Part-time writing contributor Jesse Parrino brought a disturbing story to my attention. In the wake of Edward Kramer’s sentencing for sex crimes against minors during his time of profit from the prestigious Dragon*Con fantasy convention, there is a new predator waiting in the wings but it’s one that not only is getting away with a convention presence, he’s been hired by AkiCon as a special guest year after year. I expect heads to explode after this story goes viral.
Currently the anime cosplay community is well aware of the actions of DJ Victor Malice whose real name is Leslie B. Shotwell. He’s has been hired annually by AkiCon, a small show in Washington. October 2013 AkiCon official website under Guests, DJ Victor Malice is standing tall and proud in his press photo.
Cosplayers are a diverse community like any other. The growing recognition of the art puts our hobby into a spotlight. Shows like AkiCon now invite certain cosplayers as guests like writers, artists, and performers. In 2013, AkiCon cosplay guest KaythulhuFerret on YouTube told her emotional story about being sexually assaulted by Shotwell. She claims that her system tested positive for a variety of drugs that she like GHB.
Mr.Repzion on YouTube has a video explaining the history and links to a petition people are trying to launch to shut down AkiCon because they have refused to accept any culpability in what people do at their conventions or who they hire. As of this posting, the petition on MoveOn.org had not yet been approved.
There is also a public forum on Cosplay.com alerting potential attendees about this risk: http://www.cosplay.com/showthread.php?t=334568
Prior to the 2013 alleged assault against KaythulhuFerret, Shotwell already had a felony conviction which included “Sexual Conduct with a Minor” and “Attempting to Commit Dangerous Crimes Against Children,” according to the rap sheet on mugshots.com. KaythulhuFerret said in her video that she was barely 18. Age does not justify drugging someone and raping her.
As you can see on the AkiCon’s official statement said they did know of the alleged sexual assault and suggested parties go to the police because AkiCon cannot control what people do in private hotel rooms.
Unless you have precognitive abilities and a specialized task force like MINORITY REPORT, no you can’t prevent every crime but as con management you absolutely have the authority to keep out predators you have full knowledge and warnings about. I took my own screenshot of AkiCon’s Facebook statement so that I knew the validity of their stance without any doubt that a viral image was modified.
Part of their victim-blaming comment reads:
“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.”
After our community spent years trying to get the stain of Edward Kramer out of our convention circuit, no convention organizer anywhere should ever REMAIN NEUTRAL.