A camera crew at New York Comic-Con, toting Sirius Satellite Radio business cards and conducting sleazy and racially-tinged interviews, was exposed in record time this weekend by conference-goers. They were actually covering the event for "Man Banter," which appears to be some kind of generic YouTube douchecast. Here's one report, from Bethany Maddock:
Yesterday, at around 3:30 I was approached by this film crew. They stopped me and asked for an "interview" for some kind of TV show. I agreed, it's a very normal thing to have happen at large conventions like NYCC. What happened next was not so normal however. … Before the interviewer even uttered a question there was an immediate problem. He locked eyes with my chest. I noticed, covered myself up with my arms and pointed at my face powergirl style and said "HEY eyes up here buddy"
The visual undressing proceeded immediately to a verbal one:
Then the very first question that pops out if his mouth was "So, does your costume help you get laid?" It's at that point where all my con creeper stories I've read on tumblr and heard through my friends, kicked in. I ended the interview immediately.
She went to the security office with photos of the creeps, but got no relief:
After meeting with security, sending them this very clear picture of the offender, and being assured something would be done to protect my fellow cosplayers…. I ran into them again much later in the day in the artists alley, interviewing other cosplayers. … What are we, as women supposed to do when this happens to us. I did everything I was told to do in that situation, and no one could protect me from it. How can we try to stop that kind of behavior happening at conventions when no one is willing to protect the very people they're supposed to protect?
Diana M. Pho, a panel moderator at the convention, had a run-in with the same team:
I was walking through Artist Alley with my friend A, who was dressed as steampunk-version of Death from The Sandman comics. I was dressed in an Asian steampunk outfit … As you can see in the photo, I was modestly dressed (steampunk!) and carrying my parasol. We had been stopped numerous times for pictures from attendees and interviewed courtesy by another press crew while in the Artist Alley. This is why I didn't hesitate when a man dressed in a dark T shirt and dark jeans pulled me aside and hurriedly asked for an interview. …
TCI: So, if I were walking in the rain, could I pay you to walk next to me with your umbrella?
Me: Pay me?
TCI: If I paid you?
Me: Then, buy your own umbrella.
TCI: No, I want to buy an umbrella with an Asian girl.
(Warning bell one)
Me: Then no.
TCI: Are you a geisha?
TCI: Can I be a geisha?
(Warning bell two)
Me. No, you can't.
TCI: Why not?
Me: Because you lack certain things, like style, tact, grace—
TCI: Ah, but do I smell?
Me: Well, I dunno, I've only stood next to you for about 20 seconds, so I can't tell if you do or not. But however—
TCI: Well in my experience, girls who stand next to me longer than 20 seconds get a cream pie.
The convention's organizers have some explaining to do. Given the Comic Con's dismissive pseudo-apology after being caught sending spam from attendees' twitter accounts ("We … apologize for any perceived overstep"), I wouldn't expect much.
"Man Banter," however, is in the mood to apologize–"to anyone offended," at least.
I hear Moo does great deals on custom business cards.
UPDATE: Diana M. Pho received a positive response from ReedPOP, the organizers of NYCC!
I appreciate you bringing this unfortunate situation to my attention and I'm so sorry that it happened at all. It's unfortnate that there are still people out there that think disrespectful behavior such as what you experienced is acceptable in any setting.