Cosplay is not Consent: Call for Action to Starfest

Cosplay is not Consent: Call for Action to Starfest

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Cosplay Is Not Consent Colorado started this petition to Cosplayers and

To the owners of Starfest Convention:

We the undersigned join in urging you to take public action to protect your cosplay guests and convention attendees from sexual harassment and assault.

You have been made aware of multiple incidents of harassment and assault directed at cosplayer attendees over the years. For the purpose of this petition, we specifically refer to the incident that took place on April 27, 2019 in which A male assailant assaulted your convention guest cosplayer, Alaura Klegstad aka The Sloth Goth Cosplay.

According to your Non-Harassment policy:

“STARFEST DENVER is determined to offer an environment that is free of any kind of harassment for all convention attendees. StarFest Denver is a place in which everyone plays together in the spirit of mutual trust and respect. Harassment is a form of discrimination that is offensive, impairs morale, undermines the integrity of relationships and causes serious harm to the productivity, creativity and enjoyment of the convention.

All of the convention attendees have the right to be in an environment free from discrimination and harassing conduct, including sexual harassment. Harassment on the basis of race, color, creed, ancestry, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, is not what we are about. Harassment means persistent and unwelcome conduct or actions on any of the bases mentioned above. Harassment may be subtle, manipulative and is not always evident. It does not refer to occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature. It refers to behavior that is not welcome and is personally offensive. All forms of gender harassment are covered.

VERBAL HARASSMENT: Jokes, insults and innuendos (based on race, sex, age, disability, etc.), degrading sexual remarks, referring to someone as a stud, hunk or babe; whistling; cat calls; comments on a person’s body or sex life, or pressures for sexual favors. NOT TOLERATED!

NON VERBAL HARASSMENT: Gestures, staring, touching, hugging, patting, blocking a person’s movement, standing too close, brushing against a person’s body. NOT TOLERATED!

If you believe you are being harassed, report it to the nearest STARFEST DENVER staffer. We can’t help you if we don’t know there’s a problem.

Anyone violating the IDIC policy will be asked to leave the convention.

However, this was not the case during the incident that occurred and was reported on Saturday April 27, 2019 in which one of your cosplay guests was assaulted by a convention attendee. During that incident, the perpetrator of the assault, Spencer Haden, was found intoxicated, and was not banned or asked to leave the convention because he was a "hotel guest". In fact, he was able to return the next day to the convention, and, when confronted by the victim of the assault, proceed to blame the victim, stating "All you had to do was say something...”  without apology or remorse for his actions. During both interactions with the victim, he was visibly inebriated.


We the undersigned urge the following actionable steps:


1. A formal apology from Starfest managers AND owners to your cosplay guest, Alaura Klegstad, aka Sloth Goth Cosplay who was the victim of the aforementioned sexual assault.  (By June 1, 2019)


2. Public recognition of the incident that occurred and banning of male assailant from any future conventions owned by the Starfest brand. You have already been provided with testimony, photographic evidence, the victim’s statement, and the perpetrator’s name. (By June 1, 2019)


3. Clear and actionable follow through on your stated “Non-Harassment” policy specifically, fidelity in the removal of, and calling of law enforcement on, anyone who perpetrates assault, after due investigation and witness testimony. This means victims will not be shamed for reporting, will be supported, and will be protected from the perpetrator. (By Starfest 2020)


4. Formal training of your staff and volunteers on how to handle sexual harassment and the removal of perpetrators of sexual abuse or harassment from your convention. (By Starfest 2020)


5. Requiring ALL attendees of future conventions to sign a code of conduct that includes agreeing to the statement,  "I will not touch another convention attendee without their consent." Failure to abide by the code of conduct they signed would result in immediate removal of the premises, involvement of law enforcement if an assault has taken place, and, banning from the convention (pending a timely investigation). A timely investigation includes victim and witness statements and a decision being made on the removal and banning of individual who perpetrate assault within  a reasonable amount of time of report being made. A reasonable amount of time is not the by the end of the convention, but as quickly as possible (By Starfest 2020)


6. Visible posting and promotion of this updated Non-Sexual Harrasment policy at the convention next year. (By Starfest 2020)


7. Monetary refund of badge cost for any cosplayer who is the victim of harassment or assault who reports it to Starfest staff. A cosplayer who no longer feels safe at your convention after assault should be compensated for their financial loss at no longer being able to attend your convention due to lack of safety. (By Starfest 2020)


We the undersigned do not relinquish our right to take legal action through this petition, although we are not seeking it at this time. That is not our goal. All we are asking for is a safe convention environment, which is a reasonable request. Starfest Convention has an opportunity to acknowledge its failure to abide by its own stated Non-Harassment policy and to remedy it’s gross negligence in good faith. This is an opportunity for this otherwise positive convention to lead the way and to set an example for others.


We urge Starfest to take responsibility for the way the assault perpetrated by the male assailant was handled and for your convention to take the aforementioned action steps to protect cosplayers and convention attendees from sexual assault and harassment.


Time’s up on the normalized sexual assault of convention attendees and cosplayers at Starfest. Cosplay is not consent.


Signed,

Alaura Klegstad ( Sloth Goth Cosplay)

Javiera Ihrig Reyes (JPax Cosplay)

Staci Burns (Personify Cosplay)

Cosplayers Against Sexual Harassment

CosplayIsNotConsentColorado@gmail.com

 

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