Home Conventions [Convention] Harassment at Anime North Texas?

[Convention] Harassment at Anime North Texas?

by April Carvelli
Anime North Texas feature
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Anime North Texas (ANT) was held over the weekend of November 16th at the Sheraton DFW Airport Hotel. This event has been going on since at least 2013.

Many seemed to enjoy the convention, but it seems to have had its share of problems. The biggest complaint I’ve seen was regarding harassment and body shaming:

Whisper Stormie Glover  – On Saturday this year, we brought out our bunnies for ANT. We have been working since earlier this year to get everything together and organized for this – staying within the guidelines. We get ready and come down the elevator and within minutes we have a staff member on us and being extremely short with us. We had done nothing to her at this point but she was extremely annoyed. We were meeting a photographer (one we had already paid) and we’re moving to shoot. She was telling us we had to keep jackets on completely the entire time – very short and rude. It wasn’t until one of my handlers brought up the fact we had a shoot we needed to do that was paid for when she disappeared to talk to someone. She was chiding us in front of so many people it was honestly so embarrassing. We had asked who it was that was apparently showing too much skin because we didn’t understand where they were coming from, since online at the time we were within the guidelines set. Our chests were covered along with our bodies – there was no exposing happening. The only thing that showed was our shoulders and some of the girls’ chest, if they were bustier. We were told we could not be on the first floor or second if we want to wear them. It was extremely stressful for someone like me because I suffer from body dysphoria and this was a big step for me to be in public in such a way and to have someone pick us bigger girls out from our group was not okay.

We did our photoshoot (which no one bothered us) and we were moving to go upstairs to rest before our prejudging (We had made these for the conventions contest). When we come down for prejudging, the judges loved our stuff and our attention to details and were so, so sweet about how we were looking. Due to the previous situation, we weren’t able to bring some of our props because we were so uncomfortable and somewhat frazzled. Just before we were about to leave, two people come in and we’re so confused because they wouldn’t let us out of the room and made the guests leave, which made it so embarrassing for us for this to happen in front of the cosplay judges. It was so uncomfortable and we’re locked in with two strangers. Feeling frustrated, we allowed one of our more experienced members to speak to one of the head staff (I don’t remember who she was but I know the man in the room was the cosplay director). We tried to discuss what was going on and in the discussion we asked if we could put on other tights to solve the issue, in which they said we could put nude tights on underneath. How would that fix anything for any of the girls? Nude is supposed to look like skin, so that wouldn’t solve the problem. She said that parents had complained but we got spoken to when we were downstairs for merely minutes when we had someone jump on us. The woman who was speaking to us was calm and I feel she was stuck in the middle but the initial confrontation was extremely uncomfortable because the bigger girls were singled out and the staff member was already annoyed before we even said anything – which makes me think she was already upset with us for other reasons.

All in all, we were able to walk in the competition but it was so, so upsetting to have this type of interaction at what used to be my favorite convention. I will not ever be attending this convention at all and I wish I hadn’t again this year. The hotel screwed me over last year and this year it was the staff body shaming me and half my group. This was extremely unprofessional and so uncalled for considering there were girls with less on who were easily moving about the convention without being harassed.

I had dreams of being a guest at this convention when I moved here but seeing how they have treated me and my fellow cosplayers. It was not from a kind place, I feel. The dress code did not include what we were wearing to be against it. I’m upset and hurt by this but I urge you, cosplayers, do not go to this convention. Save your money and go somewhere where you will be respected and get your money’s worth.

Noura Al-Turkistani  – This year, me and my group went as DC villain bunnies.

We wore black opaque dance tights. Every one of us wore the same brand.

As soon as we walked off the elevator, a staff member rudely started to harrass us and yell at us to change and cover up (we were barely in the lobby for 2 minutes).

The only girls being asked to cover were the thicker girls.

When we asked them why they were singling out the bigger girls, they replied, “well in this lighting you all look inappropriate”

They were trying to cover up the fact that they tried to body shame the girls with larger thighs.

They made the excuse “we have had some complaints” which doesn’t make sense because the amount of time between us leaving the elevator and being harrassed by the con staff member did not allow enough time for anyone to have sent in a complaint of any kind.

Nothing in their online cosplay policies said anything about tight sheerness.

Some of the girls were feeling very insecure after this interaction.

After we went in for pre-judging, they would not let us leave the room because we were deemed not “family-friendly”
(The cosplay judges were all very nice and supportive though).

There were other cosplayers wearing less clothing than us and no one bothered them.

Not to mention the 18+ (18 and up only) panels they allowed…how is that “family-friendly”?

I will no longer support this convention because I dont support body/slut shaming of any kind.

I dont recommend this con to anyone who enjoys the art of cosplay.

Ps. We had parents and kids wanting photos with us so I highly doubt it was ever a guest complaint. And the convention-hired photographer wanted a photo of us for the website.

I was also featured on their website in basically the same style of outfit for a very long time. They used my photo as cosplay contest promoting (they have since removed that photo when I brought it up).

For those wondering, here are their cosplays:

Anime North Texas by KSC Photography

Here are the Anime North Texas official costume guidelines and how they apply to the costumes above:

  1. This is a family-friendly convention, please try to keep it as PG as possible. – seems pretty PG to me
  2. Make sure your costume does not contour to private body parts. If it does, please wear extra undergarments as necessary. – I don’t see any naughty bits exposed or visible through the outfits.
  3. Men must also wear proper undergarments (this includes dance belts where applicable). – They aren’t men
  4. If your costume requires a lot of exposed skin, consider wearing a nude bodysuit. – only exposed skin is arms, shoulders, upper chest and head
  5. Ice Skates (with or without the guards) are not allowed as either shoes OR props. – I don’t see any of those
  6. No regular skates or roller blades allowed inside the event space. – I don’t see any of those
  7. Shoes may be removed for photo shoots only, and must be worn at all other times. Socks do not count as shoes. A sturdy covering on the bottom of your foot is a must. – I see high heels
  8. Costumes that can be confused with local, state, or federal law enforcement of any kind are not allowed. – I don’t think bunnies can be confused with law enforcement.
  9. No accessories that you could use to attach yourself, even temporarily, to another person is allowed. This includes, but is not limited to: handcuffs, leashes, ropes, etc. – I don’t see any of those
  10. There is no profanity allowed on costumes or clothing during the convention. – I don’t see any
  11. If a complaint is received about your costume or outfit the matter will be investigated and you may be asked to change. – Only complaint seems to have come from staff, but I couldn’t say
  12. Make sure all pointy objects have been dulled so as not to cause harm to others. – Are the bunny ears pointy? What about the heels?
  13. If wearing a large costume with wings or other large pieces that extend beyond your reach, are difficult to retract, or impair your vision then make sure you have a handler or two to assist you and/or be more aware of your surroundings. – I don’t see any
  14. Make sure you get cool air or ventilation while cosplaying. – I wouldn’t know if they did that
  15. Stay well hydrated by drinking water or Gatorade, not soda and Ramune!  – I wouldn’t know if they did that
  16. Don’t forget to eat a proper meal!  – I wouldn’t know if they did that
  17. If you are asked for a photo, please make sure to move out of the flow of traffic. Blocking hallways/walkways is a violation of the fire safety regulations and you will be asked to move.  – I wouldn’t know if they did that
  18. Leave the judging to the judges. – Maybe the staff that stopped them were judges?
  19. Remember we are here to have a good time and be respectful. – Sounds like staff might have violated that
  20. If you are concerned about if your costume meets the convention regulations, please email cosplay@animenorthtexas.com  – I wouldn’t know if they did that

The cosplays seem to fall within the parameters, and there were other more revealing, or equally revealing, cosplays that I have not seen complaints from.  

Anime North Texas by Ed BuiAnime North Texas by Ed Bui

The big questions are:

    • Was it fat shaming?
    • Was it a staffer with a power trip?
    • Was the group actually doing or wearing something other than what is claimed?

I will applaud ANT for not removing the negative comments, however I haven’t seen them address the comments either.  They have neither confirmed nor denied the claims. I did email them to see if they have a response to the incident and will post any that they issue here.

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