Up until yesterday everything was just going dandy for the Santa Fe Comic Con (<- super professional website btw) organizers. Guests were lined up, tickets were on sale, and for the soon-to-be 3 year old convention, everything seemed to be as it should. Right up until they decided to provide a masterclass in PR blundering.

Over on the Santa Fe Comic Con Facebook page, someone posted an example exchange, now deleted but preserved on Imgur, between the Con organizers and an apparent cosplayer.

In the exchange, the “cosplayer” has requested funding for attending as she has a bit of a following and could arguably serve as a draw for attendance. Similar requests are likely common for convention organizers.

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As far as faux pas go, this wasn’t an especially egregious one. As people pointed out, the post wasn’t remotely the professional type of post you’d expect from an event organizer. A post stating their inability to pay for professional cosplayers to attend, and their desire to promote local cosplay efforts would have been more than acceptable. But professionalism was not the plan for this day.

In response to the people taking issue with the post, the organizer, “Jim”, decided to argue with complainers by going to that old stand-by argument that not all cosplayers are “real cosplayers”. That’s right, he pulled the “fake geek girl” argument everyone who isn’t a sexist has come to loathe so much. Responses to commenters used terms like “boob cosplayers” “hot chicks” and “over-sexualized models” to describe the women he insists merely want to show off “their goods”.

As you would expect, this argument wasn’t viewed favorably, and what started as a simple poor choice turned into quite the shit show. The whole thread gained more and more attention, including responses from previous guests and cosplay celebrities like Yaya Han and Jessica Nigri, and eventually the organizers decided to delete the post altogether.

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They put up a faux-apology in its place. This, as you would also expect, did not endear itself to the already enraged masses. And as a result, the strategy the organizers seem to be going for is to delete everything and pretend nothing ever happened.

But this is the internet. <— This is a fantastic breakdown of what went on.

Oh, the the top billed guest for the upcoming convention is Amy Jo Johnson. Except she isn’t. So in addition to being assholes, they’re also scammy liars.

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So in summation, if you live in the area and thought about attending the Santa Fe Comic Con, you probably shouldn’t. And since the guy running the SF con also runs the Albuquerque Con you should probably avoid that one too.

[Update]

The Facebook page for the convention briefly had a new post up where they tried to claim that the “bullying” and “lies” of the last two days has resulted in Amy Jo Johnson asking to be released from her appearance a the con. As previously pointed out, Amy Jo already indicated she wouldn’t be attending. Even better, the organizers overlooked the fact that the message in their own post shows that the date the message was sent was a month ago. So that means they knew Amy Jo wouldn’t be appearing since last month but kept her listed as a guest, used her image to advertise the con, and then tried to pretend she was choosing to not appear as a direct result of the last couple days. They really are incompetent at this.

[Update 2]

Jim Burleson, the Con organizer, did an interview with the website Monkeysfightingrobots.com.

[Update 3]

The Con organizer has updated their Facebook page with a screenshot of the email sent by her booking agent. Unlike the previous image this one shows the date of sending being 5/14/2016 rather than 4/18/2016. The text accompanying the image implies a bit snarkily that Amy Jo was “bullied” into cancelling, and that she doesn’t actually have a professional obligation, ignoring the fact that Amy Jo was not contracted to appear as per her statement, and that no bullying took place. Also, apparently we’re a “news site” now.