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.

Update: Barr 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?


  1. I should point out that Bob Barr is, as of earlier this month, no longer representing Mr. Kramer–that thankless chore has now been taken up by high-profile criminal attorney Brian Steele. However, Mr. Barr did represent Edward Kramer for several years and was responsible for helping Kramer weasel his way out of house arrest in 2008, thereby allowing him to freely travel from coast to coast while attempting to create a new career as a children’s talent agent/movie producer.

  2. I am just curious what the stuff from Tony Isabella has to do with anything. Some girl propositioned him…Dragoncon didn’t put her up to that. They don’t have a track or a panel for that. That is an interaction between two individuals. Yes, it’s wrong and messed up, but it doesn’t mean more than that.
    The stuff with slaves being sold….I’ve been at Dragoncon for the last several years and I’ll tell you that IF it is true (and, for the record, I do NOT believe it is) then it again has nothing to do with the organization. The con does not organize slave sales.

    And the fact is, Ed Kramer is not in charge of anything at DC. Nothing. No programming, no attending by him, no support.
    Yes he is paid a dividend on the stock he owns and I personally believe that the organization has gone as far as they can to separate themselves from him. Some things are law and must be adhered to, like contracts between corporations and shareholders.
    Yes it totally sucks that he gets any money from them, but I do believe there is nothing that can be done about that until he is convicted and DC can invoke the morality clause in the contract.

  3. James Tuck, all you say is reasonable. As is the wish of some not to support Kramer’s continued efforts not to stand trial to be found innocent or guilty, regardless of how he gets that support.

  4. I find it odd that people keep pointing to DragonCon’s desire to do “the legal thing” re Kramer when the convention’s entire business model is based on the illegal use of volunteer labor. They’re a For Profit Corporation operating as if they were a Non-Profit Organization. If they actually ran their business as legally required, none of this would be an issue because I doubt there would be 500K in profits. Also, since DragonCon isn’t a publicly traded company, Kramer’s stocks/shares denote his % of *ownership* in the company. That means he is one-third owner of DragonCon. He used to own half. Comparing it to stock/shares in a publicly traded company like Apple, VW and WalMart is spin.

  5. Nancy A, Collins: If Dragon Con is a for profit company that uses volunteer labor to put the con on, that is a better reason to boycott than the connection to Kramer. The people in charge can do something to change that fact without outside input. I have to disagree with you regarding Kramer’s ownership stake in the company though. Privately held company or not, without a signed contract with a morals clause, there isn’t a way to force Kramer to sell anymore of his portion of the company. He might own a third, but that’s a minority stake and he’s supposedly kept away from the decision making process. I’d never say that someone boycotting Dragon Con because of the Kramer connection was wrong; but I’m not sure if it will accomplish anything, Kramer sounds twisted enough to keep his shares, even if they become worthless and there seems to be enough support for the show to keep a boycott from damaging the company too badly.

  6. James Tuck,

    Isabella’s memory might have become influenced by Dragon Con history over the years, but I’m sure that he is relating events as he remembers them and that everything happened fairly close to how he says. What he witnessed may or may not have been organized or sanctioned by the organizers, but it probably happened.

  7. It’s unfortunate that Isabella is using a personal anecdote about kinkiness that he found squicky as the lead-in to commentary about a separate issue: an owner guilty (but not yet convicted) of non-consensual abuse of minors.

  8. I would argue that Isabella is highlighting the dysfunctional culture that Dragon-Con promotes. I would also argue that some of these responses promote that dysfunctional culture. Other conventions don’t seem to have these problems. A culture that supports a company because only 1/3 of it is owned by a pedophile is a culture that supports sexual abuse. I’m sorry, I just don’t see how it can be anything else.

  9. Glenn Simpson: Seeing how Kramer had also been arrested for aggravated child molestation in 1996 and Pat Henry testified on his behalf at his bond hearing in 2000, I would say the other 2/3 of DragonCon made their bed a long time ago.

  10. I find it interesting that some folks seem more upset by and are attacking Tony Isabella for his stand than appear to be concerned about Kramer’s continued profiting from Dragon*Con.

    While I’m sure many of the board involved with Dragon*Con are decent folks, I hope they realize that when Kramer’s case eventually does go to trial they are all going to be under some close media scrutiny. Might be time to consider not only the reputation of the con but their own. When the local news crew shows up and aims the camera at you be sure to tell them you did all you could. It will sound convincing on the 5:00pm, 6:00pm and 11:00pm reports.

  11. I can’t, & won’t, defend Dragon*Con’s involvement with Ed Kramer. My suspicion is that it’s a lot easier to get yourself legally separated from a guy who’s been convicted of his crimes, than a guy who hasn’t been, yet. How long could that take? Since I’m involved in a legal “thing” with someone that’s over a year old & is still in the lawyers sending-each-other-letters stages, my guess would be it could take a long time.

    Does anyone know more about this than me? If Kramer gets finally convicted for his crimes, what happens to his shares of the company?

    I support fully the rights of anyone to boycott the show who wants to, & to encourage others to join that cause. I’ve heard that Nancy Collins & others who feel passionately about this issue are getting trolled & threatened. That’s messed up, & people doing that should be ashamed of themselves. Attempts to stifle honest conversations about this are flat-out wrong.

    That goes both ways, though. As much as I support the right to boycott, there is a developing backlash. That if you don’t support the boycott, you’re what..pro child abuse? Pro exploitation? So vendors who have paid for their setup last year, who frequently live on a very fine edge of survival – if they can’t afford to pass the show up, they’re morally bankrupt?

    Look at the above poster..hey, if you do this show, make sure to get ready to tell the news why you love child abuse.

    A lot of adult-themed fun goes on at this show, which I’ve attended for many years. But to say..see, this show – which currently suffers from the blight of foulness of contact with a disgusting criminal – also has sexy things happening there, so the whole thing is rotten, those two things always go together – I disagree.

    Also, if I saw half the rage directed at the exceedingly incompetent legal system of Gwinnett County, GA, that I’ve seen directed at Dragon*Con – & now, that I’m seeing turned towards people who are planning to attend or vend there – that’d be something.

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