As reported last week, the incarceration and legal maneuvering of accused sex offender and Dragon*Con founder Ed Kramer has led more people, including professionals, to call for a boycott of the con while Kramer is receiving money for it. Tony Isabella, who attended the con far in the past, still has what might be termed a vivid account of it:
On my first day at that long-ago Dragon*Con, a young woman offered me sex if I would let her stay in my hotel room. It was the most uncomfortable elevator ride – yes, we were in an elevator and we weren’t the only passengers – of my life. I generally relate this tale in discreet terms and describe the offer far less explicitly than she did. In reality, she didn’t disguise it in the slightest. Making me more uncomfortable was her age, as in underage. Maybe 16 at best. When I declined her offer, she looked at me as if I were a freak.
One evening at the convention, looking for some of the few people I knew or a relatively quiet party, I stumbled into an honest-to- gosh slave auction. With slaves being pretty clearly offered for the sexual entertainment of their buyers. Maybe it was some sort of elaborate role-playing thing, but it creeped me out. It would not be the last thing that creeped out that weekend. I never had the slightest interest in returning.
While Dragon*Con is definitely known for its consensual adult role-playing and fun, Isabella alleges that more coercive events have taken place and are being covered up. He says that many other professionals and celebrities have decided to forego attending but have yet to go public.
Writer Steve Niles has also joined the boycott:
So there’s that. I’m sorry a long running popular con has a pedophile in their ranks, but instead of continuing to victimize these kids (now men seeking justice) it’s time for everybody in fandom to show the world we aren’t a bunch of selfish nerds, but caring humans who love and respect others. Is that so much to ask for?
While it’s worth noting that Kramer has yet to be tried for his crimes—and his lawyers are doing a bang up job of making sure that he never does—even the events that are indisputable are unpalatable enough for many to decide to stay away.
Photo credit: I found the above photo of Kramer reportedly at the 2008 Dragon*Con at this website, which points to former US congressman and presidential candidate Bob Barr’s long ties with Kramer.
is currently Kramer’s lawyer but as pointed out in the comments, he’s been replaced by Brian Steele. It’s been said that local politicians have helped keep Kramer out of jail, and Barr certainly qualifies, as Collins pointed out. Also…can this case get any more bizarre?
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.