This weekend is HeroesCon in Charlotte, everyone’s favorite stop on the convention circuit, and in advance of the show, a
statement on harassment has been unveiled. Apparently there wasn’t one before, but this is the kind of strong public statement that people in charge need to make to effect a change in how we view conventions as public spaces.

Their policy also covers the convention hotel spaces, which is a much wider net than I’ve seen before, but it is acknowledgement of the fact that the con usually flows seamlessly into the bar and party area, and it is all part of the same experience.

So kudos to them. In case you don’t feel like clicking, I’ve quoted the whole thing here:

HeroesCon is dedicated to providing a fun, safe and harassment-free convention experience for everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age or religion. We will not tolerate harassment of anyone in any form. Convention participants violating these rules may be sanctioned or expelled from HeroesCon without a refund at the discretion of the convention organizers.

Exhibitors, sponsors and guests are subject to our anti-harassment policy as well and in particular, exhibitors should not use images or material that surpasses a PG-13 rating at their booths. Booth staff (including volunteers) should not use over-sexualized or excessively gory clothing/uniforms/costumes.

If you are being harassed, witness someone else being harassed or have any other concerns, please contact a member of the HeroesCon staff or a volunteer. We are happy to contact our security or local law enforcement, provide escort, a safe place or otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe for the duration of the convention.

All attendees, exhibitors and staff are subject to this anti-harassment policy and are expected to follow these rules at all HeroesCon events.  This policy goes for the show floor and after-hours events at our host hotels as well.

Thank you!
-Shelton Drum


  1. Well, San Diego has a similar policy, and there was a petition to get them to do one that was specific to cosplayers. I think this should suffice, but I don’t have a dog in that hunt.

  2. To my knowledge, there hasn’t been any reported harassment at a Heroes Con, and if I’m a Heroes Con regular that brings my kids to this convention every year, this is a red flag to me. First thing I would ask is “what the hell has been happening at Heroes Con that I don’t know about to make them feel the need to send this out?!” Since I’m well aware of all the attention this topic has been getting around the comic booky internets, I’m not going to have to ask that question, but lots of people go to that convention that don’t normally pay much attention to what’s going on in the comic convention circuit outside of Charlotte.

    I understand why it was done, and it may have no negative effect on the convention whatsoever. If there was ever a convention that didn’t need to do this, I would say it was Heroes Con. It’s the most wholesome convention out there. Although, maybe I just never heard about any past incidents.

    Should be a good time for all.

  3. “Booth staff (including volunteers) should not use over-sexualized or excessively gory clothing/uniforms/costumes.”

    Does this extend to guests/attendees like cosplayers?


  4. I agree that all harassment should be dealt with, but how does a convention organization accurately police those claims. They have to deal with the crowds, security, guest accommodations, medical emergencies, etc.

    “That guy made an inappropriate comment.”
    “She had a nicer butt, so I told her.”

    What is harassment to one person is flirtation to another. Yes, lines must be drawn and strictly enforced. When did conventions become Halloween parades? I make a motion to end cos-play. Do I get a second? So people have to react as in “Awkward Interviews with Cosplay Girls” Hilarious videos on youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhcK5NYsWa8

  5. “What is harassment to one person is flirtation to another.” Yes and that is the point of the socialization process. People need to be made aware that their behavior is offensive, and make the decision not to engage in offensive behavior.

    This is an awareness campaign. And props to HeroesCon for joining in.

  6. Heidi, I completely agree with you that an awareness should be made that harassment of any kind is not acceptable. Maybe its time for a convention Bill of Rights adapted by all organizers? (Good luck getting everyone on board for that.) However, when the object of the comments is aware and accepting of those remarks, what then? Some of the Cosplay girls interviewed (in the youtube video) were disappointed that the interviewer was not talking about their assets or boobs as they gyrated in front of the camera. I know, I know, just because one gyrates does not mean they are open to remarks.

  7. “However, when the object of the comments is aware and accepting of those remarks, what then? ”

    Then presumably they wouldn’t complain to the staff and the comments would have no repercussions.

  8. While there has been a increase of costumed fans at conventions, the tradition goes back decades, to science fiction conventions.

    Back then, they were called “hall costumes”, to differentiate them from the masquerade/fashion show contests held at the same venues.

    Which makes me wonder… How does Dragon*Con, a SF convention, handle this?
    (Wow. That deserves an award!)

    SF fandom is gender balanced, ever since Spock became a sex symbol. How did they deal with this sort of thing? What is the policy at World Con? Bouchercon? Or have those fandoms matured and it’s covered under the general societal codes of behavior? (No. I know most SF shows post their rules and enforce them. The lines between reality and fantasy can be blurred.)

  9. The good news is that more and more cons are taking notice of this problem.

    The bad news is that this problem exists to begin with.

    Look, I’ll be the first to admit that some of the costumes worn at various cons are more than a little, um, revealing. And yes, they’re worn mainly to garner attention.

    That being said, if you feel as if you HAVE to comment on a skimpy outfit worn by a young lass that fills it out rather well, if you know what I mean, simply say “Nice costume”. They’ll know you noticed, you’ve given the appearance of not being a lout, everyone’s somewhat happy.

    Just because the costume has half her rear end hanging out, or her breasts mostly exposed is no reason to go apecrap and show yourself to be a slobbering deviant.

    That being said:

    No one deserves to be harassed over their costume. However, most of these cons have a fair amount of children present. When deciding on a costume to wear, some thought needs to go into it. Standards of decency still apply, whether you’re at a fancy restaurant, your workplace, church, and yes, cons. Rule of thumb is, don’t wear a costume that you couldn’t walk down the street in without getting arrested, or at least a citation.

    After all that, though, one thing, above all, remains paramount:


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