On February 16th, 2019 Pensacon made a post over on Facebook addressing the statements they made on their Twitter account before deleting the account, as well as addressing YouTubers like Geeks + Gamers and others who have criticized them for the way they handled the situation involving supporters of anime voice actor Vic Mignogna.
The post claims that the threats of arrests were aimed at “harassers” and that the people who they directed their threats of arrests at were “Alt-Right trolls”. The statement reads…
“Everyone, we need to address a situation that continues to be a problem – mainly from a group of people that seem to think harassment is their right. For the past several days, based on a video produced by a local YouTuber who courts the toxic fandom crowd and others of this ilk, we have been receiving hateful messages from people involved in this movement and also from some people who are confused and claim that we are trying to limit free speech – as this is how these bloggers and their videos have portrayed the situation.
“Recently, a prominent voice actor was accused by multiple women of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior. There were also several men in the industry that backed up accusations saying that they had witnessed the same sorts of behavior. After investigations, this voice actor was fired by two of the most popular and successful anime companies in the U.S. for which he worked.
“One of these woman who bravely spoke out was our guest Monica Rial. Since that time, Monica has been harassed online, threatened and worst of all called a false accuser.
“We started to receive messages from people letting us know that Monica should be cancelled from Pensacon because she was an awful person, a liar and in many cases, worse terms were used.
“That prompted us to make a statement:
“’Please note: We don’t do victim shaming at Pensacon and as stated before, we don’t tolerate harassment. We’re committed to everyone’s safety. If you harass a guest, you will be escorted from the building. If you choose to resist, law enforcement will be involved and you will be arrested. There is zero tolerance of this type of behavior. If this is something you can not abide by, we don’t want your business.’
“As you can see, we said nothing about anyone wearing t-shirts, suppressing free speech etc. What has happened is that these alt-right trolls who have been threatening Monica – both verbally and physically seized on this and created a false narrative. As you can see, we will not tolerate this and so law enforcement is involved.”
As pointed out by Bounding Into Comics and in previous coverage on One Angry Gamer, the threats of arrests were not limited to “harassers”, but rather people who expressed concern for Vic Mignogna and the allegations being made about the voice actor; Vic’s supporters had plans on showing up to show support for him even though he was not invited to the convention.
When YouTubers like Geeks + Gamers even decided to do a video about the controversy they sent him an e-mail rescinding his press pass, and proceeded to label and other critics as “Alt-Right trolls”.
In the Facebook post, Pensacon went on to say…
“They also took selected tweet responses of ours and edited them to make it look like we were threatening people. The Twitter user we had an exchange with, whose comments have conveniently been edited out of these alt-right blogs and videos, was trying to organize people to harass Monica Rial at our show and when we called him on it, let us know that he felt people aren’t harassing her if they don’t physically attack her. We – and law enforcement – disagree.”
Actually, the images weren’t cropped to make them look like they were threatening people, it was literally Pensacon invading a completely separate conversation to threaten the users. In fact, you can read the entire Twitter thread that took place on February 12th, 2019 [backup] to judge for yourself. This is also the conversation previous to Pensacon butting into the conversation to threaten arrests.
Pensacon, however, would go on to take aim at the people who criticized them for saying they had “eyes everywhere”, writing in the Facebook post…
“They also tried to claim that we were spying on them. If having a Google alert set up to let a business know when someone is talking about them online is sophisticated spying, then we must be more high-tech than we thought.”
Actually… they were eavesdropping on conversations that – as some users pointed out – didn’t even include them in the conversation.
Regardless, Pensacon finished off the statement, writing…
“People seem to think that we are some small convention that can’t handle this situation and will be easily bullied.
“We are not.
“We will have over 35k attendees this year and the entire community is involved in this event. These people seem to think that if they show up and cause trouble, we will need to call the police, but the reality is that the police will already be there to deal with any situation.
“They even tried to e-mail local officials and businesses to harass them into cutting ties with us because we took a stand. Those requests have fallen on deaf ears because the people of this community know what Pensacon stands for.
“Also, as far as accusing anyone, we haven’t, though I would suggest that you read the statement issued by the accused on Feb. 13, where he says he is entering counseling for inappropriate actions. We hope that is true and that he finds help.
“But how do these people still defend his behavior and attack a victim? We’re baffled.
“We’re looking forward to having the biggest and best Pensacon yet – without people who spend their time hating others…”
It is true that Vic Mignogna claimed that he would be seeking the help of a counselor and recommitting himself to God, as reported by Bounding Into Comics.
However, seeking help from a counselor is not an admission of guilt, nor has Vic Mignogna faced any actual legal charges or had to plead a case in court. Nevertheless, various voice actors like Monica Rial, the voice of Bulm from Dragon Ball, and Sean Schemmel, the voice of Goku from Dragon Ball Z, have come out against Mignogna, as reported by YellowFlash 2.
Conventions like Pensacon coming out against Mignogna and his supporters did not sit well with some of the fans on the Facebook page who voiced their opposition to the convention’s authoritarian approach to the matter. Some of the fans of Pensacon supported the organization’s efforts to curb harassment, while a few more didn’t take a stance on the matter one way or another but did note that Pensacon’s social media accounts are operated in a very unprofessional matter.
Pensacon is set to get underway this weekend between February 22nd and February 24th.
(Thanks for the news tip Ebicentre)