Why Anime Conventions Are Still Inviting Sexual Predators As Guests
When the Squeaky Stair is Silenced By a Body Pillow
by Erica Friedman and J. Lynn Hunt
Anime, Japanese animation, does not make it into mainstream media coverage all that often. Despite rising profits, sold-out theatrical releases and the top US comics publisher in 2017 being neither Marvel nor DC, but Viz Media, a manga company, most North Americans will never have heard of them, or seen even their most popular titles.
Nonetheless, in 2019, anime made media headlines as voice actor Vic Mignogna embarrassed himself — helped along by his fans and his lawyers - in an agonizing lawsuit against his former company Funimation and former coworkers. The lawsuits, which Mignogna lost, were meant to punish people who had been the subject of assault by Mignogna and were — and still — on the receiving end of harassment campaigns run by his “stans,” fans of his committed to supporting him financially and emotionally. Mignogna and his IStandWithVic fans were — and still are — angry that multiple occasions of sexual assault, harassment and general creeping were made public when a number of people came forward with credible statements that he had been known for years for “unwanted affection” towards young, often underage female fans. He was removed from roles by at least two companies for whom he did work, Rooster Teeth and the aforementioned Funimation.
Now that that headline case is settled, in this post-Vic world, it would seem obvious that anime events would do better in regards to hosting known predators, which would invite close scrutiny of policies, past incidents and potential future lawsuits. That seems obvious, doesn’t it?
This is not the case.
Despite all of this, we learned this week of another anime convention that has announced a known predator on staff. This isn’t a whisper-network unknown, Ryan Kopf has been banned from at least one convention for predatory behavior and has faced criminal charges. Mignogna was uninvited to several conventions, then quietly re-invited, which triggered cancellations by other invited guests.
Anime cons are still inviting known sexual predators as Guests or having them on staff. The…