Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Dragon*Con has posted a press release on its website reporting that
The indication is that this means Ed Kramer, the alleged child molester
who has been avoiding trial for over a dozen years, no longer has any
financial interest in the show.  In other words, the Dragon*Con people
have done what, for years, they have been loudly protesting they could
not legally do. 

Dragon*Con supporters have been quick to proclaim that this press
release makes everything all better.  My position is that it makes
it better, but far from all better.

We know there was a cash buyout in this corporation shift.  As much
as it pained me, I always figured Kramer would end up making money
on his way out the door.  What we don’t know are any of the details
of this deal and, since Dragon*Con is not being at all forthcoming
with those details, I remain skeptical.  Historically, the founders
have not been forthcoming with accurate and complete information.
Some might also say that they’ve not been entirely truthful in the
announcements made in the past.

If there is a confidentiality agreement in place, that indicates to
me there’s something Dragon*Con doesn’t want us to know.  If there
isn’t a confidentially agreement in place, than Dragon*Con should
release all details.  Such transparency would go a long way toward
restoring trust in the convention.

Already some fans are saying that those who have acted or written
against Dragon*Con will never be satisfied.  They are of the “all
better” school of thought and they are hopelessly naive. 

Dragon*Con was facing a growing boycott, guest cancellations and a
very real possibility that, when Kramer’s trial commences in a few
months, Dragon*Con would come under intense media scrutiny.  I have
no doubt journalists around the country were smelling the raw meat
of that story.  Hungry hungry journalists. 

Make no mistake.  Dragon*Con did the right thing here, even if the
convention was pretty much forced into doing the right thing.  I’m
almost inclined to say the event does deserve a second chance for
that reason alone.  On the other hand, I want more.

Kramer was Dragon*Con’s biggest problem but he wasn’t Dragon*Con’s
only problem.  Let me deal with the minor one first.

That Dragon*Con has a sleazy reputation isn’t a major concern for
me.  All the convention has to do to make that better is to insist
con attendees enjoy their carnal pleasures in their own hotel rooms
and not in open areas...and to be prepared to enforce infractions
of that reasonable restriction vigorously.  It’s a problem easily
solved and it also would serve as a preventive measure against the
journalists who will still be sniffing around the convention.  The
press release makes things better, but, as I’ve said, it does not
make things all better.

My greater concern is the incidence of sexual harassment and sexual
assault at Dragon*Con...with creditable reports that Dragon*Con’s
security volunteers were either totally unprepared to deal with it or
complacent about it.  Convention supporters have claimed all of these
incidents were the work of outsiders, but, even if that were true,
it speaks to a serious problem that Dragon*Con needs to address as
quickly and as forcefully as possible.  I would recommend shelling
out for professional security and lots of it.  If the convention
wants a second chance, it has to earn it.

Dragon*Con does not instill confidence in me.  The Kramer ouster is
one that was forced upon the convention by the many professionals
and fans that made their angry voices heard and by the ever-looming
threat of incredibly adverse publicity.  But, for whatever reasons,
the convention finally did this one right thing.

That one right thing does not give them a clean slate, but it does
earn them the opportunity to prove the convention and organization
worthy of a second chance.  I hope they prove worthy.  I like a
good redemption story as much as anyone.  


Covering breaking news is something I am ill-equipped for by skill
or temperament.  The above post was written shortly after I read
the initial Dragon*Con announcement.  More current information can
be found at The Beat and on the Facebook page of the ever valiant
Nancy A. Collins.  I’m content to allow what I’ve written here to
stand as my positions until I watch events unfold.  I don’t expect
I’ll be revisiting any of this until well after I return from this
year’s Comic-Con in San Diego...and I’ll only revisit it if I have
something more of value to add to the conversation.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.  

© 2013 Tony Isabella


  1. As I expected, I can find nothing here with which I disagree. Bravo, Tony!

    David Peattie

  2. Tony,

    I don't know if you saw this, but Ohio SF author John Scalzi is stating that he will not be a guest at cons unless there is an enforced harassment policy in place. Here's the link:

  3. Tony:

    In a sense, I can relate.

    The Fantacon in Albany, NY is being revived this year, its founder deciding to bring the event back after 20-odd years away, and more than a decade after he'd closed his store, Fantaco.

    However, my hometown dealer isn't participating because one of his ex-customers is working as one of the point men on the Fantacon. Story goes that this fellow had a number of books on subscription at the store, and he wasn't coming in to pick up his books, nor did he contact the owner. Said owner cancelled the subscriptions, feeling he'd been burned again by the guy, who has ripped off others in the past and was one of those greedy speculators during the early 90's boom period . In his defense, the man is a family man who's had one business go belly-up, and because of his past misdeeds, a lot of folks don't trust him, even though they'd trust Fantacon founder Tom Skulan.

    Plus, the Fantacon is taking place in Colonie---at a freakin' hotel---this year because of security concerns regarding their former venue, a state-owned theatre. I don't have plans to attend----I'd rather be shopping for DVD's or watching football. I'd be happier if the event was back in downtown Albany where it had been before (and is rumored to be returning there in 2014), or in my neck of the woods, Troy. Wish you could be there.

  4. Oh, the reporters are still going to be covering this story, and they're still going to be calling him "DragonCon co-founder Ed Kramer", no matter how much the current owners wish otherwise. Since Dragon Con didn't change its name, logo or corporation status (really?), the connective tissue from past to present is still there. And the lack of transparency will always be troubling. But I will leave that to the investigative journalists following the story.