On the Calgary Comic Expo and the Honey Badgers
I'm writing this now because it's the first real opportunity I've had to write something significant about the goings-on today.
Whether you know me from before, or in just the last few hours, you'll know that I am a staunch supporter of #GamerGate, and that I am Calgarian, which puts me in an advantageous position to talk about the goings on at the Calgary Comic Expo.
It is true: Today, the Honey Badger Brigade, in support of the women and men behind the comic Xenospora, was ejected this morning from the Expo before the doors even opened. In my opinion, the justification for this ejection is an absolute mockery of the rules set in place, but this is a private organized event and I acknowledge that the event organizers are within their right to eject people for whatever reason. What I personally find a travesty is that the Badgers have not just been ejected from this Expo, but have subsequently been prohibited from ever attending any convention hosted by the same organizers across Canada, which I believe extends beyond the administrations permissible actions.
I can confirm that the Badgers brought their conundrum to the attention of the Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund. The contact was preliminary only, and I am not privy to further interactions between the Fund and the Badgers. Where the talks go from there is between them, but if it turns out that the Badgers have any sort of legal case, I intend to help contribute to the legal fund and hope you will do the same.
As for the convention itself, twitter has exploded with the news of this controversy, but I want to make something very clear: In spite of this ridiculous error in judgment made by Expo administration (and it IS an error in judgment), the convention itself is otherwise a fantastic event for fans of comics, science fiction, table top games and video games. People are not being ejected en masse, or being denied entry. The mood is sombre and upbeat. The diversity is enormous. The convention attendees include the young and the elderly, caucasians and people-of-colour, boys and girls, men and women, cis and trans, able and handi-capable, gay and straight (and everything in between).
By all means, pressure the administration. Ask the tough questions. Demand answers. Challenge the hypocrisy. Email the sponsors. But keep to the facts. And the facts are that although they were within their right to do so, the ejection of the Honey Badger Brigade was unjustified and done so purely out of malice. But please refrain from making disparaging remarks about the convention proper.
GamerGate continues to be at the convention. GamerGate is an idea, and it's an idea that many people hold dear. GamerGate stands for true diversity, forgoing the censor in favour of open, honest discussion and the sharing of ideas, even if those ideas might make you uncomfortable. GamerGate opposes the yellow journalism rampant in the industry. It opposes the shouting down and the slanderous demonization of those whose opinions do not match those espoused by gaming journalists, whether they are gamers or game developers. The unwarranted, unjustified ejection of an exhibitor that happens to sell merchandise in support of GamerGate will not kill that idea. This is one unfortunate event in the battle to maintain the sanctity of Free Speech and Expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights And Freedoms, as well as similar rights -- where applicable -- in the United States, Europe, Asia, South America, Africa and Oceania. That battle is not over.
Fight on. Game on.