Megaplex bans registered sex offenders from attending future conventions
Megaplex has updated its rules to ban registered sex offenders from attending their convention. This followed a publicly posted Twitter thread from a Megaplex attendee describing how they'd been assaulted by a registered sex offender at the convention, and their subsequent experience of trying to inform the staff.
Although the convention's initial response said they would ban those in the registry, the passive tone used in the opening paragraph of their announcement was not well-received:
We are saddened and sorry to hear that people felt [emphasis added] harassed or worse during the weekend. This is unacceptable and no person attending the convention should be made to feel [emphasis added] this way.
The language then shifted responsibility to victims to be more proactive in informing the con - despite having received an advance conversation before this was announced publicly. Megaplex's poor choice of wording ended up overshadowing the announcement of the ban itself.
A clarifying second statement
In a follow-up statement, using a more technical and to-the-point format, the convention apologized further and directly explained their new approach. Predatory behavior at MegaPlex will be mitigated under three new policies:
- Registered sex offenders will not be premitted to attend.
- Developing a plan of action to better protect future attendees.
- Implementing a Survivor Advocate position to assist in these sensitive matters with kindness and dignity.
It is terrible that it took such an event to compel people to take steps. The fandom has struggled with this before, whether to ban people from being on staff (anywhere from low positions to high ones), or to regular convention attendees. While it is possible than banning policies could become a slippery slope, this is a situation where it is definitely better to err on the side of caution. Being registered in the database gives an outside convention judgement that the they can use as a standard for reliable conduct. Further Confusion had also implemented a policy similar to this before their 2019 gathering. As time goes on more conventions may continue to adopt this as a standard.
Implementing specialty staff at MegaPlex to handle this kind of work is seen as a huge positive to increase the safety of its attendees. For those who are interested, their follow-up statement has email addresses for those who wish to contribute their thoughts, or might seek to volunteer for the new position.