gropes me instead of knowing ahead of time how to take action.

  • Anonymous

    As founder of the Backup Ribbon Project (http://backupribbonproject.wordpress.com), I am very pleased to see more and more cons — including my local Gallifrey One — getting the message and putting together clear, concise harassment policies.

    What bothers me is that neither Comic-Con nor Dragon*Con have these. Furthermore, based on my own interactions with Dragon*Con staff over the Backup Ribbon Project,. they seem more interested in stopping a grassroots fan project to identify people willing to step in to help those being harassed than in coming up with a harassment policy that consists of more than just “Don’t be a jerk.” I mean, Wheaton’s Law is good and all, but you need something more specific.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    Dragon Con has recently updated theirs (see link at the end of the post), it’s actually a great one.

  • Anonymous

    Wow — thanks for that! This is obviously new for this year. So glad to know this, after all the hassles we had with them. Will pass along the Good Word.

  • Mary Kidd

    Wizard World DOES have a Harassment Policy under their FAQ on their website. They got back to me the day I inquired. Way to go Wizard World.

  • Anonymous

    Is it bad that I get a warm and fuzzy feeling from reading these anti-harassment policies? I would get an even warmer and fuzzier one if they were actually enforced…

  • Anonymous

    This is fine and good, but what exactly counts as “verbal harassment?” Any speech that offends any person for any reason? That point could use some elaboration.

    I’d define it as any speech that is deliberately intended to be offensive OR persisting to bother someone after they’ve asked you to leave them alone. Simply defining it as “any offensive speech” is too broad and too subjective.

  • Anonymous

    That assumes they’ve broken the law. Speech is generally protected under the law. Though groping is illegal, of course.

  • Jennifer

    Hal-Con in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada has their policies very clearly laid out (http://hal-con.com/policies/)

  • Anonymous

    I’m the Director of Security at Naka-Kon. First of all, thank you for listing us. We do have an anti-harassment policy, and we take it very seriously. We want people to know, coming into the convention, that they can trust us to take these things seriously.

    Here’s my “Hair Club for Men” advertisement: I’m the Director of Security, but I’m also a cosplayer. I have too many close friends who have been leered at, touched, followed, photographed, or otherwise harassed, and it infuriates me. I was in drag (with all the padding) for a role in a group costume contest at Dragon*Con one year… and while I was bending over to deflate a large prop, I suddenly heard “click-click-click.” Turned around to find some creeper taking pictures of my ass. I turned around and told him EXACTLY what I think of assholes like him, and he has no business doing that to me or to any cosplayer, regardless of gender or attire.

    PERSONALLY, I have NO tolerance for people being creepers, taking pictures without permission, touching cosplayers without permission, or pushing themselves at cosplayers. I have no tolerance for cosplay shaming of any sort. Fat-shaming, slut-shaming, ANY-shaming… NOT ON MY WATCH, and not at Naka-Kon. And you know what? The rest of the Naka-Kon staff pretty much as the same attitude as me about these things.

    Simply put, I won’t put up with bullying and harassment of any sort at Naka-Kon, and I’m the end of the line when it comes to this sort of thing. I will ban troublemakers with no regrets. Our attendees deserve to come to our convention and feel safe, and trust that IF something happens, we’ll support them. This is the sort of community we want to develop, and the cosplay culture that we need to nurture for the future. We need to create a culture where the creeper-perv is NOT tolerated, and is clearly ostracized for his unacceptable, anti-social behavior. I hope Naka-Kon can do our part to help foster this type of convention culture.

    Also… Naka-Kon is next weekend! I hope to see some of you there!

  • Lizzie Momo Ashen-Brenner
  • Lizzie Momo Ashen-Brenner

    Motaku; Kansas City, Missouri
    http://motaku.org/info/rules/ 3rd section below the big 5.

  • Anonymous

    I guarantee you, as long as people report the problem, the policy is enforced at Naka-Kon. Of course, people expect us to be clairvoyant and psychic and all that, and just swoop in before or as things happen, but when you have 20 security staff to cover 24 hours per day, and over 6,000 attendees, we can’t be everywhere.

    At least we’re increasing our security staff to 30 people this year. It will help, but we still can’t be everywhere.

  • Anonymous

    MAGFest (Washington, DC) has a very clear anti-harassment policy:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lP-NOXbmF_0ECN55zxkttv_5ZSlXUFryVNr0IZdfKkA/pub

    As does Mythicon (Orlando, FL):
    http://www.mythicconventions.com/control.cfm?ID=70

    And ConBravo (Hamilton, ON) as well:
    http://conbravo.com/about/policies/