Aki-con, held October 25-27, 2013 in Seattle, Washington, had an incident occur over the course of the convention weekend which has resulted in a massive fallout. A minor was sexually assaulted by a guest DJ for the convention, DJ Victor Malice. He has been charged, with a trial date planned sometime in February.
Apparently, the underage female was drinking with the DJ and he chose to take advantage of the situation. The convention was notified of the situation and the police were called out. However, from the sounds of what took place (and please correct me if I’m wrong), DJ Victor Malice wasn’t removed from the property after the incident.
While this is an upsetting situation, the worst was yet to come. Aki-con released a public statement on their Facebook page, after the victim released a public video on Youtube:
“It has come to the public light thru a youtube video that an underage young woman who was a member of the (cosplay group), guests of our convention claims to have be sexual assaulted by another guest in a private hotel room.
Aki con did in fact know of the situation and advised the young woman and man in question to contact the police. Aki con’s guest liaison stayed with the young woman to aid her when the police arrived to take her statement and the other person’s statement. After that this became a police matter, Aki con has no further information nor will Aki con be releasing information to the public as the persons (underage victim and accused) in question are entitled to privacy. Aki con advises all attendees to make good choice, stay with friends and trust loved ones. Aki con has rules against underage drinking and drug use but Aki con can’t control what attendees or guests or even other guests of the venue do in private rooms and remains a neutral party as the incident in question happened in a private hotel room. I would advise all persons not to pass judge on either party as you don’t know the details or circumstance. As for the accused In America everyone is “innocent until it can be proved that you are guilty.” and thus we will leave the rest up to the judicial system. It is upsetting that these things happen in every setting whether at work, school, concerts, churches etc. and that is why Aki con advises all attendees to make good choices and be safe. We live in a wonderful and dangerous world and to think that this doesn’t seep into our little anime world would be foolish. Our thoughts have been with the young woman in question and we hope that both parties get the help they deserve.”
The problem with this response? The vast amount of victim-shaming and lack of responsibility on behalf of the convention. The other problem? The fact that Aki-con was warned by attendees about the DJ’s past convictions as a sex offender. You can see the warning here and his publicized convictions and sentencing found here. The warning post was deleted from the forums and Facebooks posts, which was discussed here. These warnings and the knowledge of his offenses makes the convention liable for anything DJ Victor Malice has potentially done, and the fact they turned around and VICTIM-SHAMED A MINOR on top of it all is absolutely inexcusable.
Conventions need to be smart about protecting their convention attendees and themselves. This has been nothing but a disaster for every party involved. Aki-con should have heeded the warnings from attendees and not invited the DJ to be a guest, thusly having him representing the convention as a form of liaison, thus also becoming a liability. Whoever is in charge of their public relations has failed at doing a proper public post about the situation, originally giving hints out as to the victim’s identity, and the overall victim-shaming is unacceptable. While yes, the incident took place in a hotel room, it is the convention’s responsibility to provide a safe environment for everyone, and they screwed that up by inviting a potential threat into it. END OF STORY.
I hope other conventions learn from Aki-con’s mistake, and that the young victim gets justice for the trauma that has taken place. This was a public relations nightmare, with a ton of bad examples on all fronts to learn from. Honestly, I do not see Aki-con surviving this without taking more fallout than has already been received.