This is perhaps one of the hardest communications I have ever had to write as it relates to a significant security and safety issue from the 2017 convention. Some of you may have seen or heard about issues surrounding Cosplayer Laura Williams/Voidmynx Cosplay and David Allen/464 photography. And those of you who were especially observant may have noticed an increased security presence this year.
After doing some research and taking to Laura Williams/Voidmynx Cosplay it became obvious to us that David Allen/464 photography was not someone we wanted at our event. We reached out to David Allen/464 photography and informed him that we did not want him at our event. He did not take this very well. Threats were made against the staff and Laura Williams/Voidmynx Cosplay. Because of the nature of the threats we felt it necessary to bring this to the attention of the H.R.C.C. as well as the Hampton Police Department.
At this point because of the nature of the threats leveled in order to continue with the event we had to bring on additional security at great expense. Additionally both the H.R.C.C. and the Hampton Police Department requested that Laura Williams/Voidmynx Cosplay not attend for the safety of both herself and others at the event. I want to stress that Laura Williams/Voidmynx Cosplay was not banned from our event but asked not to attend for safety reasons. Understandably a large number of our senior staff was very stressed out and communications were kept to a minimum to reduce the risk of escalating events.
I never thought we would see the day where we had a active threat against our staff and attendees during our event. Fortunately nothing happened and only a small amount of people were inconvenienced. Unfortunately this does mean that we will have to readdress our security for next year and tighten up some areas. We will continue to try and make these changes as painless as possible but some changes are coming.
Always remember while the bulk of the anime community is very accepting and non-threatening there are individuals out there who have less than good intentions. Use the buddy system when meeting up with new people and even then make sure someone knows your planned schedules and locations. I ask that you all continue to be safe while attending any convention, including Nekocon. While I am not going to turn this into a long comment on how to protect yourself at conventions, I note that there are many resources out there that can help you do so, and that Nekocon staff is committed to the safety and security of the attendees.