Yesterday evening, MomoCon founder and co-chair Jessica Merriman, released a statement in regards to what happened to cosplayer Luna Lanie at their convention over the weekend. You can read the entire statement after the cut, but in a quick summary, she apologizes for what happened, touches on the dress code issue, and what was going on with staff, and the lack of communication.
My co-chair and I pride ourselves on developing a family-friendly convention that welcomes a diverse group of people with inclusive content such as feminism in geek culture panels and, like any other convention, we have rules on cosplay attire. To ensure the security of our attendees we had more than 900 volunteers, building security and law enforcement on site at all times.
As soon as we saw a tweet from a local cosplayer saying she was harassed, MomoCon co-chair Chris Stuckey personally requested to meet with her so he could apologize on our behalf, provide her his direct phone number, request a description of individual, and have them removed from the convention. Unfortunately she was unable to provide a description at that time. Our security team would have enforced our zero tolerance policy for harassment.
While her attire that day violated our dress code, Chris did not mention it during the meeting because he recognized this would be victim-blaming. The cosplayer says when she left the meeting and returned to the convention some team of security, who would have been unaware of the situation as Chris did not mention her attire to anyone, rudely said her costume did not meet the guidelines. We have been unable to confirm this, but are still actively attempting to find the involved person(s) in order to ensure they are no longer affiliated with MomoCon.
We are extremely sorry this cosplayer had a negative experience, have apologized to her on multiple occasions and offered open lines of communication. The safety of our community is paramount to MomoCon. We take all issues of harassment and victim-blaming very seriously and these matters are always proactively addressed. We strive to instantly respond as soon as we become aware of any incident.
Moving forward, we will clearly and delicately communicate dress code violations in addition to continue to increase the amount of law enforcement and hired security on site. As MomoCon continues to grow we will do whatever is necessary to increase awareness among the general public that cosplay is not consent.
– Jessica Merriman, founder and co-chair, MomoCon
First off, I am glad that one of the con chairs quickly came forward about this. I do hope the problems are rectified as quickly as possible. In the long runs, convention staffers cannot catch every person that breaks the rules, they also need the help of congoers to help point out these people and have the deal with the consequences of their actions.