I have been googling DragonCon too much and talking about it too much and I know that. I have even been finding articles about it and arguing with the people who post on it. I decided to respond to the objections concerning the boycott of DragonCon in this post and I realize that I should be less acerbic about it. I realized this by thinking about what I would say if it was the convention that I love to go to (which is CONvergence) instead of one that I never attend (mostly because I am usually broke by Labor Day weekend). Basically, what if one of the CONvergence founders and major shareholders was accused of child molestation and was making money from CONvergence. Would I be so eager to boycott CONvergence? Probably not. I would have to think about it because CONvergence is my one opportunity throughout the year to unwind and hang out with my Minnesota friends. I may still boycott it but I would think about it and I might actually make the same excuses that DragonCon's defenders are making - all the while convincing myself that I am making perfectly rational decisions.
So the reason for boycotting DragonCon is that Ed Kramer is making money from it. He has a 34% share in the convention and makes an estimated $150 thousand a year from the convention. In short, if you choose to attend DragonCon either as a guest or a paid attendee you are contributing to the man's concerted effort to pervert the justice system and delay prosecution. As far as I'm concerned, that's reason enough to avoid DragonCon. Call me idealistic, but I really don't want to be an accessory to child molestation. Still there are people who argue against the boycott, and most of them aren't stupid or evil. So I will try to respond as respectfully as possible.
Innocent until proven Guilty
This particular one has not been terribly popular lately. I think it's the "fool me 15-20 times shame on you, end up with a naked 14 year old boy in your motel room, shame on me" evolution. There were plenty of people that I once respected lining up to state that Ed Kramer was a victim of circumstance, an outcast, an example of Southern antisemitism. However, as the trial has been delayed repeatedly due to "health reasons", Kramer has openly defied whatever crippling defect he supposedly suffers from to hike through Connecticut mountains, show up at DragonCon in 2008, end up in a hotel room with a 14 year old boy. Sure, the boy's mother supposedly says that there was nothing going on, but do you really expect the woman to admit to herself that she basically let her son get raped? The worst chutzpah was the delays in the case that were accompanied by statements concerning Ed Kramer eager to have his day in court. Considering that we have witnesses stating the Kramer either raped them or attempted to isolate young boys and Kramer's own manipulative behavior in the past 12 years, it would take the most deluded view of human nature to think that Kramer is innocent.
DragonCon has nothing to do with Ed Kramer
The party line repeated by DragonCon PR people is that Ed Kramer cut off all ties with DragonCon in 2000. Yet in 2008, he was invited back as a guest. Furthermore, his decision to sue DragonCon for royalties proved that he's a 34% shareholder in the convention and makes $150K a year from it. DragonCon has consistently lied about its ties to Ed Kramer and while that might be understandable (no one wants to be the guy that goes "ok, he makes a lot of money from DragonCon but we rarely invite him back") it makes the lie no less reprehensible. DragonCon HAS ties to Ed Kramer and its NOT a case of "just one individual" as some make it out to be. If it was a case of "would you boycott DragonCon due to one individual?" then of course, one would answer no. However, the question is "would you attend DragonCon knowing that your money is going to a child molester's bank account and being used to pervert the justice system?" or more pithy "Do you want to be an accessory to pedophilia?"
DragonCon WANTS to cut ties to Ed Kramer but legally can't
The subset of this objection is that DragonCon is going through a court case and it can't defend itself publicly because of a gag order or attorney advice. Of course, the "DragonCon can't make statements" is a bogus reason given by people who want to think the best of DragonCon. As noted above, DragonCon has been making statements - false statements concerning their relationship with Ed Kramer and as recently as 2008 they were inviting him to be a guest. While I highly doubt the veracity of this claim given DragonCon's official statements, let's for the moment pretend that it's true. Let's pretend that DragonCon has been doing all it can to either buy out Ed Kramer or change its incorporation for the past 12 years and every attorney has told them that there is no way that they can force Ed Kramer from the shareholders.
No seriously, boycotting DragonCon is about refusing to give money to a pedophile. If DragonCon is legally bound to give money to a pedophile, why is this the problem of the people considering a boycott? The only thing this argument does is make the people who have already chosen to attend DragonCon to feel justified in their decision to be accessories to pedophilia. If you're considering whether or not to go to DragonCon, are you supposed to hear this argument and think "Oh! They have no choice but to give money to Ed Kramer! I should go support them"? If DragonCon REALLY has not choice and can't get out of their agreement with Kramer, that doesn't mean that YOU have no choice. If you accept a guest invitation or pay to go to DragonCon, you have made a CHOICE. And it's a terrible one.
What about the poor vendors, hotels, etc.?
It is true that DragonCon supports an entire economy of vendors who make money from the weekend. Some of the vendors stay in the black due solely to their sales at DragonCon. Is it fair that you have chosen to not attend and purchase their products? Two answers - first, the vendors are also choosing to attend DragonCon and support it and knowing that Ed Kramer is directly profiting from their decision, can you really call them innocent?
Second, to paraphrase Newt Gingrich, if a company is too big too fail, it's also too big to operate efficiently. In other words, it SHOULD fail. We all know about supply and demand but somehow the proponents of the vendors are refusing to apply it here. They think that demand will somehow magically disappear if it isn't applied to DragonCon. In truth, there were several conventions in Atlanta before DragonCon became the behemoth it is today and with a boycott, the demand doesn't go away. The people who are staying away from DragonCon aren't going stop wanting to buy swords, Dalek t-shirts, books, Tarot cards and steampunk clothing just because they aren't attending DragonCon. And right now, the vendors have an opportunity to win a PR coup by making a statement concerning their disgust with the continuing Ed Kramer situation and their intention to boycott. The phrase "we realize that by boycotting DragonCon, we are cutting into our profits but we felt that given the situation, we cannot in good conscience support the convention" would make the first vendor look like a company the puts people over profits and ironically result in more profits than they could get out of DragonCon. Of course, that's only for the first couple of vendors. The 18th vendor to boycott DragonCon would just seem like it's following along.
Nancy Collins is crazy
This one seems to have been popular in the first 6-10 years of the Ed Kramer scandal. It still gets traction because people don't want to hear bad news. And if the bad news is "by attending DragonCon, you are supporting a pedophile" then it makes sense to try to kill the messenger. No one wants to admit that they've been helping to keep a pedophile out of jail. A variation of this trope happened in September when Peter David went around commenting on articles about DragonCon and attacking the writers as insinuating a relationship with Ed Kramer and then stating that the writer is just engaging in sour grapes over not getting a press pass to DragonCon. Yet, even if Nancy Collins is completely insane and bitter and thinks that the government puts fluoride in the drinking water in order to keep all the sheeple from seeing how their Second Amendment rights are being eroded for the eventual military Big Brother takeover, that doesn't mitigate the fact that Ed Kramer is a pedophile and making $150K a year from DragonCon.
The trope of the grown man fucking the little boy is a time honored tradition in Western Culture and has been repeated in several contexts from Ancient Greece to Feudal Japan to the Renaissance and therefore should be celebrated instead of prosecuted
Actually this is probably the only reason why people should attend DragonCon these days.