HeroesCon Conduct and You
HeroesCon released their conduct policy a few days before the start of this year’s show. Like many other conventions, it’s a strict no harassment policy, and even threatens those who do harass guests or other attendees with ejection and possible arrest. It even asks exhibitors to refrain from using overly sexualized images or costumes. Here is the policy HeroesCon owner Shelton Drum sent out.
HeroesCon is dedicated to providing a fun, safe and harassment-free convention experience for everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age or religion. We will not tolerate harassment of anyone in any form. Convention participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from HeroesCon without a refund at the discretion of the convention organizers.
Exhibitors, sponsors and guests are subject to our anti-harassment policy as well and in particular, exhibitors should not use images or material that surpasses a PG-13 rating at their booths. Booth staff (including volunteers) should not use over-sexualized or excessively gory clothing/uniforms/costumes.
If you are being harassed, witness someone else being harassed or have any other concerns, please contact a member of the HeroesCon staff or a volunteer. We are happy to contact our security or local law enforcement, provide escort, a safe place or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the convention.
All attendees, exhibitors and staff are subject to this anti-harassment policy and are expected to follow these rules at all HeroesCon events.
This policy goes for the show floor and after-hours events at our host hotels as well.
Cosplayers should not have to worry about being groped. As the Dad of two daughters, one of whom has cosplayed, I find that type of assault, and it is definitely assault, absolutely reprehensible. Any cosplayer who finds themselves groped, pinched, exposed or otherwise assaulted should press charges. I’ve read too many anecdotes from cosplayers who relate that even when confronted, their assaulters lack any remorse or recognition that what they have done is wrong. Perhaps seeing someone taken from a convention in handcuffs for sexual assault will curtail it. We cannot blame the victim for cosplaying a character in a costume that is considered “sexy.” The only advice I would give to said cosplayers is to be aware of their surroundings and by all means confront anyone who harasses them and/or alert security immediately. If you feel like the violation warrants it, then by all means insist on pressing charges.
Female artists shouldn’t have to be the target of it either. Women are getting into comics more and more and they should be welcome. So this goes out to all people who have thought that the pretty female artist is flirting with them. Paying for a sketch does not give you the right to hit on a woman or demand that they meet you for a drink. I don’t care if they are dressed in a tight t-shirt, or a low cut tank top, no woman is asking to be hit on.
So, guys, follow the rules, and it may seem like some of these shouldn’t need to be said, but a few years ago, we would have never thought that a convention would need to post a harassment policy. Do not pinch, grope or touch anyone that is in costume. Do not make a comment as you’re passing by about body parts. If you admire a costume, then by all means, complement them on the costume, but “you’re very pretty” is probably not appropriate in this given situation. If you want to take a photo, then ask first. Also ask if it’s all right if you share it online. If it is, don’t add sexually charged language to the posted photo. If you buy artwork, books, or merchandise from a female artist, that is the extent of your transaction. You can inquire about their creative process, but please retain a level of professionalism, and don’t ask personal questions, and don’t assume that you’re owed more than the merchandise that you’ve purchased.
It’s way past time that comics grew up and it doesn’t extend to the people that make them. It includes all of us. We’re adults and we need to behave like adults and follow the rules. Not doing so doesn’t just mean that you’re going to be thrown out, it means you’re going to be made an example to everyone that would consider assaulting a woman at a convention. It could also mean that you’ll be charged with a crime that carries a real penalty, not just a tongue lashing from a young woman dressed as Harley Quinn.
Finally to the rest of us that follow the rules, we need to heed Shelton Drum’s suggestion that if we witness harassment, then we should report it. One day it may be your sister, girlfriend, wife or daughter that it happens to, and you’d want someone to speak up then.
Now let’s all enjoy ourselves at HeroesCon and all of the other conventions that we go to this summer, and save some of the cheap Legion of Super-Heroes comics for me, okay?