A Tough Call for Dragon*Con

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95 Responses

  1. Avatar DBrown says:

    Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill…we have a large church that many, many times protected and even, at times, aids pedophiles and this is where people want to fight a huge battle?Report

  2. Avatar Jason Kuznicki says:

    Who needs a conviction in a court of law? Just have Obama drone strike the guy. Problem solved.

    We all know he’s guilty, right?Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      Didn’t M.A. make a nod to the fact that he’s not been convicted yet?Report

      • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to North says:

        I’ve learned my liberalism from Obama. If everyone knows he’s a bad guy, drone him. No need for a trial.Report

        • Avatar M.A. in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

          I was trying to ask serious questions here, and I’m just going to give you notice that I consider your action here to be nothing but trolling.

          Offer something relevant that contributes to the conversation or abide by the League’s comment policy already.Report

          • Avatar Jason Kuznicki in reply to M.A. says:

            I don’t consider it trolling. I am pointing out that you apply one standard here — correctly, in my view — but you have in the past jettisoned that same standard simply because Obama told you to.

            I’m entirely allowed to point that out, and to question your stance here as a standard-bearer for the rule of law.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

              Does M.A. support Obama’s drone policy? I may have missed it since my reading here hasn’t been pervasive due to time constraints. I know Nob Akimoto made at least an effort to justify it in one post, has M.A. signed onto that?

              Personally I think I sit with the majority of liberals in that I dislike and disagree with the drone policy and think it’s an example of Obama at his most political and craven but we were unwilling to abandon him over it and put someone even worse into office.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to North says:

                I do not wholeheartedly support drone policy.

                I think that drone policy ought to be a part of the military portfolio; if a mission can be done with a drone, rather than risking the lives of military personnel in a helicopter raid, then a drone ought to be considered a viable option.

                As to the question of “kill lists” or the “does targeting someone with a missile strike mean X” (whether it’s a drone, or from a carrier at sea, or from a bombing or strike raid using fighter aircraft), I’d like an honest discussion of the approval process for drone strikes to be held without the hyperbole and empty rhetoric, and that’s something we have not seen.

                That all being said, the question of “drones” to this discussion was completely non-germane and I have a hard time seeing any reason for it being brought up other than to try to provoke some sort of flamewar.Report

            • I have to admit that this does come across more as trolling or at least more confrontational than necessary.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

                Trolling. Just for being offtopic and not bothering to connect the dots enough.
                I’m all for exposing windeggs, myself, but if you do it in such a way that the other guy starts hollering and doesn’t listen, you both lose.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

              Mockery of Obama is not like the abuse of children.

              We have room to ask questions about what our response to the latter should be.Report

    • Avatar M.A. in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      We all know he’s guilty, right?

      Legally speaking, there’s been no conviction yet. And not all the journalistic coverage is negative. American Jewish Life had this take back in 2004, but the perspective may have changed in the intervening years until now.

      Much of the coverage from Atlanta Journal-Constitution is unlinkable currently, either they paywalled it or just took anything non-recent offline.

      So, objectively speaking, I don’t know all the exact specifics of all the cases. From what I have managed to find out:
      – In one case, the charges have been dropped because the accusing boy died in an unrelated homicide of some sort and Kramer can no longer face his accuser in court.

      – At least once the prosecution has put things on-hold pending an out of court settlement which would have led to their witnesses refusing to testify.

      – In the 2011 case, he was found (according to police documents) with a 14-year-old boy in a hotel room. I am not sure of any more specifics than that. He’s been fighting extradition to Georgia to face the year-2000 charges (Georgia revoked his bond based on the Connecticut arrest).Report

      • Avatar M.A. in reply to M.A. says:

        Ok, that link didn’t work. This is a 2004 profile done on Kramer by American Jewish Life. I have no idea if their perspective may have changed after 9 more years or more charges being brought, but it was a perspective that was held by Kramer’s supporters back then apparently.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to Jason Kuznicki says:

      hey, it worked for Bush…Report

  3. Avatar RTod says:

    I’ll probably weigh in with an opinion when I’m more awake and have had a chance to consider.

    But I wanted to jump in to say this was a pretty space awesome post, MA.Report

  4. Avatar trumwill mobile says:

    I wouldn’t boycott on the basis of Kramer , most likely. Its unfortunate that some of the money may be going to an accused bad person, but I don’t think the world can stop on that. They’ve taken reasonable steps.Report

  5. Avatar Michelle says:

    Legally, it seems to me that Dragon Con has done just about all it can do to disassociate themselves from Kramer and keep him away from the event. As you said, they can’t force him to sell his shares in the corporation if he doesn’t want to. No matter how unsavory the guy might be, he’s yet to be convicted of child molestation. If there is sufficient effort to try him, he’ll hopefully ended up facing charges in court at some point. In the meantime, his lawyers are doing what they’re paid to do in trying to keep him out of court by whatever legal means possible.Report

  6. Avatar NewDealer says:

    From a legal/philosophical prospective, I think these are the issues whenever a story like this comes up in the media:

    1. I think most people can agree than “innocent until proven guilty” is a good standard. At least on an abstract sense or if you ask them to imagine themselves in the shoes of a criminal defendant.

    2. However, we have not figure out how to balance innocent until proven guilty without doubting the victim. So #1 becomes harder to support on an emotional level with specific facts and a specific accuser especially a highly sympathetic one. There are stories of false accusations and coaching for all crimes including really horrible ones against children. The prime example being the satanist pre-school scare during the 1980s. How does one show compassion for an accuser while also maintaining fairness towards a yet to be indicted and/or convicted alleged criminal? This is a serious question and one that I don’t think society has come up with an answer or balance for yet. Right now the balance seems to be people take the side of the victim or of the accused. This leads to a lot of strife and various fights because everyone doubles down and gets righteous and incredulous about how someone can take the other side.

    3. There are also issues of tribalism and cognitive bias. I am sure there are defenders of the DragonCon guy who went all out against the cover-ups at the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts. I am sure vice-versa is also true and there are people who defended the Catholic Church and Boy Scouts while damning the DragonCon guy. Again this tribal identity also leads to tension.

    4. People aware of the problems of tribalism and cognitive bias towards their tribe might overcompensate by going all out against an alleged wrong-doer in the tribe. This is going to be especially true if the tribe has a lot of negative stereotypes. Geek culture might be having a renaissance and mainstream glory now but there are still plenty of people in fandom who remember years if not decades of mocking for their hobbies and interests and being on the outskirts.

    5. Punishing an institution for transgressions is always a tricky issue. This is true for banks, the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts, DragonCon, Universities, etc. How does one keep an institution accountable while not hurting a lot of innocent people? In this case, the hundreds if not thousands of people who attended DragonCon and were unaware of the guy’s alleged wrong-doing.Report

    • Avatar Bob2 in reply to NewDealer says:

      There’s a big difference between an organization that has tried its best to publicly disassociate itself from the accused and an organization that has done its best to hide unethical behavior. #3 seems inapt to me for this particular case.

      If Foglio doesn’t want any of his money going to the accused because he feels the public evidence is strong enough for him to do so, I don’t see an issue. And given that the molestation has not been proven in a court of law, it’s perfectly reasonable to me that people continue going if they wish to also. The DragonCon board has done nothing to obfuscate what’s been going on as far as I see, unlike the other organizations named.Report

      • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Bob2 says:

        I don’t disagree and I am not saying whether people are justified in boycotting DragonCon or not. People can do as they please with their money. In this case making sure that the money does not go towards the accused. I was not saying that DragonCon attendees have a moral responsibility to donate towards the accused.

        I was merely trying to look at the meta-picture about what happens during these scandals and when and why people choose to support the accused or not. And the story always seems to unfold in the same way whether the institution is the Catholic Church, BSA, Penn State, or now DragonCon.

        Tribalism is a powerful force that we can not fully explain by psychology and people are complicated and often contradictory.

        I’ve never been to DragonCon (but several friends make it an annual pilgrimage). I have not even heard of the accused, his involvement in DragonCon, or his alleged crimes until now.Report

        • Avatar Bob2 in reply to NewDealer says:

          I just think it’s an apples to oranges comparison in this particular case given what I’ve read. It seems that the DragonCon people overwhelmingly want him out when they hear about it.
          This isn’t like the Catholic church abuse when parishioners blamed the victims and asked victims why they wanted to destroy the church. Or with the BSA when there was a conspiracy from various actors to protect the BSA’s reputation rather than prosecute some of the more egregious cases.
          Is that clearer?Report

        • Avatar Bob2 in reply to NewDealer says:

          I’d like to point out that I could be wrong. It’s just that I haven’t read enough yet, and I might not ever read enough to find out what happened.
          I remember one of my college groups was at the center of a nasty news piece that ended up even in the NYT and even in a foreign paper in Australia. Half of everything I saw reported was wrong.
          I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be to piece this one together.Report

  7. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    Assuming everything you have found is correct, I wonder if there isn’t an argument to be made to boycott the event for the sake of the Board. From the OP, it sound like closing up shop and reopening another they felt better about is something that they might like to do, but cannot do to Kramer’s legal team. IT sounds like they don’t really have the option to walk away without being sued for lost income.

    So “starving the beast” might be a thing to do not out of antipathy for Kramer, but sympathy for the Board.Report

    • Avatar M.A. in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      Tod, if boycotting would do something for the Board, then it might be worth a consideration.

      However, what are the rational effects of such a boycott?

      – Hotels lose out on money, rethink their contract with the convention.
      – Food vendors, companies that bring booths to the dealer’s room or art show, likewise.
      – Dragon*Con as a brand sees a decline requiring years to rebuild.

      A decline in revenue and attendance still doesn’t give the board legal right to force Kramer to sell his shares, which seems to be the only thing that will placate Nancy Collins and her partisans (short of dissolving the convention, which the board can’t do without getting their pants sued off anyways).

      So I guess the question is, what leverage does a boycott give the board that they don’t already have? I can’t see a boycott giving them any more legal path to forcing sale of his shares (which is what divestiture would have to involve).Report

      • Avatar Bob2 in reply to M.A. says:

        The only positive outcome I can imagine from a boycott is public pressure – shaming him into selling his shares.
        Of course the problem here is that given the facts I’ve read, the man has no shame.Report

  8. Avatar Will H. says:

    I’m wondering if Elmo is going to be at that convention.Report

    • Avatar M.A. in reply to Will H. says:

      For sake of information, it appears Kevin Clash was at Dragon*Con in 2007. I do not know if that was as an attendee or a guest, I’m going to guess he was probably a guest since they have had muppetry and puppetry panels and events in past years.

      Of course, in 2007, Kevin Clash’s reputation was also squeaky-clean. And there have been no allegations of wrongdoing by him at Dragon*Con or any other public performances.Report

  9. Avatar b-psycho says:

    How’d you get that picture of the police so easily?Report

  10. Avatar Plinko says:

    Interesting, I’ve been meaning to go to Dragon-Con for years and I keep finding myself traveling or busy the weekends it comes up each year, but I had no idea about this controversy at all.

    My BS detectors always go off when I hear that boards or trustees have exhausted all their options to deal with difficult situations as reported by third parties. What options they do or do not have would likely be governed by the text in their shareholder agreements and articles of incorpration. It’s rare that those don’t leave them with options – they may not wish to deal with those and say “can’t” when they mean “don’t think it’s worth it”.Report

    • Avatar M.A. in reply to Plinko says:

      What options they do or do not have would likely be governed by the text in their shareholder agreements and articles of incorpration.

      If the other reports are to be believed, there’s also Georgia law involved and the question of restraints due to ongoing litigation (corporations can’t take certain actions in the face of open litigation cases).

      What do you think they “can” do that you think they haven’t tried? That was one of my questions above. I’m open to doing the research to find out.Report

      • Avatar Plinko in reply to M.A. says:

        Well, I don’t know what they have tried. I’ve been told they can’t dissolve, which is probably true (IANAL).
        If D*C is privately held, then the options they have are contained in private documents that none of us would be privy to, naming options would be a rabbit hole – but I would hope they incorporated with eumerated terms for selling the company, it’s assets or dramatically changing the structure.
        They might have options to sell their I.P. and assets and remain a legal shell, they might have options to buy back the remaining shares but at a price they’re preferring the headache. We really would have no way to tell.
        My basic point is, just because someone tells you they’ve done all they can, one should generally be skeptical of that claim.Report

        • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Plinko says:

          In general, Closed Corporations have much stricter governing rules than public corporations.

          From my Corporate Law class and Bar prep memory, the concern with closed corporations is a “freeze-out”. A freeze out is when a majority refuses to give a dividend (but can give themselves high-compensation). This leads minorities shareholders to receive no value for their stock.

          It is in theory possible for DragonCon to be buy back, Kramer’s stock though but this would be if he brought a suit for dissolution.Report

          • Avatar M.A. in reply to NewDealer says:

            Thanks, I was hoping someone would have some legal perspective.

            Can you give any perspective on how they would go about forcing him to sell when he indicates a refusal to sell? Or how possible that actually is?Report

            • Avatar NewDealer in reply to M.A. says:

              No. I don’t know Georgia Corporate Law and enough about DragonCon’s corporate structure and by-laws and other important issues.

              I know general corporate law and whatever corporate law was tested on the California and NY Bar exams. I can give you an essay from the February 2012 NY Bar Exam and what the concern was:

              Al, Bill, and Charlie (probably not the names on the essay) are three buddies who decide to form a brewery. They vote that Al should be the CEO because he went to Business school. They all own 1/3 of the shares of the closed corporation. Al collects a small salary during the first three years of the Brewery when it is not doing so well. During the third year, the Brewery becomes very successful. At this time Bill and Charlie use their majority to remove Al as CEO and from the Board of Directors and they also vote to not pay dividends. Bill and Charlie also vote at the same time to give themselves large salaries.

              The concern here is that Al is powerless because of his minority status and his stock is useless. Often this gives Al, the right to sue for dissolution because he was “frozen out”. Courts hate dissolving a corporation though and they can order Bill and Charlie to buy back Al’s stock at a fair market value.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to NewDealer says:

                Or alternatively the court could theoretically order Bill and Charlie to pay Al a dividend?

                (Because that sounds a hell of a lot like what happened in the 2011 lawsuit that Kramer won against Dragon*Con, which is where the “$150k/year” figure comes from, though it may not be $150k/year because it might have also included punitive damages, court costs, reimbursement of legal fees…)Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to M.A. says:


                All I know is that courts are loathe to dissolution for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it would be too expensive to buy back Kramer’s stock? Perhaps he won’t sell it back?Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to NewDealer says:

                From everything I have seen, Kramer is refusing to sell his remaining stock back, and has been offered significant lump sums (in excess of $0.5 Million) for them.

                Explanations I have seen for this range from “he just refuses, period” to “he refuses until Dragon*Con gives him a complete set of the books for every year dating from when he was first removed from the board because he believes he’s been shorted on his dividends.”Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to M.A. says:

                If true, he has a right to be ornery like that. Neither Dragon Con or the Court can force him to sell his stock.

                It would be interesting to see Dragon Con’s corporate by-laws. Do they require the company to issue a dividend. The other option is that a lot of people take stock in lieu of salary, so not issuing a dividend would hurt many more people than Kramer.

                I also wonder what Kramer’s percentage is.Report

              • Avatar NewDealer in reply to M.A. says:

                By stock in lieu of income, I wonder how many people only get paid via a dividend.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to M.A. says:

                I don’t know about the bylaws. I do know that Kramer won a lawsuit against Dragon*Con in 2011 for failure to pay several years of dividends.

                It may have been that they withheld the dividends entirely just from him, or it may be that they were using the “freeze out” method you described and that he was awarded payment in the court battle. I can’t seem to find exact details of the ruling anywhere, which could mean either I’m not looking in the right place or that the judge in the case filed his ruling under seal and that nobody but the parties and lawyers have access to it.Report

  11. Avatar Nancy A. Collins says:

    I am assuming you are unaware that:

    1) The lawsuit that supposedly keeps DragonCon from commenting publicly on the Kramer situation was disposed of by the Georgia Court of Appeals in September of 2012. http://www.gaappeals.us/docket/results_one_record.php?docr_case_num=A13D0034

    2) That DragonCon invited Kramer back as a guest in 2008, and did not seem to have any problems with him until he sued them in 2009. http://srbissette.com/?p=16675

    3) That the Georgia State Court of Appeals found Kramer had repeatedly and deliberately delayed his own trial. http://www.gaappeals.us/docket/viewpdf.php

    4) DragonCon made a point of hiding the fact Kramer was still financially involved with the convention from the professionals who lend their good name to the convention, many of which only agreed to appear as guests after they had been assured that Edward Kramer had nothing more to do with DragonCon. And for most sane, responsible adults that includes *profiting from it*.

    5) Just because DragonCon has no choice in giving money to an accused serial child molester doesn’t mean everyone else has no choice as to where their money goes.Report

    • Avatar Bob2 in reply to Nancy A. Collins says:

      Well, that’s unethical then.Report

    • Avatar NewDealer in reply to Nancy A. Collins says:

      Based on 1-4, I would say 5 is entirely correct. 5 would be correct even if 1-4 were not.Report

    • Avatar M.A. in reply to Nancy A. Collins says:

      Regarding the points:

      1) The reporting I am aware of lists at least 3 other lawsuits currently on file (relating to Kramer wanting the convention’s books claiming he has been underpaid for his dividends, relating to his desire to force the convention to rescind their ban, and relating to his desire to vote in those matters in which stockholders get votes).

      2) I’ve been trying to corroborate this and can’t one way or the other, so I won’t comment further.

      3) Stipulated in the article, which you apparently didn’t bother to read. To quote myself: “On one side of this argument, people say his lawyers have gamed the system for time and delayed the trial indefinitely, and that the majority of blame for delay of trial lies with Kramer; at least one appeals court has agreed.”

      4) I would like to see some proof of this. Given the amount of media coverage that seems to surround Kramer every couple years, it’s very interesting that you claim Dragon*Con are trying to “hide” anything.

      5) No, but I am asking people at the League here for their considered opinions regarding the matter. I’m dubious about the moral levels associated with tarring and feathering, metaphorically speaking, a group of people whose associations with Kramer are not as straightforward as you claim and who put on an event much, much larger than just Ed Kramer. I’m also dubious about the moral level of having such a situation where there is a lack of criminal conviction on record. While you insist that he (or his lawyers) have acted to delay the trial, I also have found evidence (see the AJC article from 2004 above) that indicates at least in part blame also needs to fall on the Georgia prosecutorial and jail systems, including the early-2000s mass halting of jury trials due to jury selection processes that violated both the Georgia and US constitutions.

      6) I left this off because it wasn’t germane to the discussion, but since you brought it up, it appears much of your animus in this has to do with the reception you received on the convention circuit, to quote your own comments here.

      So here’s where I’m coming from: there is no criminal conviction. There are partisans on one side or another, and one side’s partisans will seemingly settle for nothing less than the entire dissolution or shutting-down of the convention. Information by both sides is passed through a rather thick filter, which makes it difficult for those of us who are now catching up on things to determine what is true, what has a grain of truth and a lot of hyperbole, or what is pure, finely ground horse puckey. The off-again, on-again nature of the prosecution is either evidence that Kramer’s lawyers were doing a great job delaying trial, or that the prosecutors were doing a lousy job forwarding their case, or some mixture of the two. It may even be that the delays have been related to legitimate issues with the case, such as the illegally overbroad warrant from early in the case and throwing out of evidence related to it or the closing and restarting of jury proceedings due to corruption within Georgia’s jury system. It’s also probable that the delays have to do with requests for health problems or to Kramer’s fighting of extradition the last couple of years.

      So, the rest of us are stuck with all the unknowns and trying to decide and make up our minds regarding the matter.

      I appreciate you bringing your side to the discussion, though I think I had already given your side a pretty honest representation in relation to what I could find that could be corroborated. But I also wish that I could trust your side a little more to be honest about, among other things, the state of Georgia law in the matter. It’s your own hyperbole and misrepresentations of fact that makes me have to be so cautions to take what you seem to treat as gospel-level truth, your sound-and-fury, with very large grains of salt.Report

      • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to M.A. says:

        who are you and what have you done with M.A.

        no seriouslyReport

      • Avatar M.A. in reply to M.A. says:

        One further bit of information regarding point #3, not that it seemingly makes much difference; In 2006, apparently, Kramer’s lawyers filed to have the case dismissed for violation of the Constitutional guarantee of a speedy trial after the 6 years of delays.

        The Georgia State Court of Appeals found that Kramer’s legal team bore enough of the burden (for delays due to procedural filings, requests for delay on medical grounds, etc) that he had in essence waived his right to a “speedy” trial.

        They did NOT, in that ruling, assess the entire fault for all of the delays was his legal team’s only; they just ruled that enough of the delays were his own side’s making that he could be judged to have waived his right to a speedy trial.

        You didn’t help your case there by linking the wrong document and forcing me to go looking for it either.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Nancy A. Collins says:

      5) Just because DragonCon has no choice in giving money to an accused serial child molester doesn’t mean everyone else has no choice as to where their money goes.

      Which, ironically (or not?), was the topic of M.A.’s post!Report

  12. Avatar Nancy A. Collins says:

    As for your claim that you can’t corroborate Kramer’s being a guest at DragonCon in 2008, t here is the link to DragonCon 2008’s guest page courtesy of the Way Back Machine.


    There is also this photograph of Kramer, taken at DragonCon 2008, while talking to one of the con’s staff members, Paul Cashman. http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2579/3865560488_376c47dbae.jpg

    As for my “motives”—yes, believe it or not, I hold a grudge against the man who wanted to fuck the children in my family and company that he co-owns that funds him.

    How selfish of me.

    But what provoked me to finally send out my boycott letter was reading an online message from one of Kramer’s victims–now a grown man and veteran of the Iraq war–speaking out in defiance to both Kramer and his enablers. This is about a hell of a lot more than DragonCon and cosplaying and standing in line to see your favorite TV star. If people can’t see beyond their own pleasures, then there is nothing I can say or do that will help them.

    Go or not go to DragonCon. The choice is yours. But at least you can’t plead ignorance anymore.Report

    • Avatar M.A. in reply to Nancy A. Collins says:

      Reliability of any guest list: in question. Especially since that appears in only one version of the wayback machine page.

      It means anything from “he was invited back” to “he sent an email out and some staffer who didn’t know the background listed him anyways.”

      You say that’s a photo of him. I don’t know enough about him to know whether that’s a picture of him or not, so I’m looking for a version of the photo that is verified in journalistic coverage or something stronger than someone I don’t know’s say-so. I’ve also not met the other person in the photograph, so that does no good for me in identifying anything there.

      As for my “motives”—yes, believe it or not, I hold a grudge against the man who wanted to fuck the children in my family and company that he co-owns that funds him.

      This is your belief. I have no idea how correct it is or not: I have never met the man.. I have been trying to find out what went on, and both sides are putting information through an incredible amount of filtering.

      From your side, you believe he was grooming your family for access to your kids. According to this profile by an actual journalist, the situation of the initial charges stems from an “anonymous tip” that may well have been placed by the boys’ father who was in the middle of a custody battle with the mother. And since there has been no trial, and no evidence really seen, I can’t speak to whether your side is true or that side of the story is true. That’s why we have the courts and why we have trials.

      Likewise with the idea of delays. There are delays from both sides. The fact that the appeals court ruled enough of the delays came from Kramer’s side that he had waived his right to a speedy trial does not indicate guilt in a legal sense. It could mean, legally speaking, anything from “he is guilty and playing for time hoping that evidence will go away” (your side) or “he is innocent and his attorneys are playing for time because they feel it’s a better strategy and that he’s not going to get a fair trial” (one possible other side take).

      The big takeaway from this for people who aren’t members of either faction: we just don’t know. It could be your side is right and he’s playing for time because he’s guilty. It could be the other side is right and his lawyers are trying to keep him out of jail and think he can’t get a fair trial.

      But what provoked me to finally send out my boycott letter was reading an online message from one of Kramer’s victims–now a grown man and veteran of the Iraq war–speaking out in defiance to both Kramer and his enablers.

      I’ve seen you make this claim on another website as I have tried to follow this, and yet I can’t seem to find a link to this online message anywhere. There is no message at the link you posted to TheMarySue.com. Nor is there any commentary in the Wayback Machine archive of the article in question.

      Forgive me if it makes me less likely to trust your side when you link to something claiming there is information there that is not, in fact, there.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to M.A. says:

        This is what Catholics must feel like.Report

        • Avatar M.A. in reply to Jaybird says:

          Jaybird, I can understand the sentiment. I’m coming in to this as a relatively disinterested outside observer (I like attending Dragon*Con, but I am not one of the people who’s been attending for 2 decades or longer).

          So I’ve been trying to look up the information following finding out about all this, and it’s amazing how hard it is to get verified, reliable information anywhere.

          Nancy Collins links to what she says is “an online message from one of Kramer’s victims“, but the link she uses is the exact same link from my original guest post above, the link from Atlanta Magazine. And neither in the article as it now stands, nor in the Wayback Machine archive, does any such “online message” exist.

          So… you tell me. What am I supposed to believe about that?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to M.A. says:

            Dude, we *JUST* finished watching the Joe Paterno scandal unfold, we’re watching the Catholic Church do everything it can to destroy its own credibility, and, just a few days ago, we saw a *HUGE* fight (on this very website) about the Boy Scouts and how it is currently dealing (or not dealing, depending on your POV) with this particular flavor of scandal.

            I suppose the answer I have to your question is that you shouldn’t “believe” anything. Just do a compare and contrast to the last thousand times this sort of thing has happened and the last thousand times that someone was caught in a hotel room with a minor and, it turns out, the tip later was said to have something to do with a custody battle.Report

            • Avatar Bob2 in reply to Jaybird says:

              Btw, sidenote: the Joe Paterno thing is happening again in the news because of some e-mail nonsense. It’s not over yet.Report

            • Avatar M.A. in reply to Jaybird says:

              Just do a compare and contrast to the last thousand times this sort of thing has happened and the last thousand times that someone was caught in a hotel room with a minor and, it turns out, the tip later was said to have something to do with a custody battle.

              Point of order: the accusation of “motel room with a minor” was in 2011.

              The question of “did something happen with the kids of the girlfriend” and the anonymous-tip situation was the year 2000. And false allegations during custody battles are a reality that happens often enough to need scientific study.

              So here’s my problem looking the whole thing over: I do not know what went on. I suspect that as Bob2 said, we (the public) will not have remotely enough valid and reliable information to make an informed decision absent a criminal trial and verdict one way or the other. There are a hell of a lot of assertions made, but I’m actually given MORE reason to distrust the prosecution’s side, Nancy Collins’ side, when they keep giving out bad information that either can’t be traced or worse yet links that don’t support what they claim (and she’s doing it to herself right here in this comment section).

              Your comment comes very close to asking me to assume a guilty-until-proven-innocent mindset. Morally, I have a hard time with that; our legal system is set up the way it is for a reason. I have my reasonable belief that at least for the charges from year 2011, Ed Kramer is guilty of something. I have less solid belief, as I have learned more of the facts (a number of which Nancy Collins’ side fails to mention) regarding the year 2000 incidents.

              HOWEVER: at this point, if you handed me every bit of the facts I have on hand at my disposal, and asked me to find a verdict regarding the year 2000 case, I would have to find in favor of the thing our courts call “reasonable doubt.” It sucks, but that’s how I see it currently.

              I have no idea how I would decide if I had to decide “reasonable doubt” or “not reasonable doubt” in the 2011 case. It would be an incredibly hard decision and as much as I hate to say this about the courts, it would probably come down to how well Kramer’s lawyer did and how well the prosecution did. And I’m not sure what the legal standing would be to bring up the 2011 accusations, from another state, during the trial in Georgia which is supposed to be about the 2000 allegations. (Lawyers, care to chime in?)

              This is one of the ugliest things about the legal system. I can be fairly sure that Ed Kramer did something wrong at some point. However, that does nothing if it cannot be proven in court beyond a reasonable doubt. Absent that, we devolve into a system of vigilantes.

              It takes a jury trial. Until that time, I applaud taking the safe course of action and banning him from the convention.

              I have some moral trouble with the idea of trying to choke off his income streams to leave him with a public defender, because if I were in a situation where prosecutors were trying to choke off my ability to get the best representation possible, I think I’d be rightly outraged and I would hope that the libertarians on this blog understand that point.

              And I also have some moral troubles with the collective-punishment mentality of blaming everyone who has ever attended Dragon*Con for the acts (as yet unproven in court) of Ed Kramer. He’s charged with a crime, not convicted. To say that his income sources should be choked off (in order to ensure a conviction, which I understand is the goal) is coming perilously close to that same “guilty until proven innocent”, or else maybe a “guilty no matter what it takes to get the verdict”, sort of sentiment that ultimately will result in nobody trusting the courts.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to M.A. says:

                He could have had that jury trial years and years ago, mind.

                Feeling bad that his ability to have his legal representation choked off *MIGHT* make me feel better except for the whole “CAUGHT WITH A MINOR IN HIS HOTEL ROOM” thing that happened while he was still “at large”.

                This is one of those wacky things, I’ve noticed. People capable of high dudgeon when it comes to children being sexually abused by members of organizations they don’t like enter into HOW DARE YOU, CHILDREN ARE AT RISK kinda conversations but when stuff like the child rape that UN “Peacekeepers” engage in, the discussion turns into a discussion of “innocent until proven guilty” and, yes, how you’d think that Libertarians would understand the need for people to not be tried in a court of public opinion.

                It’s like they think that child abuse is a cudgel to be used against enemies but then discarded when it’s inconvenient.

                You’d think that Liberals would realize what they look and sound like when they engage in those behaviors.Report

              • Avatar M.A. in reply to Jaybird says:

                Wait a moment.

                You bring up this debate on the Boy Scouts, in which nowhere do I state an opinion that the BSA are universally guilty (in fact, my commentary was only to the effect that the BSA’s antigay policy is damaging to any young man who has any question of his sexual orientation).

                Then you accuse me of a double standard.

                You’d think that Liberals would realize what they look and sound like when they engage in those behaviors.

                Here, have a mirror.Report

              • Avatar Jim Heffman in reply to M.A. says:

                That’s more like it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to M.A. says:

                Then you accuse me of a double standard.

                Where did I do that?

                This is one of those things that, I suspect, if it happened to you would have you screaming about how other people are lying.Report

    • Avatar M.A. in reply to Nancy A. Collins says:

      Oops. Tripped the linking limit filter. Would someone mind rescuing my response?Report

  13. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    This vaguely reminded me of a debate from a few years back about whether or not a high number of pedophiles are also Trekkies. I realize that Kim sometimes makes comments like that and gets a lot of grief about it from y’all. So, here’s a link:
    There were also articles saying that, no, pedophiles are not more likely to be Trekkies.Report

  14. Avatar Liz says:


    Nancy Collins was active on the Foglio’s facebook page. I followed the links she gave as “evidence” for the claim he was an invited guest in 2008 and thus actively involved in dragon*con. At that time she gave the link

    I read the blog and followed the a link

    Here I found an archive of a yahoo conversation which said Kramer’s name appeared as a guest and was subsequently removed from the online guest list. It seems clear that he was no actually a guest.

    I pointed this out a few days ago in reply to one of Nancy Collins many posts of this “fact.”

    And yet she is still repeating this.

    Little lies.

    Makes one wonder.Report

  15. Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    Girl Genius is Some of Phil & Kaja’s best work. As was his stab at the Myth series.

    Although “What’s Up?” from the old Dragon Magazines is still comedy gold.Report

  16. Avatar James Bradley says:

    Boycotting DC hurts a lot of people, even if it helps this one guy (it really doesn’t help him, he will never get to spend the money.) There are so many other vendors and people that make a living or get joy out of DC. Don’t let one person ruin it.Report

    • Avatar Fnord in reply to James Bradley says:

      This seems to be coming up a lot. But if you don’t spend the money on Dragon*Con, you spend it on something else, right? You go to a different con, or otherwise spend the money to give SOMEBODY’S business, or if you really feel bad about it donate the money to charity. Yeah, some good people in Dragon*Con (and Atlanta) get screwed, but you’re helping someone else just as much.Report

      • Avatar James Bradley in reply to Fnord says:

        Maybe, maybe not. It’s possible that the money gets spent on a product made in another country, or the money gets plopped into a retirement account. The point is DC is special, and provides a lot of joy and happiness to a lot of people – a lot of people that may not fit in elsewhere. Many people in the Southeast cannot afford to go to conventions that are far away. There are negatives with most any endeavor.Report

  17. Avatar James Bradley says:

    There seems to be some confusion about how the law works too. If you’re a majority owner of a company ( let’s say I own 51% and my partner owns 49%) I can’t just use my majority status to shut down the company and open a new one doing substantially the same thing. Any state court in the country would reverse this, because it’s screwing over a stockholder.Report

  18. Avatar PPNL says:

    Guys, would you really boycott any corporation that a pedo owned stock in?

    The only thing that would turn me from the corporation is if it took measures to protect Kramer. I see no evidence of that and it seems clear that they would really like to be done with him. I cannot ask any more than that.

    However I do not think “innocent until proven guilty” is relevant here. That is a limitation on government that is not morally or ethically binding on individuals. In fact the opposite is often true. I would not hire an accused pedo as a baby sitter even if I judged that he was probably innocent. Probably just isn’t good enough.Report

  19. Avatar JustRuss says:

    From what I understand, the entertainment industry is full of, ahem, “creative” accountants who can make the most successful movie or album lose money. Perhaps DragonCon should hire one of them, and make it clear (off the record, of course) to Mr. Kramer that there won’t be any dividends coming as long as he’s a stockholder.Report

  20. Avatar mad_russian says:

    Excellent article and response to the current controversy regarding Dragoncon. When the Flogio’s cancelled I had the intuition to think it was because of the current state of connection the Ed Kramer. I’ve been a volunteer for the con for a number of years and it stinks that this issue has to hang a dark cloud over a fantastic convention. I’ve thought about the Catch-22 of supporting the con with the knowledge that some of the revenue goes to Ed Kramer. Like you, I do believe in innocent until proven guilty but his pattern of behavior definitely leads to the belief of that he is most likely guilty of the crimes of which he has been accused.

    A huge buzz was generated by Adrianne Curry when she discovered his connection and as she was a victim of child molestation she took a major stand regarding her feelings about his association with Dragoncon that sparked a firestorm of responses. Quite a few people jumped on board her wagon to support her without all of the information.

    Ending the con would be a horrible mistake that would adversely affect the businesses in the Atlanta area. Dragoncon has also made a lot of strides to raise money for numerous charities that cater to children. Unfortunately they will never be able to blot out the connection that Kramer has to this event. Even if it was dissolved and reformed, the basic association that many of the board members have to him will be discussed. What do we do? There is no perfect answer to this problem, but hopefully they will be able to rid themselves of any form of connection to him.Report

  21. Avatar ElfGrove says:

    Love this article. Shocked that I garnered a mention, but it’s great to see more and more people taking a more balanced view of the situation.Report

  22. Well, if you care at all what a stranger to your blog thinks about the boycott issue in a novella length answer, I did that here.