When cons go bad: to catch a Brony predator – UPDATE

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my little pony games When cons go bad: to catch a Brony predator   UPDATE
This is disturbing in every possible way.

UPDATE: WEll now it seems that the original account was made up, although I see some posts that seem to indicate that there was an incident. That’ll teach me to wade into tumblr. I’m investigating further on all fronts.

UPDATE UPDATE: Well after investigating this more it seems that although the person who tipped me off to this kerfuffle was concerned about it, this seems to be some kind of intra-Brony squabble with the original report having been removed and the tumblr substituted with pictures of Christopher Walken. THAT’LL LARN ME TO WADE INTO THE TUMBLRSPHERE UNARMED. My investigation took me to subreddits and Brony-friendly areas and there is much doubt that the original incident ever happened and how it was handled. So I’ve removed references to the original post. I will leave up my dire warnings though. Of you want to see more about it there is a site called Ponies for Parents that is, as far as I can tell, what it sounds like, and they have basically discredited the original report, although the showrunner did confirm that there was a creepy guy. That said I’ll repeat this:

If a con that attracts children does not make it clear that report of abuse and possible crimes will be taken seriously, that con should be fucking burned to the ground and the ashes mixed with salt.

I was often surprised that anime and manga cons did not become predator magnets, but every time I have been to one, I see a sort of self policing atmosphere where the con runners are fans themselves and have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior. I know there have been more and more incidents but in the beginning it seemed pretty innocent and fun for all.
In conclusion, the world of Bronies seems to be fraught with a lot of weird stuff. There are Brony-haters and also little children who just like a cute cartoon about sparkly ponies. Perhaps it is best if we leave the sparkles to the young.

Comments

  1. There’s conflicting reports about the veracity of the original post.
    I’ve heard both that it was made up “for notes,” and that it’s accurate.

    Any update on which is the truth?

  2. Mikael says:

    It was fabricated and the original tumblr account associated with the story (not the one linked in the opening paragraph) is all Nick Cage posts now.
    http://saintcheshire.tumblr.com/

  3. Jason A. Quest says:

    This is an area where one needs to be very careful about presumption of innocence with the alleged perp, because a child can misunderstand or mislead, and someone’s life can be ruined unjustly. But is also just as important that incidents be reported and accusations be taken seriously, because children do get abused and that can ruin lives too.

    The bottom line: cons (especially those catering to children) need to have people on site who are qualified to handle these reports, and attendees need to be made aware of how to use them. Leaving it up to adult attendees and exhibitors to figure out and decide how to handle a situation can lead to mistakes in one direction or the other (e.g. do nothing, or beat the tar out of the alleged perp), and those scenarios are not good ones.

  4. Dan Ahn says:

    See, you run this and automatically convict the hypothetical man in question.

    But when it comes to the Bryan Singer thing… there’s just crickets.

  5. Torsten Adair says:

    It’s quite simple:
    1) You help the child in a safe way, keeping him/her calm.
    2) You find a convention staff member, and you escort the child to the convention office.
    3) The convention then accesses the guest registrations, in particular the contact information they have on file for the child’s membership. (Who to call in an emergency, parental guardians at the show, possible allergies, etc.)
    4) The parents are then contacted, either by cell phone, public address system, or security using bullhorns in the public areas.
    5) The parents then decide what course of action to take.

    I know that ReedPop is using RFID tags in their convention badges to prevent counterfeiting. Are they sophisticated enough to locate people in a crowded convention center?

    Are the adults paying for the child’s membership online being sent notifications on child safety? Do children know what to do in an emergency? Is there a safe space for kids and families (like a Kids Con room)?

  6. Christian says:

    The idea that a BRONYcon of all places (as in: a convention that specializes in the sometimes awkward and always delicate interaction between grown adults and small children) not having a plan already in place is just inexcusable.

    Question: how much are Cloppers embraced by the Brony fandom in general? From my very limited exposure, they always seemed like an open secret in the community. Nothing wrong with it per se but I’ve always been interested in how people organize a children’s convention knowing that there are a sect of people you’re marketing to who will only show up because they want to have intercourse with your child’s favorite cartoon.

  7. Chris says:

    If a child comes to you frantic and scared, and asking for help you ask where her parents are and if they’re nowhere to be found you call the police Immediately. It’s their job to figure this out, not yours. A child has no capacity to understand what’s going on or have wishes about pressing charges. Be the adult.

    This is not difficult stuff.

  8. Okay — dudebro’s hanging out at a My Little Pony convention, and you’re actually SURPRISED that a percentage of them are pedo’s!??

    You are correct: This shit needs to stop right damn now. But anyone who didn’t see this coming a mile off really is living in rainbow-fuckin’-fantasyland.

  9. James T says:

    Some friends of ours have a 14 year old son. He was active on a Pony website. He had trouble with grown men pretending to be girls and trying to lure him to meet up. Icky stuff can go on in that Pony world.

  10. Remind me to point out to MHF that comics and their collectors got the same negative attention for decades.

  11. ” Perhaps it is best if we leave the sparkles to the young.” Perhaps not. Adults enjoying a very good children’s show is a good thing, and honestly I think it’s a good sign in our culture, one which could learn a lot from the life lessons in this particular kids’ show. Adults getting together to celebrate that is a good thing. Adults behaving inappropriately with children is a bad thing. These need not be conjoined at all.

  12. JRC says: “Remind me to point out to MHF that comics and their collectors got the same negative attention for decades.”

    hah..?

    Was that supposed to make any sort of contextual sense? We’re talking here about a product that is specifically designed, aimed & marketed to the appeal & tastes of preteen girls. The fact that it also attracts a significant amount of grown 20+-something men in a non-ironic fashion points to only one of two possibilities: 1) Poor taste. 2) Access to hunt.

    Comics far less so. Remember that sales used to be in the millions due to servicemen & other adults seeking cheap entertainment. The only forces then that tried to tarbrush comics as something more unwholesome came from Wertham & his ilk, looking to stir up trouble & make names for themselves. You know – like Hannity & O’Reilly do today.

    The point being – comparing the stigma of being a comic book fan in the pre-Nerd Age compared to the current Bronie Enigma is like comparing apples to anvils.

  13. Doctor Comix says:

    While we’re at it, can someone PLEASE tell Janelle Asselin to out the people who threatened her with rape? There are those of us with wives and partners and kids and friends who want to know that cons are a safe space and that potentially violent people are removed from the premises. This is a public safety issue that concerns all of fandom. Heidi- please tell her that she has the safety and security of the community at large to consider here. This is NOT a game.

  14. “We’re talking here about a product that is specifically designed, aimed & marketed to the appeal & tastes of preteen girls. The fact that it also attracts a significant amount of grown 20+-something men in a non-ironic fashion points to only one of two possibilities: 1) Poor taste. 2) Access to hunt.”

    This only follows if one accepts that “a product that is specifically designed, aimed & marketed to the appeal & tastes of preteen girls” intrinsically means that liking it is a sign of “poor taste,” in which case even preteen girls shouldn’t be wasting their time on it. Have you actually seen the show? It’s genuinely really good.

    “When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

    ― C.S. Lewis

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