Last week, a friend sent me the news that one of the founders of DragonCon, the large sci-fi/fantasy convention in Atlanta, GA, was arrested for child molestation. Ed Kramer was first arrested back in 2000 on charges that he sexually abused three teens but he was found to be physically incapable of standing trial. He was placed under house arrest though allowed to travel for medical treatment and to visit his mother.

In 2011, he was arrested again for violation of his bond conditions when he was found in a Connecticut hotel room with a camera and a 14-year old boy wearing nothing but a towel. After fighting extradition back to Georgia, he’s now finally back in jail waiting to face his charges.

This was all pretty horrifying, but I didn’t think much more of it due to the article stating that Kramer resigned from DragonCon back in 2000 shortly after his first arrest.

That is, until today, when Elyse alerted me to the fact that writer Nancy A. Collins is calling for a boycott of DragonCon based on the fact that they are apparently still paying him upwards of $150,000 per year. Collins points out that Kramer still holds stock in the convention and refuses to be bought out. DragonCon has had the past 12 years to come up with a solution to cut him out, such as dissolving and reincorporating, but they haven’t. Instead, according to this (trigger warning on this link) detailed account of Kramer’s transgressions, Collins has been “ostracized” from the convention circuit for her continued criticism of Kramer.

And so, a moral quandary appears!

While Kramer almost certainly has little to no control over the actual conference, every ticket sold does increase his personal wealth, which he has been using for the past 12 years to avoid trial and violate his bond. For the past four years, Skepchick has been unwittingly contributing to that by having a presence at DragonCon in the form of participation in the SkepTrack. I always enjoy DragonCon, and there are tons of great skeptics in the area who come out for it. And, I’ve always accepted the fact that DragonCon is a for-profit business. But I’m not sure how I can feel good about participating again when I know where so much of that money is going.

There’s a long-standing controversy over separating a work from its author. I’ve always strived to keep them separate and appreciate a work on its own, but when the author is a terrible person who benefits from my purchasing or participating in the work, it’s a different story. So to speak.

I’m not saying that I or Skepchick as a whole will definitely be boycotting DragonCon, as it’s something I have to think a lot about. But I do hope that DragonCon’s leadership will take this seriously and do the right thing, and save us all from a difficult decision.

EDIT: I’ve been informed that due to a legal battle between Kramer and DragonCon, DragonCon may be legally prohibited from defending themselves publicly at this time. I’ll be interested to hear their defense when they can state it.

Featured image via GA Daily News

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org and appears on the weekly Skeptics' Guide to the Universe podcast. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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115 Comments

  1. Profile photo of phlebas
    January 29, 2013 at 12:38 pm —

    Lots of questions.

    Does anyone know what’s involved in dissolving and reincorporating? That might cut Kramer out, but what else would it do? Before this latest arrest, did it seem like it would be worth the hassle over a man who had never even gone to trial, much less been convicted? AFAIK, Kramer hasn’t been repeatedly arrested and released — he had the one accusation in 2000 that he’s been trying to get thrown out, and then there was this new one. And it’s not like people have been calling for a Dragon*Con boycott for the last 12 years.

    So I don’t know. There is a lot that hasn’t come out yet (or that I’ve not seen yet). Nancy Collins is free to have her boycott, but I don’t think we know whether she’s aiming at the right target. I guess we’ll see.

    • Profile photo of phlebas
      January 29, 2013 at 12:55 pm —

      ADDENDUM: It appears Nancy has been going after Kramer since 2000, although it seems this is the first time she’s called for a boycott.

      One of the links on srbissette.com claims that current Dragon*Con leadership tried to freeze Kramer out of his dividends but was forced by the courts to eventually pay him. It’ll be interesting to see what D*C does next.

    • Profile photo of phlebas
      January 29, 2013 at 1:01 pm —

      ANOTHER ADDENDUM: I am not without bias, since I live in Atlanta and I want Rebecca and all the Skepchicks and all of the rest of you to come visit for Dragon*Con. I am trying to move past it :)

  2. Profile photo of Spidor
    January 29, 2013 at 12:54 pm —

    I get a very positive feeling when I read an article like this. It’s a touchy subject, and there’s no easy answer. I feel positive because, based on your statement, you are taking it seriously and not just giving a knee-jerk response. There’s far more to consider than I can know, not being a part of your organization. I’m glad to know, however, that a lot of thought is being put into the decision, and that it will be given the serious thought and discussion that it needs.
    I also hope that your decision is supported by your readers and fellow skeptics, whatever it is. We all need to remember that we do not know better than you what is best for you.

  3. Profile photo of krelnik
    January 29, 2013 at 1:08 pm —

    Per what Phlebas says, and the details in the Atlanta Magazine article – it would seem that any payments being made to Kramer have only been done reluctantly. Quoting the article: “[Kramer] was forced to file the second suit last year in an effort to collect his 2011 dividend of $154,000.” Pat Henry refused to comment for the article, but reading between the lines there it seems like he’s trying to do the right thing here.

    I used to be a Director of Dragon*Con (until 1997), so I’ve known Pat Henry for quite some time. (I’ve also knew Kramer back in those days, and visited his Duluth home mentioned in the article once, over 15 years ago). My impression is that Henry is a good person and trying to do the right thing. But like anyone, he is bound by legal agreements he’s entered into, and Dragon*Con’s incorporation LONG predates these accusations. I don’t think its reasonable to launch a boycott to try to get an organization to retroactively rewrite legal documents it couldn’t have known would have these implications.

    They’ve cut Kramer out of the running of the convention, expunged him from the website, and so on. They’ve banned collections for Kramer’s legal fund. The lawsuits show they are not cooperating with him.

    This is a not-for-profit organization, what more can they be asked to do?

    • Profile photo of Rebecca Watson
      January 29, 2013 at 1:17 pm —

      “This is a not-for-profit organization, what more can they be asked to do?”
      DragonCon is a for-profit corporation.

      • Profile photo of krelnik
        January 29, 2013 at 1:23 pm —

        Ok, I stand corrected but my question still stands. Can they reasonably asked to rewrite old contracts unilaterally? Is that even legally possible, without Kramer’s consent? (I suspect not, if the Atlanta Magazine article’s details are correct). If that is the case, the boycott is pointless – they cannot give you what you are asking for.

    • Profile photo of Tim Lieder
      January 30, 2013 at 8:51 pm —

      Well that’s not entirely the case. FOr the past 12 years DragonCON has been outright lying about him having no connection to the Con. Even if he’s banned from attending (a very big if since other reports say that they were thinking of inviting him as a GOH in 2008) he still pocketed $150K a year. If they had come out and said that they were unfortunately putting money in his pocket due to the fact that he’s a shareholder and had actively attempted to buy him out in the last 12 years, this wouldn’t be happening now.

      As it stands, attending Dragon Con either as guest or an attendee is putting money into Ed Kramer’s pocket and allowing him to further pervert the justice system even as his victims (the ones who really want their day in court) are dismissed as cranks and people with axes to grind.

      There are other conventions in the United States and if this boycott of DragonCon is successful, there can be another huge convention in Atlanta in any other part of the year that does NOT support pedophilia (reluctantly or happily – it doesn’t matter)

      • Profile photo of Wrenn Simms
        February 4, 2013 at 10:43 am —

        First, Tim, They haven’t been lying.

        Second, he’s legally entitled to the share holder dividends on his investment. You don’t understand investments. They don’t ‘give’ him hisd dividends( which aren’t 154K year, as you also seem to claim, we do know, however, by inference that dividends are based on attendance. From what has been written about that court case.) He is legally entitled to get a return on his inditial investment, the same as any person who buys stock or shares in a public or private corporation is entitled. Are you saying you’d boycot Apple if you found out that he Kramer held Apple stock that gave him dividends?) We also don’t know what the 2011 154K settlement you are alluding to contained. How much in dividends, how much in lawyers fees, etc.
        Third, somehow, according to the Wayback machine, he was a ‘special guest’ in 2008. So somebody on one of the tracks comped his membership for panel time, which only DragonCon knows (the programming for individual tracks is somewhat independent from each other- DC operates more like 4-5 different cons going on at the same time in the same place, at least for programming). How you inflate that to GOH is your hyperbole, calling him such is false.

        They have said they’ve been trying to buy him out. They even maneuvered to get him to sell shares (which is why he’s down to 31%, from 51%. Yes, at one time, he was the MAJORITY stakeholder in DC).

        Assumption that it’s money from DragonCon that is keeping him out of jail. That’s a big assumption, given that the man has other assets and income. He made a boatload on The Crow.

        How you reserve your outrage for DC and not for the legal system that has clearly failed in this issue makes no sense to me. Except that you think you have a forum to complain about DC, and you don’t about the GA legal system and the GA and NY police?

        And Last, in answer to your repeated contention elsewhere in these threads – Arisia/Boskine and Mini-con/CONvergence… You can, with a straight face, compare a 55K+ convention with conventions of 3600 (2013 numbers)/400 and 500/5600 ?

        From the standpoint of someone who has worked and run conventions, (and been treasurer for ) from 200-15K attendance, you really don’t understand the logistics.

        I will spell it out. .If DC does go down. If it does disband the corporation, it would take them from 3-5 years to reform. The sour taste they will leave in the mouths of the 5+ hotels as they break multi year contracts worth ten to a hundred thousand dollars or more with will linger. Good luck with trying to start another sci fi convention in the city. I would lay my own money (and one or two of my partner’s advances) that the business people of Atlanta will not be happy to deal with ‘those flighty’ sci fi people. If it goes down it takes the livlihood of the other investors down with it. (But you see that as acceptable collateral damage)

        the 21-25 million dollars it brings in to Atlanta reall does matter. The ‘oh, dealers will just go to other cons’ also tells me you have not discussed this with any people who make their living selling at cons (I have lived with one. I also do the taxes for two such companies) Most would tell you that the majority of the cons they do each year cover basic operating expenses,. They break even on the con and can pay for most of their restocking of merchandies. But they will also tell you that there are those 2-3 cons a year where they make ALL their profit. What pays for their personal exoenses, not just the ongboing company ones. DC is one such convention. (Otakon and Anime Boston are two others that I know this has been said for. )

        All I can see is that any objection to the boycott is met with ‘oh, that really isn’t a problem’ said without any real knowledge or checking of information or the return attack of ‘Then you support pedophilia’.

        Do you know what I want? I want him to go to trial. I want him to be found guilty (I’m of the opinion, I think he is. I don’t know though). THEN I want his victims to bring the civil suits to hit his income streams. (I’m frankly surprised that these civil suits are not pending. They should be. The burden of proof is far less stringent on the civil side.)

        I think the situation with DC is unfortunate. They’re hands are tied, at least until the court case is done (there are things they can do once he’s found guilty). But my outrage is reserved for the legal system and the police.

  4. Profile photo of chrisfixedkitty
    January 29, 2013 at 1:27 pm —

    Disclaimer: I have a friend or two who are currently involved in the running of DragonCon. They’re good folks, they have put good policies into place for female and younger congoers, and they’re certainly not making that kind of money off working on organizing each year’s con behind the scenes throughout the year. Most of those folks you see working at Dragoncon are volunteers.

    It sounds like the Dragoncon organization has tried to sever the links by attempting to buy Kramer out. They refused to have online fundraiser links for his legal fund, and are clearly no longer working with him in any way. They’re also regularly forcing him to sue for annual dividends, according to one of the articles you linked. That certainly sounds like they are making strong efforts to cut him out!

    Suggesting that the organization needs to do something more ignores the legal steps they’re already taking, and the additional step of undergoing the legal costs and logistical nightmare of dissolving and reorganizing a 5 hotel convention without skipping a year of the convention actually being held is not a simple thing. And, as Phlebas points out, might not have been worth the cost to the organization. Considering how savvily Kramer has been working the criminal legal system based on the linked articles, I could understand their decision to not go to any further lengths against one man when they do have a convention to run. It is the legal system’s job to punish him for his crimes. Kramer obviously can’t attend the convention.

    I’m troubled to hear this charge of silencing one of their many author speakers based on this ethical stand and am waiting to hear more details when they can be released, but DragonCon is a private, membership-based event with dozens of speakers and celebrity guests, probably over a hundred and they have the right to not invite anyone they think will cause trouble. It may be that they can’t have the open debate for legal reasons and so have refused to invite Nancy Collins to avoid compromising their present legal actions. If Nancy Collins wants to boycott them, fine. But it may turn out that supporting the folks who run DragonCon in their current efforts to cut ties will actually work against Kramer more effectively.

    • Profile photo of Tim Lieder
      January 30, 2013 at 8:56 pm —

      I’m sure most of the people involved in DragonCon do not want to give money to Ed Kramer at this point. I’m sure that by NOW they are trying to legally distance themselves. However, in the past 12 years they have stuck to a lie about how he had nothing to do with DragonCon. And he has used. that $1.8 million he’s made in the past 12 years to pervert the justice system.

      It’s stupid to think that attending DragonCon and giving DragonCon your money and/or presence to attract people will work against Ed Kramer when he’s getting a huge payday every year from the Con. Also, it’s not up to the fans and the guests to figure out a way to extract Ed Kramer from DragonCon. That’s DragonCon’s job and if they fail at their job (for all the reasons and excuses that you make) then it’s up to the individual to decide whether or not they want to support pedophilia.

      And since there is a demand for a large science fiction convention in Atlanta, then maybe this is the time for your friends to stop making excuses and found one. This has happened with Boskone/Arisia and MiniCon/Convergence. The original con will still be there, but there will be an alternative for people who don’t want to give money to a pedophile.

      • Profile photo of Skepticality
        January 31, 2013 at 8:55 am —

        The irrationality is more than impossibly thick in this discussion.
        #1 here in America, you are innocent until proved guilty, he hasn’t had his trial yet. The reason has zero at all to with any money he has. Blame Bob Barr, he is the DA who handles the Kramer case, Bob has been too pre-occupied with his own political career to give two craps about the medical excuses that the lawyers for Kramer concoct up, so the man gets a ‘free ride’, (if you can call it that), in house arrest, confined mainly to a bed requiring machinery to breathe properly.

        Coming to the convention DOES have zero to do with Kramer, no matter how much you want it to be otherwise. Legal requirements make it such that almost no one knows the ‘exact’ details of the settlements that Dragon*Con had to end up to avoid paying Kramer as much as he wanted, and it won’t matter if they dissolve or not, you might want to learn a bit about how settlements and contract law works before you want to keep believing that any money from your membership to Dragon*Con has much to do with the money given to a man who is still TECHNICALLY innocent.

        Do I know if he is actually guilty or not? No, not a clue, I only met the man once back around 1994 for about 2 hours when I breezed into Dragon*Con that year to present an award. He didn’t ‘seem’ like anything more than the typical big nerd/geek fan boy type person all of us are quite familiar with. And, if anyone wants to actually be honest, you would realize that anyone like that, many of us, could easily be made into some form of ‘nutty’ figure in the public light as well.

        So, some common sense and rational thinking might need to be used over blood raising media spin style banter.

        • Profile photo of Joel Adams
          June 10, 2013 at 9:00 pm —

          “#1 here in America, you are innocent until proved guilty, he hasn’t had his trial yet.”

          So what you’re saying is, as Americans, we cannot make the call for ourselves. Yeah, that’s absurd. A fair trial doesn’t include deciding for one’s self and Kramer DID IT and DragonCon money has not only gotten him out of jail and stalled his trial indefinitely, but allowed him to prey on more boys. You might say that DC money has allowed him to negate his day in court.

          “Blame Bob Barr, he is the DA who handles the Kramer case, Bob has been too pre-occupied with his own political career to give two craps about the medical excuses that the lawyers for Kramer concoct up, so the man gets a ‘free ride’, (if you can call it that), in house arrest, confined mainly to a bed requiring machinery to breathe properly.”

          You might wanna get your facts straight here. Bob Barr is one of MANY attorneys representing Kramer and heads up the legal team. He’s arguably the most powerful lawyer in Georgia. Without DC, Kramer’d be stuck with a public pretender. Danny Porter is the DA and in this case, because of DC, Kramer has more resources than the state to put into this case. No, I’ll stick to blaming the people giving Kramer money and the organization that has been lying their asses off it for more than a decade, even hosting “FREE ED” fundraisers as late as 2008.

          “Coming to the convention DOES have zero to do with Kramer, no matter how much you want it to be otherwise.”

          Zero? There’s a few zeroes on the check DC cuts Kramer every year, lol. Kramer owns as much as Pat Henry and they are the two largest shareholders, so no, when you give DC money a small portion goes to Ed then his lawyers.

          “Legal requirements make it such that almost no one knows the ‘exact’ details of the settlements that Dragon*Con had to end up to avoid paying Kramer as much as he wanted, and it won’t matter if they dissolve or not, you might want to learn a bit about how settlements and contract law works before you want to keep believing that any money from your membership to Dragon*Con has much to do with the money given to a man who is still TECHNICALLY innocent.”

          No, he’s not technically innocent. The courts will find him “guilty” or “not guilty.” But we all know Kramer did it and it was hammered home when he was busted in a motel room in Connecticut with a 14-year-old boy in 2011, whilst out on bond.

          “Do I know if he is actually guilty or not? No, not a clue,”

          Then get your head out of your ass and get a clue. Three boys in Georgia have come forward, not to mention previous allegations he slipped before this arrest and, of course, the bust in Connecticut. You DC supporters enabled him to get out of jail and assault more boys. Aren’t you proud?

          “I only met the man once back around 1994 for about 2 hours when I breezed into Dragon*Con that year to present an award. He didn’t ‘seem’ like anything more than the typical big nerd/geek fan boy type person all of us are quite familiar with. And, if anyone wants to actually be honest, you would realize that anyone like that, many of us, could easily be made into some form of ‘nutty’ figure in the public light as well.”

          Or as weirdos, geeks and nerds, we could recognize the situation for what it is and stop supporting a child molester. Are we as bad as all those Penn State fans? DC CEO Pat Henry has publicly called Kramer’s victims liars. The public didn’t make him into a sex predator, but people like you sure as fuck wanna take up for him.

          “So, some common sense and rational thinking might need to be used over blood raising media spin style banter.”

          Ration would dictate the following: Kramer’s been accused of molesting several boys. He was arrested, charged and awaiting trial. He lied his ass off about health problems to secure his release and stall. This included some very expensive lawyers, like Bob Barr to pull off and Ed’s not done much work since his arrest. DC has been making money hand over fist and Kramer owns 31 percent of it. DC has also had fundraisers and booked him as a guest since his arrest. CEO Pat Henry has publicly denounced the victims and their families and frequently changes DC’s official stance on Kramer (even lying about it until the recent lawsuit Kramer had against them where details came out concerning his ownership). And since Kramer’s release, he was caught in another state, alone, with a 14-year-old boy in a motel room after lying to Atl. authorities concerning his whereabouts.

          A rational person might surmise from these facts that DC is Ed’s primary income and that by supporting it, one would be helping Ed in a largely effective fight against these charges.

          A rational person who doesn’t want to give money to this cause might opt to find another convention (there’s THOUSANDS of them; several in Atlanta), rather than help finance this nonsense until Ed is found NOT GUILTY (won’t happen).

          A rational person would also conclude that Ed is actively avoiding trial because, even with a legal dream team run by Bob Barr, he doesn’t stand a chance in hell, because he’s guilty as sin.

          But you’re either not a rational person or haven’t done your homework, yet are spouting off nonsense.

  5. Profile photo of James Fox
    January 29, 2013 at 1:36 pm —

    It would seem to me that most corporations have morals clauses and if DragonCon doesn’t there’s not much anyone can do except dissolve and reform. And if they do have a morals clause then it may be that Ed can be forced to sell and shown the door if and only if he gets convicted. Also it may be even more difficult to separate Ed from DragonCon if he’s part owner and his name is on all the incorporating documents despite his lack of recent involvement.

    • Profile photo of phlebas
      January 29, 2013 at 2:00 pm —

      That was sort of my thought. Any action D*C could legally take to stop paying Kramer might not kick in until his conviction. I think it *should* be difficult for a company to stop paying dividends to its stockholders, too.

      Nancy Collins’ post implies that dissolving Dragon*Con as an organization and reforming it is a simple thing to do. I know absolutely nothing about such things, but I bet she’s wrong. How many other stockholders are there? What about creditors? Existing deals with the convention hotels? What happens to any trademarks owned by Dragon*Con if they disappear? And the thousands of other questions I don’t know enough to ask?

      It’s going to be interesting to see what happens.

      • Profile photo of Rebecca Watson
        January 29, 2013 at 2:25 pm —

        “Nancy Collins’ post implies that dissolving Dragon*Con as an organization and reforming it is a simple thing to do. I know absolutely nothing about such things, but I bet she’s wrong. ”

        I agree. But still, it’s gotta be easier than paying this asshole $150K a year and/or going to court every year to fight paying him $150K.

        • Profile photo of phlebas
          January 29, 2013 at 3:04 pm —

          Rebecca, the verdict seems to be “OMG please come to Dragon*Con”

      • Profile photo of James Fox
        January 29, 2013 at 2:32 pm —

        Indeed, I expect there are a raft of contracts stretching out many years into the future where hotels and conference centers, vendors and caterers would not be very happy at all if their contracts were suddenly voided if DC folded, and they might be in a good position to sue for breach of contract or DC may not even be in a position to fold because of binding contracts they are party to. The more I think about it the fold and reform suggestion seems quite short sighted in light of all the other companies that make loads of money off of DragonCon. Ed may end up being a boil on the ass of DragonCon that everyone just ignores and as long as they keep their pants up few will notice, and hopefully they will find a legal way to get him excised.

      • Profile photo of Loren
        January 29, 2013 at 4:45 pm —

        “And the thousands of other questions I don’t know enough to ask?”

        Here’s just one: what about all the 2013 passes they sold last year, and have already pocketed the proceeds from? Dragon*Con 2013 may have already collected close to a million dollars or more in advance sales, without having spent much of anything yet. To dissolve with all that money in the bank could result in a windfall to Kramer.

    • Profile photo of Loren
      January 29, 2013 at 4:40 pm —

      Corporations have morals clauses in their contracts with employees. But Kramer’s not an employee or any sort of agent of Dragon Con / ACE Inc anymore. He’s already been replaced as CEO, and he clearly doesn’t hold any positions within the company.

      Instead, he’s just a stockholder. And a company can’t force a stockholder to sell his shares just because the stockholder is a creep (especially when he isn’t even a *convicted* creep yet).

      And if Kramer *were* bought out, what would he likely do with the proceeds? Invest in other stock. Would we then be called upon to boycott Apple because Kramer owns (and therefore profits from) a bunch of *their* stock? Or Home Depot? Or Coca-Cola?

      It’s regrettable that Kramer profits from Dragon*Con, and perhaps there are other ways to address the matter, but a boycott isn’t a viable solution.

      • Profile photo of Mike Anderson
        January 29, 2013 at 6:39 pm —

        “Corporations have morals clauses in their contracts with employees”

        Corporations *should*, but don’t always, especially in situations like this where the founders are all good close friends and it starts off as a quasi not-for-profit and then gradually turns into something more structured and organized.

        • Profile photo of Loren
          January 29, 2013 at 7:12 pm —

          But even *with* a morals clause, that would normally just cover removing him as a corporate officer. Which has already happened.

          Granted, I’m not fluent in corporate law, but I doubt that any common morals clause would obligate a stockholder to sell off their stock. Companies can easily be embarrassed by who they have as their officers or as a controlling interest (which justifies the morals clause), but when was the last time you heard about a corporation being attacked or boycotted over the identity of a minority shareholder?

          • Profile photo of Skepticality
            January 29, 2013 at 7:34 pm

            This battle has been going on for over 10 years. Dragon*Con has been doing its best to completely divest from the man. They have lots of legal folks who have been dealing with this whole mess since day one.

            If the people who actually do the work, and make the whole thing run have absolutely nothing to do with the man. Then, what more does anyone want from them?

            Sometimes, it seems, passion over one particular type of crime can blur the rationality out of an entire situation.

    • Profile photo of Wrenn Simms
      February 4, 2013 at 10:48 am —

      Even if they do have a morals clause – it likely couldn’t be invoked until conviction.

  6. Profile photo of Masala Skeptic
    January 29, 2013 at 1:51 pm —

    Yeah, it definitely seems like more information is needed here. While it’s obviously an issue that Kramer is benefiting from Dragon*Con, I’m unclear as to exactly what Collins’ goals are. I should boycott Dragon*Con until what exactly happens? She says she wants them to dissolve and reincorporate but, as several have said so far, I’m not sure how legally possible that is. I guess this is a wait-and-see thing until DC can respond in some way…

    And, of course, I also fall into the Biased-Because-I-Want-To-See-You-Guys-This-Fall category… :(

  7. Profile photo of Skepticality
    January 29, 2013 at 2:15 pm —

    This is all beyond the realm of bullshit.
    There is a butt-ton of legal reasons why even dissolving would not prevent any of this.
    Kramer has ZERO, beyond ZERO to do with Dragon*Con since he was forced out. Any payments to him are due to legal requirements. Even *IF* the attempted to dissolve, (The stupidest idea ever), and re-form there would STILL be legal requirements due to … guess what… the law.

    This is, yet another, tempest that people just want to make a big deal out of. Don’t be the equivalent of Dragon*Con 9/11 Truthers… we are skeptics for all that is reasonable.

    • Profile photo of Rebecca Watson
      January 29, 2013 at 2:27 pm —

      “Kramer has ZERO, beyond ZERO to do with Dragon*Con since he was forced out.”

      That is demonstrably untrue. They may want him to have zero to do with DragonCon but as a shareholder, he is very much still present. And it’s frankly ridiculous and insulting that you would cast these concerns as equivalent to a 9/11 conspiracy theory.

      • Profile photo of Mike Anderson
        January 29, 2013 at 6:42 pm —

        Can we also dwell a little on that figure?

        $150,000 is a lot of money. The median US adult earns slightly under $30,000 per year.

        If Kramer were only getting a few thousand a year, that might be something swallowable. But we’re talking about a considerable–by most standards, quite immense–sum of money. More money than many of us would earn in five or six years of full-time actual work. And this money goes to support the lifestyle and legal defences of an alleged child molester.

        That’s a little more to choke down.

        • Profile photo of Wrenn Simms
          February 4, 2013 at 11:12 am —

          So you want them to disolve, liquidate their accounts and sell of their equipment.

          And Kramer gets 31-34% (I am still unsure of the $ he holds of the stock, still checking) of that amount.

          Yes, you cut this current income stream (and rumor has it he has others. This is not his sole income), but you give him a large lump sum pay out to do it. (And as others have said, he can just invest that elsewhere to generate another revenue stream.)

    • Profile photo of marilove
      January 29, 2013 at 3:15 pm —

      “This is, yet another, tempest that people just want to make a big deal out of.
      ….
      Don’t be the equivalent of Dragon*Con 9/11 Truthers”

      This is what we call irony.

    • Profile photo of Joel Adams
      June 10, 2013 at 9:10 pm —

      eh, Ed wasn’t “forced out.” He sold his controlling shares, likely for a metric fuckload of money, likely to pay Bob Bar”s retainer.

      “Any payments to him are due to legal requirements.”

      Yep! But no one is legally obliged to attend DragonCon.

      “This is, yet another, tempest that people just want to make a big deal out of. Don’t be the equivalent of Dragon*Con 9/11 Truthers… we are skeptics for all that is reasonable.”

      And it is reasonable to assert that by supporting DC, you’re helping Ed fight the good fight against these charges. If you object to that, then the best course of action would be to not give The Dragon money. There’s nothing paranoid in stating that. I’m not giving him money. You obviously don’t have a problem with it, thus lack any sort of moral compass as do other DC supporters who are aware. Those who are unaware of this Kramer fiasco are being informed so they can make their own call on it.

  8. Profile photo of Clair
    January 29, 2013 at 2:30 pm —

    If it were possible for DragonCon to dissolve, what monies comes out of it, Kramer’s still going to be owed. Granted, I am assuming that there would be one final lump sum. From what I understand, Kramer’s shares were bought down to where he no longer has a controlling stake in D*C. So, even if he is convicted, he will still be able to keep/own stock.

    Then, take into account all of the contracts the convention has (hotels, vendors, and anything else I can’t think of or know about) that reach years into the future. How will those be affected? What legal and financial ramifications would the convention face?

    D*C is stuck between a rock and a hard place. They’re doing what they can legally, and from what I’ve gathered from TPTB, they’ve discussed ad nauseum options to try to get rid of Kramer out for good.

    • Profile photo of Mike Anderson
      January 29, 2013 at 6:45 pm —

      “Then, take into account all of the contracts the convention has (hotels, vendors, and anything else I can’t think of or know about) that reach years into the future. How will those be affected? What legal and financial ramifications would the convention face?”

      Almost none. So let’s say DC dissolves and immediately reforms as CD.

      You run a hotel. CD is offering to buy out the remaining duration on DC’s contract, at the original price, for the original duration, with the exact same services required.

      What kind of an idiot would say “No, I’d rather sue you”?

      • Profile photo of Wrenn Simms
        February 4, 2013 at 11:26 am —

        Seriously?
        First it can’t disolve and immedaiately reform. It has to stay disolved for 3-5 years (there are laws involved with this, otherwise companies would do this all the time to avoid payouts and creditors).

        It’s – no, I’d rather not deal with you (darn flighty sci fi types).

        And DC would have favorable rates based on their years of contact.

        And DC would have gotten discounted rates for next year and the year after etc, based on the fact that they wrote those contracts 3-6 years ago, guaranteeing that the corporation would pay. Now multiply that by 5 hotels and more.

        All those favorable rates go out the window. It would be top dollar, NOW.

        (PS. I was treasurer for large anime convention for 2 years. 3 hotels and a convention center.). These kinds of multiyear contracts, with locking in discounts and favorable rates years ahead, AND paying a percentage of each year’s deposit every quarter. Paying part of the next 5 year’s yearly deposit with each payment.) This is the same way many yearly conventions in set locations do their contracts. It is quite different from the way many small conventions do it though, as they usually only comimit to a year or two at a time. But it is a factor of the size and space commitment that the hotels and often convention centers make.

        They’d rather sue.

      • Profile photo of Laurel Halbany
        February 4, 2013 at 3:02 pm —

        YANAL, I’m guessing.

  9. Profile photo of Skepticality
    January 29, 2013 at 3:21 pm —

    @Rebecca seriously? I know you are far more intelligent than any of this BS. This whole thing has been put way behind Dragon*Con for over 10 years. The man only gets paid due to LEGAL reasons. No matter what anyone does he still be owed.

    Obviously, people love drama. So, keep going, obviously everyone at Dragon*Con is getting molested in the hallways left and right because some dude who has been under house arrest for over 10 years, and can’t even walk and requires heavy machinery just to walk has a mystical power over the energy of the entire convention!

    Move along, nothing to see here… obviously.

    • Profile photo of Spiffo
      January 29, 2013 at 3:33 pm —

      Rebecca is not saying that you will be molested by him, he is saying that part of your money is going to him. Which you are also saying. This debate is about “Okay, what do we do now?”

    • Profile photo of marilove
      January 29, 2013 at 3:40 pm —

      So, keep going, obviously everyone at Dragon*Con is getting molested in the hallways left and right because some dude who has been under house arrest for over 10 years,

      It’s always hysterical when people accuse others of “overreacting” … and then they post shit like this. Who has even implied this?

    • Profile photo of Masala Skeptic
      January 29, 2013 at 3:43 pm —

      Derek – wut? Nobody is saying that anyone at DC is being molested. That’s not even… wut?

      I think Rebecca’s post is pretty reasoned and calls for more information and waiting to see what comes to light. This isn’t an attack on DragonCon as a convention; it’s a question about money that we spend going to a pedophile. I think it’s pretty reasonable considering the amount of money people spend on DragonCon. Even if there’s nothing DC can do about it, it’s still a valid concern!

    • Profile photo of Mike Anderson
      January 29, 2013 at 6:46 pm —

      Why is it always the same people who repeat “skeptic skeptic skeptic” like a mantra turn out to have a stock of tinfoil hats in their basement?

  10. Profile photo of simonsays
    January 29, 2013 at 3:23 pm —

    Without knowing their actual bylaws it’s impossible to say what they can do. Every company has different rules. There are various creative and not-so-creative legal maneuvers we can speculate about but that is all.

  11. Profile photo of Skepticality
    January 29, 2013 at 3:29 pm —

    And, does it matter… at all, in any way?

    Nope….

  12. Profile photo of ekimbrough
    January 29, 2013 at 3:46 pm —

    As much as we justifiably despise a molester, we have to be careful about maneuvers such as dissolve-and-reincorporate. Example 1: Three investors share profits in a business they built, but two of them dissolve-and-reincorporate just to grab for themselves all the money the third person was getting. That’s a pure swindle. But what if the third person is REALLY OBNOXIOUS? Still a swindle. What if it’s REALLY GRATIFYING to cut him out? Still a swindle. Who gets to decide exactly when somebody is SO revolting that it’s finally okay to swindle them? Surely not the people who could profit by cutting somebody out.

    Example 2: Someone invents a widget and licenses it to another company for manufacture, in return for regular royalty checks. The inventor then embezzles a wad of money from another company. He gets ten years in prison and a $100,000 fine, because society has carfully decided through proper legislation that this is the correct punishment, no more no less. Now the company making the widget stops paying the inventor his royalty checks, on the grounds that he’s a jerk who doesn’t deserve it,and ought to get a bigger fine. Nope – That violates the principle that we use measured punishment in a civilized society – we don’t allow everyone else to violate contracts and pile on whatever extra punishments they feel like adding after the courts have acted. You may not want to go down this road, where it’s okay to swindle a person through a fancy legal maneuver or ignore contractual debts if you can just argue they’re a HUGE jerk.

    That said, there are other avenues open that don’t violate proportional punishment, don’t usurp what should be the court’s role, and don’t allow people to dissolve contracts just because they’ve decided they don’t like the other person in the contract. For starters…

    THIS IS WHY YOU PUT MORALS CLAUSES IN CONTRACTS. With a well-crafted morals clause, you can push a molester right out the door in a totally legal way. If you don’t have such a clause… uh-oh…

    If you’ve made the bad mistake of not having a morals clause, another recourse is a civil suit, seeking damages for one person willfully harming the company’s reputation and thus its value. The civil suit without a morals clause as legal ammunition is way messier and more expensive and basically just totally sucks – but there are reasons why society has chosen this sucky option over the far MORE sucky option of allowing people to dissolve or ignore contracts because they, and not a court, have decided the other person deserves it.

    If a jerk merely owns stock in a company, you may have to accept that there’s no recourse other than the criminal prosecution. Sorry, but a company can’t just confiscate or destroy somebody’s stock, just like you can’t go drain somebody’s bank account, even a murderer’s or a molester’s. In this case, the court gets to put the guy in jail for all eternity if convicted, but whatever assets he owns, though you may find it extremely rankling that he owns them, are just not legally connected to the crime or the punishment. This may resolve the dilemma of what to do if a person you DON’T like is receiving a stock dividend from a company you DO like – If the courts do their job of giving the jerk the exact proper penalty, then you don’t have to worry about dishing out an EXTRA penalty by reducing the company’s profits to give the jerk an extra fine. Admittedly, though, the question remains sticky if the jerk has a really significant percentage of all the stock and there’s another company with 100% jerk-free stock ownership offering identical service next door.

    Shorter version: If the court throws his ass in jail forever, we won’t have to agonize so much over all this analysis.

  13. Profile photo of Jack Jesberger
    January 29, 2013 at 3:50 pm —

    Like most commenters, I don’t have the inside information, but there are a few things I’m skeptical about here. It’s pretty obvious that DC’s options are limited in the face of Kramer’s rights. Rebecca’s claim that “But still, it’s gotta be easier than paying this asshole $150K a year and/or going to court every year to fight paying him $150K.” seems questionable. The law is pretty serious about owners getting the benefits of their own property, so DC’s other options could easily entail a lot more grief than what they’re doing now.

    I’m a pretty big fan of due process. Occasionally I’ll waver in cases where a party has exercised some kind of excessive privilege and then invokes due process when it looks like the privilege isn’t going to work. I’m thinking of Joe Paterno being local PSU emperor and telling authorities where to get off for years, then when the Sandusky affair resulted in him being fired, his fans whined about his being denied due process. However I don’t see anything like that here. DC isn’t thwarting due process, nor covering up or shielding Kramer. What Collins seems to be calling for is extralegal punishment of Kramer, inflicted by DC, under the threat of boycott, with potential legal and financial consequences to DC. All to the purpose of making Kramer poorer and more vulnerable to the law. This strikes me as ass-backwards. Assuming the worst about Kramer, I hope he gets smacked with the criminal penalties he’s got coming. But I don’t believe in having a third party figure out a way to punish him anyway just because he’s managed to defend himself successfully in the courts so far. One of the axioms of the system is that it’s allowed for defendants to prevail. Collins strikes me as wanting to bypass this. I can’t agree.

  14. Profile photo of pzmyers
    January 29, 2013 at 3:56 pm —

    Wait. So starting a big-time convention and then abandoning it to rape children can net you $150,000 per year? I swear, every since my children moved out and got jobs paying more than mine, I’ve been feeling like it was a major economic mistake to become a biology professor…but now you’re telling me that there’s more money in being a child molesting con non-organizer, and I’m feeling even worse.

    • Profile photo of freemage
      February 1, 2013 at 7:19 pm —

      Well, it seems like the money is coming from being an investor/stockholder in a successful enterprise–even if you’re a blight on society.

      Let’s say that Skepticon or Women in Secularism become so big it becomes viable to sell stock in the convention corporation. The IPO is a raging success, providing funds that enable the addition of more ‘scholarships’ for attendees in need, better family-care services during the event, and so on.

      Then, six months later, it’s discovered that the biggest investor is also the president of NAMBLA. Should WiS suffer in attendance for an investment they had no control over? I’d say no, and I’d suggest against a boycott of Dragon*Con on the same principle.

  15. Profile photo of Skepticality
    January 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm —

    Why did this even come up again, this complete line of bullshit gets drug out like a stinky, rotten, corpse every 3 or so years by the media. Mainly because people just don’t like to use their brain and think about how the legal process works.

    The guy hasn’t even had his proper trial because of his medical condition. So, technically, he is still innocent, until he has his real trial.

    There are other fairly ‘big’ name folks who come to skeptic conventions who are under the same level of legal trouble. Wait, at least one of them is under the scrutiny of the Federal Government, not a state. So…

    Again, what is the real point of any of this discussion?

    • Profile photo of simonsays
      January 29, 2013 at 4:11 pm —

      OK, so you’re even objecting that the discussion is being had. And apparently insinuating hypocrisy (re:mention of other ‘big’ name skeptic)

    • Profile photo of Masala Skeptic
      January 29, 2013 at 4:25 pm —

      Derek, the point of the discussion is that if it keeps coming up, it would be nice to understand all the facts so we can respond to it. I’ll admit that when I first read the article, it concerned me. I’d like to know that if I decide to attend DragonCon, it is with full knowledge of the facts of the case. Discussion is a GOOD thing. In this case, as Rebecca and others have said, we’re not saying that a boycott is warranted but that we need to understand the facts and what DragonCon can and cannot do.

      • Profile photo of Skepticality
        January 29, 2013 at 4:35 pm —

        @marlilove I hope you aren’t so brainless as to be directing that at me, it is a pretty flaccid comment to anyone really.

        Again, this has been hashed out many, many, times. The convention has done everything it can against Kramer that they can. He has been isolated, isn’t even involved with the convention at all. The man has almost been almost dead for over 10 years, hence why he has not had a ‘real’ trial, he requires a lot of machinery to stay alive. I don’t understand what ‘good’ this conversation does in the least. We are not part of the legal team, and the convention has been doing everything in its power to extract the legacy of Kramer since all of this started.

        All I need to know is if I will now have less folks I need to worry about making space for on my track of events and to go to bat for this year. In the end, let me know so I know who to write off.

        • Profile photo of marilove
          January 29, 2013 at 5:06 pm —

          “Brainless”? The irony keeps coming.

        • Profile photo of Rebecca Watson
          January 29, 2013 at 5:37 pm —

          It’s super impressive that an almost dead man made it a thousand miles away and got a boy alone in a hotel room with a camera.

          You aren’t doing DC any favors here, Derek.

        • Profile photo of Laurel Halbany
          February 4, 2013 at 3:07 pm —

          OK, so your point is, you like Dragon*Con so much you’re going to keep screaming at people to STFU until they do? How is that supposed to convince anyone to look at the situation calmly and figure out a) what’s really going on and b) how to react appropriately? You’re achieving the opposite result of what you claim to want.

    • Profile photo of marilove
      January 29, 2013 at 4:30 pm —

      Maybe next time you leave ANOTHER comment, you’ll add something new to the discusison, instead of repeating yourself.

    • Profile photo of Spiffo
      January 29, 2013 at 4:30 pm —

      re. innocent until proven guilty: The man was found alone with a 14-year old boy in a hotel room with nothing but a towel and a camera, and this is not a court of law.

      • Profile photo of Spiffo
        January 29, 2013 at 4:34 pm —

        hate to reply to myself but I have to add:

        The point of this discussion appears to be: “Your money is going to a pedophile, what are you going to do?” You agree that the money is going to a (yet-to-be-convicted) pedophile. Dragon*Con seems to hate that they have to continue giving your money to him. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s going to him. If you don’t even want to see this question there’s a handy red X in the corner that you should probably push, but it turns out some people DO want to discuss it so coming in all “WHY ARE YOU GUYS TALKING ABOUT THE SUBJECT OF THIS ARTICLE?” is kind of really dumb.

  16. Profile photo of pzmyers
    January 29, 2013 at 4:35 pm —

    The point of the discussion is that if I were to attend DragonCon, a portion of the money I would pay for the privilege goes to subsidize the legal fees of a child molester. I wouldn’t be comfortable with that.

    It’s not about accusing the con of malfeasance, or maligning it as a nest of perverts — I don’t think either is true. It’s simply the ugly fact that there’s a rather nasty fellow making three times my yearly salary off of the profits from the event. It’s also distressing that, even if he weren’t a child abuser, the organization is carrying along a parasite and not making an effort to shed it. They are flushing away $150K every year for a person who apparently does not contribute in any way to the quality of the con.

    • Profile photo of Loren
      January 29, 2013 at 4:53 pm —

      “It’s also distressing that, even if he weren’t a child abuser, the organization is carrying along a parasite and not making an effort to shed it.”

      That’s just untrue. From the Atlanta Magazine article, citing a complaint that Kramer filed *against* DragonCon for refusing to pay him: “According to court documents, between 2004 and 2006, [DragonCon CEO and Co-Founder] Henry tried to buy Kramer out—eventually offering as much as $500,000—but Kramer refused to sell without seeing a balance sheet. So Henry simply withheld Kramer’s dividend until he threatened legal action.”

  17. Profile photo of Skepticality
    January 29, 2013 at 4:38 pm —

    I love how we skeptics love to burn our own cities as Nero plays the fiddle…

    • Profile photo of marilove
      January 29, 2013 at 4:49 pm —

      Seriously, are you going to add something new to the discussion, or what?

    • Profile photo of bcmystery
      January 29, 2013 at 5:01 pm —

      Rebecca acknowledges a concern, raises some questions, commits to nothing except some investigation and asks for feedback. You arrive and completely freak out, put words into hers and other’s mouths, make over-the-top and inapt analogies, and generally stomp your feet and throw a tantrum, all the while pointedly ignoring everything people are actually saying.

      If you thought you were presenting yourself as an example of reasoned, thoughtful skepticism, you’ve failed. But if your goal was to get people like me to unsubscribe from your podcast and write you off as another pseudo-skeptical rage-stormer who misinterprets and overreacts to any question posed to some sacred cow of skepticism, you’ve succeeded.

      Congratulations?

    • Profile photo of Will
      January 29, 2013 at 5:06 pm —

      You remind me of Bill Donahue in response to the child abusing priests of the Catholic church.

      • Profile photo of marilove
        January 29, 2013 at 5:08 pm —

        Shhhh. Don’t you dare mention the child abusing priests of the Catholic church! This has been discussed to death already! We aren’t the court of law! Most of thsoe men weren’t even convicted! How dare you discuss things I don’t like!

        • Profile photo of Mike Anderson
          January 29, 2013 at 6:53 pm —

          WE ARE SKEPTICS YOU’RE BAD AT SKEPTICISM DON’T YOU KNOW WE ARE ONLY SUPPOSED TO BE SKEPTICAL ABOUT THINGS I DON’T LIKE GOSH!

    • Profile photo of pzmyers
      January 29, 2013 at 10:01 pm —

      I love how skeptics (sometimes) take the responsibility to try and police their own. We should do it more often.

  18. Profile photo of Kim Rippere
    January 29, 2013 at 4:54 pm —

    I’m an ATL resident. Dragon*Con is HUGE.

    This is *just* the sort of revolting and despicable behavior that drives boycotts: CFA, Rush, and SKG, to name a few. The organizers might be between tons of extra work and a hard spot . . . but we are faced with paying this person via our hard earned $ and tickets. Not optimal.

  19. Profile photo of Skepticality
    January 29, 2013 at 5:06 pm —

    @bcmystery all I did was actually add some levity to the actual headline title of the article. It wasn’t *me* who made any over the top analogies. All I did was directly respond to exactly what was posted in the title of the blog post.

    However, seems that people love drama too much to actually read, and at least one person keep repeating the claim that folks are repeating themselves without ever, obviously, reading much of what is being said.

    • Profile photo of marilove
      January 29, 2013 at 5:19 pm —

      all I did was actually add some levity to the actual headline title of the article.

      .

      “Levity”?

      Noun
      Humor or frivolity, esp. the treatment of a serious matter with humor or in a manner lacking due respect.

      That word does not mean what you think it means.

      I read everything you said. None of it had any substance. And you said the same thing over and over again.

      • Profile photo of captaintripps
        January 29, 2013 at 5:32 pm —

        Oh, it had substance. Apparently Skepticality knows everything he needs to know to feel satisfied with the situation. And because he feels that way the rest of us should, too, no matter what we know or don’t.

        Honestly feels like he’s responding to some other article elsewhere. The one he’s describing in his comments here sounds not an iota like the one Rebecca wrote.

    • Profile photo of bcmystery
      January 29, 2013 at 5:19 pm —

      You might want to read your actual comments.

    • Profile photo of phlebas
      January 29, 2013 at 5:23 pm —

      Derek, I’m still unclear exactly what you’re objecting to. I get that you have heard similar claims about D*C and Kramer before. For better or worse, it’s back in the news now because of his recent arrest, and brought up here because someone called for a boycott. Everything since then seems to me to be people chewing over what we know and admitting it’s not all that much. You seem to be reacting to either a different discussion entirely or a subtext here that I simply do not see.

    • Profile photo of Cleon
      January 30, 2013 at 8:48 am —

      It wasn’t *me* who made any over the top analogies

      What? Yes, it was. You directly compared concerns about money going to Kramer to 9/11 truthers.

      • Profile photo of marilove
        January 30, 2013 at 12:39 pm —

        Oh. It’s not over-the-top-when *HE* does it. It’s only over-the-top when Rebecca starts a discussion without using any analogies whatsoever. But she was still overreacting and acting over-the-top. But not Derek. Oh, no. Even when comparing Rebecca’s quite calm post to 9/11-truthers, he was being 100% reasonable. Of course.

        I do wonder why that is! Huh. Could it be … oh … I don’t know. Sexism?

  20. Profile photo of Loren
    January 29, 2013 at 5:27 pm —

    Just FYI, the article references two lawsuits filed by Kramer against Dragon*Con. Both were filed in the Fulton County Superior Court.

    The first, filed in 2009, was Kramer v. Dragon Con/ACE Inc., et al. and had file number 2009CV164912. It was disposed of by order on August 2, 2012, Kramer appealed, and the Court of Appeals denied his appeal in September. However, there have been a handful of other filings in the superior court since August, so it may not be completely dead.

    The second case, filed in 2012, is Kramer v. Dragon Con/ACE Inc., with file number 2012CV213548. The answer in that case was filed just three months ago, so given the status of that litigation it’s understandable that Dragon*Con may not be in the best position to speak openly.

  21. Profile photo of Skepticality
    January 29, 2013 at 5:32 pm —

    @phlebas I think you know what I was responding to. Just laying out what the reality is. Of course, people love to call boycott on things these days. So, guess I’ll have an easier time managing the skeptrack this year.

    • Profile photo of phlebas
      January 29, 2013 at 5:48 pm —

      No, I seriously do not know what you’re responding to. No one seems to have reached any decisions at all about anything, and the boycott so far appears to consist of Nancy Collins.

      I don’t think anyone is arguing about the facts as we know them. And PZ’s point is valid — whether D*C has a choice or not, it *seems* they are making payments that go to the legal defense of an accused child molester. Whether that’s enough to keep someone from coming is an individual decision everyone has to make for themselves.

      “Layout out what the reality is” sounds like a different process from “critical inquiry,” and dropping insults is a creative way to get people to listen to your POV. But I still truly do not see what you’re objecting to. I don’t think anyone here has gone so far as to say Nancy Collins is making a reasonable decision.

    • Profile photo of Will
      January 29, 2013 at 5:57 pm —

      Then go respond to Nancy Collins instead of here. For fuck’s sake, Rebecca was quite clear in the OP:
      “I’m not saying that I or Skepchick as a whole will definitely be boycotting DragonCon, as it’s something I have to think a lot about.”
      Sounds like you’re letting your attachment to DC cloud your view. And so far, you’re the **only** person who has freaked out about this thing, so it’s quite weird that you’re sitting here accusing others of going over the top.

  22. Profile photo of Adela Doiron
    January 29, 2013 at 5:57 pm —

    Well he doesn’t have to be convicted in a criminal court for his alleged victims to sue for damages in civil court and a settlement could force him to liquidate assets. That’s the only legal scenario I can see taking away his shares but not very good odds of happening. You don’t want to force DC into bankruptcy or similar economic holes as a way of destroying those shares; too much collateral damage and none of it will be to him.
    This can be held up as a learning example to other cons and geek orgs on the value of moral clauses and other legal cover you ass before you sign details. Far too many geek organizations were formed without lawyers and too much blind trust.

    • Profile photo of marilove
      January 29, 2013 at 6:28 pm —

      “Far too many geek organizations were formed without lawyers and too much blind trust.”

      YES. This needs to be discussed so it can be learned from. Derek may not understand that…

      • Profile photo of Adela Doiron
        January 29, 2013 at 10:06 pm —

        I understand Ms Collins anger for the the other issues. Just because the DC organization’s legal hands are tied there is no excuse for some of the social & political behaviour the DC &SF community did. How to address it without collateral damage to bystanders is challenging since most options will punish everyone but him and the enablers. When the rule of law is not working in your favour “It’s a trap!” becomes written all over it

  23. Profile photo of rsmathers8
    January 29, 2013 at 6:50 pm —

    If you are going to boycott something because someone slimy gets some of the profits, that doesn’t leave much…

    Kramer sounds like a horrible person and I wouldn’t want to do anything to help him if I could reasonably avoid it, but where do you draw the line? If you start avoiding anything that pays some kind of dividend or share out to someone who has done something illegal or immoral, there would be very few companies left.

    So, you boycott Dragoncon and cut some money out of Kramer’s pocket. At either extreme, if you don’t get much attention, it’s a purely symbolic gesture that only hurts you and your fellows who boycott with you. At the other extreme, if you do have a real impact, you hurt a lot more than Kramer. It’s rather like imprisoning a whole city in order to make sure one criminal is locked up.

    In my opinion, you have to draw the line at the actions of the entity in question. If Dragoncon were actively trying to support or defend Kramer or tried to hide what Kramer did, then I think you’d have good reason to boycott, but from what I’ve heard, they’ve done everything the right thing to the extent they are able.

    So, unless I’ve missed something, a boycott seems like a rather extreme reaction to me. Obviously, everyone has to make the correct choice for them. I suppose it’s rather like deciding whether you are comfortable eating meat or need to be a vegetarian, or your stand on drug legalization, or any number of issues where there is no choice that is obviously right or wrong from a skeptical perspective.

    • Profile photo of rsmathers8
      January 29, 2013 at 7:00 pm —

      Please strike the word “everything”. There is no way to edit an existing post.

    • Profile photo of Will
      January 30, 2013 at 3:47 am —

      rsmathers8 said: ” At either extreme, if you don’t get much attention, it’s a purely symbolic gesture that only hurts you and your fellows who boycott with you.”

      I don’t agree. It may be a symbolic gesture, but it also means that my money isn’t going to him. At least not through DC!

      “If Dragoncon were actively trying to support or defend Kramer…”

      Whether they are actively or passively doing it seems rather irrelevant to me. Money is flowing from the organization into his pockets to the tune of $150k a year, and I have no urge to be a part of that.

      I also find your comparisons of vegetarianism or drug legalization to supporting an organization that is paying money to a child abuser quite absurd and, frankly, a bit insulting.

      • Profile photo of marilove
        January 30, 2013 at 12:40 pm —

        I also find your comparisons of vegetarianism or drug legalization to supporting an organization that is paying money to a child abuser quite absurd and, frankly, a bit insulting.

        It’s quite interesting that REBECCA is the one overreacting, isn’t it? Yeah. How fucking typical.

  24. Profile photo of Cygore
    January 29, 2013 at 7:12 pm —

    It sounds like they’re trying to stop the payments to Ed, and he might end up being convicted very soon. If I’m reading this correctly, a conviction would end the payments.

    I’d say hold off on any boycott, and keep an eye on the situation. The boycott right now would be an extreme punishment for failing to include a morals clause in their incorporation papers. I’d like to think that the good from the Skeptic Track outweighs the bad.

    • Profile photo of Adela Doiron
      January 29, 2013 at 10:12 pm —

      The really painful part is if he is not convicted he may be able to sue someone for defamation.

  25. Profile photo of kittynh
    January 29, 2013 at 9:14 pm —

    RIght now it seems almost impossible to make an informed decision. I wish, and hope soon DC can speak on this issue. I think the suggestion we should all just quit our jobs and start molesting children to make big bucks, while perhaps funny, is not productive. (Except for laughter). Skeptics gather information and make informed decisions, based on ration, reason, investigation and not emotion. I know that will be the case here. I think among others, if Surly Amy can’t sell her goods, she is just one person that will be financially hurt by a boycott. However, knowing skepchicks, they would be more than willing to take a financial and emotional hit if it means doing the right things and hurting this jerk. Problem is, will a boycott do that? Or will he just end up with a big lump sum of money anyway? Hopefully, enough investigation will result in a good choice for everyone.

  26. Profile photo of brive1987
    January 30, 2013 at 5:43 am —

    Can you please explain the nature of this moral quandary that we have to “to think a lot about.”

    A paedophile rapist profits from our money and the post states that the organizers have not done all they could do to stop it. Even if they had the pragmatic outcome remains foul.
    What exactly is there to think about? We have already acknowledged it is “horrifying” and that he is at least partially free due to DragonCon’s passive support.

    He raped children. We pay for his defence. There have been calls before to boycott TAM/Dawkins for reasons that are both important, but also more nuanced than this.

    • Profile photo of delphi_ote
      January 31, 2013 at 11:45 am —

      To attack the target with a boycott, we would be harming a lot more innocent people. All the people who depend on DragonCon for a living would be hurt. The community that attends the event would be harmed. The growing influence of the skeptics community at the conference would be hurt. There are serious consequences to a boycott.

      This isn’t straightforward. By having a conversation about it, maybe we can find a better path.

  27. Profile photo of rjblaskiewicz
    January 30, 2013 at 7:05 am —

    “Then, take into account all of the contracts the convention has (hotels, vendors, and anything else I can’t think of or know about) that reach years into the future. How will those be affected? What legal and financial ramifications would the convention face?”

    This, I’m sure, is the biggest obstacle to a speedy and clean break with this guy.

  28. Profile photo of d506
    January 30, 2013 at 8:42 am —

    Lots of people own stock. If ‘I don’t want my money going indirectly to a child molester’ gives us an ethical obligation to boycott, should we not be looking up every rapist’s, child molester’s, murderer’s, etc. ‘s stock portfolio and boycotting any companies they hold shares of? Why is this a special case that requires a boycott? I’ve no doubt a lot of rich rapists make a hell of a lot more than 150k/year off their stock dividends, but we never even consider it let alone expect other corporations to go nearly as far as D*C has gone to stop that.

  29. Profile photo of Cleon
    January 30, 2013 at 8:53 am —

    Between the contracts with the venues and Kramer’s tendency to file lawsuits, the reality is that if D*C tried to fold and reform, it would more than likely simply destroy the convention. I don’t want to pay that price just to see this sleezoid cut off.

  30. Profile photo of Skepticality
    January 31, 2013 at 8:57 am —

    Oh, ya, and…he DOES not have anything to do with Dragon*Con… at all. The money part is a legal requirement, he has zero influence on how things are run, and has no say in anything at the convention in any way.

    So, yes, he has less than zero to do with the convention.

    • Profile photo of delphi_ote
      January 31, 2013 at 11:40 am —

      Except that he profits tremendously from the convention. And he’s using that money for his legal defense. You can’t pretend like there’s not an ethical concern there. Maybe it doesn’t rise to the level of boycott, but it’s certainly something we should able to discuss without your incessant vituperation.

  31. Profile photo of boomzilla
    January 31, 2013 at 9:00 am —

    Volkswagen and Hugo Boss.

  32. Profile photo of marilove
    January 31, 2013 at 5:20 pm —

    WE ARE NOT A COURT OF LAW. THIS IS NOT A COURT ROOM. Additionally, the evidence is quite ?strong. There isn’t much question about his guilt, but even so – we are not a court of law.?
    Additionally, as a woman who was raped, and whose rapist was never arrested let alone convicted: The ?court of law SHOULD NOT be the end-all-be-all of our ability to discuss these sorts of things.

    You do realize that the LARGE MAJORITY of rapists are never even arrested, right? So should we just stop talking about rape?

    • Profile photo of bismarket
      February 1, 2013 at 2:00 am —

      No need to stop talking about it, but every need to not be the Judge & Jury when we don’t/can’t know all the facts. I agree this looks bad for the guy if we believe the news stories but it’s strange how so many people don’t trust mainstream media in general but consider them to be the last word in great journalism when they report on stories “How they should”. I (along with you i assume) wish your Rapists had been arrested & punished, the fact they weren’t does not give you an insight into this guy’s guilt either way though.

      • Profile photo of marilove
        February 1, 2013 at 12:12 pm —

        When did I say it gives insight into this guy’s guilt? Isn’t there fucking VIDEO fo this guy? Sometimes, guilt is pretty evident. And the court of law is flawed. And if we tell every rape victim to stop talking about their rape becuase “well, the rapist wasn’t convicted” — then you’re telling pretty much EVERY SINGLE RAPRE VICTIM to shut up.

        • Profile photo of Jack99
          February 1, 2013 at 3:07 pm —

          When did I say it gives insight into this guy’s guilt? Isn’t there fucking VIDEO fo this guy?
          There is some interesting insight into THIS guy on Amy’s thread of Jan 10.

  33. Profile photo of Tim
    February 3, 2013 at 9:15 pm —

    Public involvement is an important crime-fighting tool, but mainly in reporting crimes to police. “Corrections” does not involve the public at all, and that is the way it should be, I’m sure most would quickly agree.

    We don’t need rabid mobs going after child-molesters or any other criminals in this day and age. We just need the child-molesters jailed or whatever for the public good. Trying to go beyond that is every bit as creepy as the crimes they are accused of. We have an expensive and highly-evolved judicial system, let’s depend on it. No mobs. No poking into his private life until he has no private life – he too is guaranteed the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, AFTER he has “paid” for his crime. No trying to take EVERYTHING away from certain criminals – I wouldn’t want to live in a country where everyone thought THAT was a good idea.

    • Profile photo of simonsays
      February 3, 2013 at 9:44 pm —

      We don’t need rabid mobs going after child-molesters or any other criminals in this day and age.

      Who is “going after” this person in a “rabid” mob-like fashion?

      Trying to go beyond that is every bit as creepy as the crimes they are accused of.

      You are saying a boycott is morally on-par with child molestation. Really?

      No trying to take EVERYTHING away from certain criminals

      What a bloody strawman. It’s “taking away” from someone to not further enrich them from what is by most accounts a profitable enterprise? When you start defending Rebecca’s liberty to spend her money as she chooses you might come off a bit more coherent.

      • Profile photo of Tim
        February 4, 2013 at 4:56 am —

        I think I was clear enough in my meaning to make YOU look like you’re having difficulties comprehending. There is a ‘trend’ of regarding child-molesters as worse than child-murderers, and I happen to think this is pretty depraved. But disagree by all means.

        My use of the word mob is inspired by the article’s suggestion, however subtle (not very!), that all people ought to take the trouble to try to avoid (inadvertently) enriching this guy, as if once he’s done his jail time, it falls to us to starve him to death. Disagree if you wish. I would suggest you don’t sufficiently appreciate the benefits of living in an organized and highly evolved society, where punishments are made to fit crimes instead of the will of an angry, stupid, unrestrained mob.

        • Profile photo of Laurel Halbany
          February 4, 2013 at 3:11 pm —

          Deciding where to spend or not spend one’s money is the same as mob violence? Good grief, dramatic overreaching much?

      • Profile photo of Tim
        February 4, 2013 at 6:19 am —

        Just picked up on this, Simonsays (I’m a little slow sometimes :)… WHEN you say “What a bloody strawman [sic]”, ARE you perchance referring to your own statement above that “You are saying a boycott is morally on-par with child molestation.” Which I did not say!!!! and a few more: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What I said was they they are both as creepy as each other, I did not say what you claim (the straw man): that they are morally equivalent. They are not, and that’s obvious enough to most of us I suspect.

        It’s “Straw man” not “strawman”. I did not create a straw man, but you did. Are you confused? Or do you know perfectly well that you’re being a hypocrite?

        Tell you what, Simon. Your criticisms are off the mark, and you have committed a fairly gross hypocrisy which had the additional effect of undermining your own attempted point. So Timsays, “Shutup, Simonsays.” You do rather strike me as the leader of a mob. A stupid one.

  34. Profile photo of Tim
    February 3, 2013 at 9:22 pm —

    “but when the author is a terrible person who benefits from my purchasing or participating in the work, it’s a different story.”

    NO! You should have written:

    “when the author is a terrible person who benefits from my purchasing or participating in the work, I become a different person.

  35. Profile photo of pciszek
    February 4, 2013 at 4:35 pm —

    If DragonCon has stock shares and pays salaries, it is a business rather than a real science fiction convention. There are many, many not-for-profit, fan-run science fiction conventions in the USA of various sizes. Some of them are fixed in particular cities, some move about within a region, and some move about nationally or even internationally. Many of them have science programming and cool science guests-of-honor, such that Skepchick-run program panels would be entirely at home.

    Furthermore, of the few cons for which I have seen the working guts, women were involved in all levels of conrunning. I won’t claim that this is a magic solution to the gender-based harassment issues that have been discussed at length in this and other forums, but if the con Chair and the person running internal con security are both women (as is the case for my local science fiction convention), surely that is a good sign.

  36. Profile photo of Resident Anthro
    February 5, 2013 at 6:01 pm —

    While I agree with much of the article I think holding DragonCon – as it exists now – and the current heads of DragonCon responsible isn’t quite fair. The shares that Kramer owns are significant and they have been attempting to buy him out for years. Kramer has refused many times. Dissolving and reincorporating is really the only option that they have, which can be a lengthy process. As well, if they dissolve and reincorporate I’m guessing that many resources and much time will be removed from the planning of the convention – something that they may not want to do for principle reasons.

    I think it’s important to hold Kramer and not DragonCon responsible for Kramer’s actions. It’s, in my opinion, guilty through association. DragonCon has clearly been working to change the fact that Kramer is still being payed by them which means they really do care. I think boycotting DragonCon would set a dangerous precedent for con-goers and con-runners as well. If you are guilty through association with someone then we will take action against your convention – even if you made reasonable attempts to change/fix the association.

  37. Profile photo of Clair
    February 15, 2013 at 8:42 pm —

    I know it’s been a while, but Dragon*Con has made a statement.
    https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10151304403328806&id=58381388805

    • Profile photo of punchdrunk
      February 15, 2013 at 11:24 pm —

      Thanks for posting this.

    • Profile photo of Adela Doiron
      February 16, 2013 at 8:47 pm —

      I like the explanation of how “Krammer was a guest in 2008″ came about from David Stabler in comments. Too bad DC officially can’t say more least he sue them yet again So can someone expand on the track directors are responsible for guests part?

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