Last week, we hosted a spirited discussion on the boycott of DragonCon proposed by Nancy A. Collins. To recap: Ed Kramer is an accused child molester who founded DragonCon; he no longer is involved with the organization except in that he holds a significant portion of stock that nets him upwards of $150,000/year. To recap the discussion along with the answers that appear to have emerged: would a boycott force DragonCon to drop Ed Kramer? (Not likely.) Would DragonCon even be able to drop him, legally? (Not likely.) Does participation in DragonCon directly benefit a horrible person? (Likely.)

Today, Maria sent in this post from a con attendee (I don’t think she’s part of DragonCon management) that gives a decent pro-DragonCon (and anti-Kramer) perspective. I’m writing about it here, though, because I want to address a particular fallacy I’ve seen several times in the midst of this discussion. This is how the blogger ends her appeal:

If you still plan to make a holier-than-thou call to boycott the con, I hope you’re investigating the stockholders of every corporation you buy things from, and boycotting them too when it turns out some stockholder that may have no say in running the corporation turns out to be bad person too.

Commenter Wrenn Simms made a similar statement on the previous post:

Are you saying you’d boycot Apple if you found out that he Kramer held Apple stock that gave him dividends?

This appears to be a version of a false dilemma, by incorrectly implying that you have two choices:

1. Research the shareholders of every company you give money to and boycott the companies that pay dividends to anyone you find detestable or

2. Ignore the fact that you are knowingly supporting an accused child molester.

When stated plainly, it should be obvious that these are not the only two options available. A similar argument I’ve heard is that If you stop buying clothes from a company that you discovered uses sweatshops, you’ll have to research the manufacturing of every company and possibly just give up and start sewing your own clothes. The alternate and more reasonable option is to adjust your behaviors depending upon the information you have or that you can get using an amount of effort that matches how much you care about the issue.

That’s what people do every day: they weigh how important something is to them against how difficult it is to attain. For instance, I want to maintain my physical health enough that I’ll exercise every day, but not so much that I won’t eat that chocolate cupcake. I’m not a hypocrite for doing the former along with the latter.

(But for the record, yes, if I learned that Kramer owned 30% of Apple’s stock I would stop buying their products.)

I think the DragonCon argument could also be considered a slippery slope fallacy if stated like so:

“If you start caring about who benefits from your money, you’ll be forced to spend every waking moment researching and you’ll have to give up things you don’t want to give up.”

Again, this is plainly ridiculous when spelled out. You have every right to use the facts at your disposal to determine who you’d like to give money to, despite the fact that you can’t possibly know or control where every cent you hand over goes. Here are two more analogies to make it clearer:

  • If you stop hanging out with a friend because you discover she was convicted of drunk driving, you’ll have to perform background checks on all your friends to make sure they’re acceptable.
  • If you give change to that homeless person, you’ll have to give change to every homeless person on the block.

So to sum up, I think it’s great that people with more knowledge of the DragonCon situation are bringing up valid points about how much control DragonCon has over its ability to pay Kramer and what they’ve done to be rid of him. But, it doesn’t help anyone’s argument to tack on an ugly fallacy that dismisses the entire idea of socially responsible spending.

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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59 Comments

  1. Avatar of Sarah Moglia
    February 7, 2013 at 4:17 pm —

    The thing I find funniest is the idea that it’s absurd to try and be conscientious of the things you buy. I researched into the food I buy/eat, and ended up going vegan and mainly buying from a local co-operative. I looked into the companies that manufacture my clothes and stopped buying from certain companies (Levi’s, Nike, etc.). Obviously no one is perfect, but I make a very concerted effort to support companies and businesses that reflect my values and ethics.

    Would you rather not know you’re doing a bad thing and continue doing it or find out you’re doing a bad thing and change your behavior? If it’s the first, then why are you a skeptic?

  2. Avatar of llewelly
    February 7, 2013 at 4:25 pm —

    No one can investigate every organisation who derives income from them. It takes a lot of time, a lot of knowledge, and some rather specialized skills which many people do not have. Most people cannot even /name/ every organisation who derives income from their activities.

    To demand that people investigate many other organizations before acting against a known offender is to demand paralysis.

    • Avatar of Otoki
      February 8, 2013 at 11:24 am —

      This.

      We’re not saying “After much digging, I found out a GIANT HARD TO FIND SECRET and because of this VERY HIDDEN INFORMATION I am no longer supporting this company! Booyah!”

      No. This is very public information, it’s been going on for a decade now, and some of us who were considering going to DC (if not this year then next year) are facing a dilemma. Just as I faced a dilemma when I found out about some of the clothing brands I preferred using child labor, or some of the farms that supplied meat that I bought scored shitty on animal welfare. In the last two scenarios I changed my buying habits to support companies who treat their animals humanely, and buying as little new clothing as possible and buying used instead (so I don’t directly support said clothing companies). In the case of DC, I personally will choose not to go next year (which was supposed to be my year of traveling around the States before I hopefully started grad school) because I don’t feel like helping to put money into the pocket of a pedophile. I’m not going to be all offended at my many many friends who choose to go, because it’s their choice.

      But acting like making an informed decision based on readily available information NECESSITATES constant obsessive research into every company before spending any money on them is stupid.

  3. Avatar of Ryan
    February 7, 2013 at 4:40 pm —

    I think the point is that being conscientious and being obsessed are very different things.

    For example, you buy from the local co-op, probably for good reasons, but it is possible that some of the producers for that co-op are secretly terrible people. You can’t find out how they treat their children or spouses, or if they use their earnings to, in turn, support institutions that you despise. At some point you have to accept that you can’t know everything and make decisions on the best knowledge you have.

    If more information becomes available, we can then change our behavior. Part of being a skeptic is accepting that we don’t have perfect information and trying to assess rationally what to do about that.

  4. Avatar of Karl Withakay
    February 7, 2013 at 4:50 pm —

    Countdown to when people start saying Rebecca said things she never said in this post….3…2…

    Also, as a minor nitpick, by very quick & rough calculation, Kramer would only need to own about .0006% of Apple to have drawn $150,000 in dividends in 2012.

  5. Avatar of zylla
    February 7, 2013 at 4:50 pm —

    Because there is likely nothing that Dragon*Con can do about it from a legal standpoint, I think the question becomes “Does the good outweigh the bad as far as I can weigh it?” (And I hasten to point out that doesn’t mean “how much I enjoy the con,” although that can be a factor, I suppose.) How much does Dragon*Con take in total? How is that distributed to others?

    Also, since D*C is contractually bound to him, and technically he has yet to be convicted (“innocent until proven guilty” even if we know he is), it can also be viewed that the onus is on the justice system to take him out of circulation (and potentially thereafter legally break the contract).

    I am in no way condoning or apologizing or minimalizing his actions, but it’s a very personal consideration for each individual. Participation in the con does not mean condoning every single aspect, participant or those who profit from it. Boycotts are supposed to effect change in the business campaigned against, but in this case the business cannot make the requested change. So the question becomes, as noted, quite different.

    This is an unfortunate situation and my sympathies (for whatever they’re worth) go out to his victims.

  6. Avatar of Brian's A Wild Downer
    February 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm —

    I think where I disagree is that I don’t feel it’s my job to punish this person beyond what the legal system has deemed fit. If I thought my money were likely to be contributing to children getting molested that would be one thing, but this just seems kind of petty to me.

    • Avatar of James Fox
      February 7, 2013 at 5:18 pm —

      The money he’s made from DC was used to avoid going to trial for charges of child molestation, and his not having gone to trial likely led to a further incident of child molestation from what’s been reported. Not petty IMO.

    • Avatar of victoriadashtwenty
      February 7, 2013 at 5:53 pm —

      Yes, the legal system has deemed him legally rich enough to have sex with children. The only possible reason that anyone could possibly have a problem with this is because they are just being catty.

      So when you say you don’t think your money will be contributing to children getting molested, are you saying there’s some sort of government grant or charity that will pay for it, or are you saying this whole being above the law ordeal has taught him a lesson and he won’t be molesting children anymore?

  7. Avatar of Brian's A Wild Downer
    February 7, 2013 at 5:38 pm —

    Ah, that’s a bit different then.

  8. Avatar of Nancy Collins
    February 7, 2013 at 5:57 pm —

    I have been following what you’ve been posting re the DragonCon Boycott for a few days.

    I would just like to point out that the behavior of DragonCon’s followers often bears a closer resemblance to those of a religion, not a fannish hobby. The same goes for their blithe justification for DragonCon’s inaction and the concom’s decision to mislead guests and program participants as to Kramer’s continued financial involvement in the convention.

    And as Jacob V points out, Kramer most definitely used his share of DragonCon’s profits to skirt justice. He also used those funds while out on bond to, amongst other things, travel to Los Angeles to meet with a movie production company about making a low-budget SF movie about kids in space http://www.microfilmmaker.com/tipstrick/Issue67/mondrea3.html , travel to Kentucky to invest in a web series as a producer http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2011/09/16/ed-kramers-latest-production , travel to Brooklyn where he set up residence in an apartment and live, unsupervised, with the 14 year-old boy he was found in the company of in CT, all while claiming to be his guardian (despite the terms of his bond forbidding him to associate with children under the age of 16). Oh, and he appears to have had serious dreams of being a children’s talent agent/movie producer as he even went so far as to list his residence on his FB page as “Hollywood”, even though he was forbidden to live anywhere but Georgia. https://www.facebook.com/Edward.Eliot.Kramer/info, it porbably even went to pay for the motel room in CT and the video equipment he was using to film the child.

    THIS is what his share of DragonCon’s profits went to in the recent past. And would, doubtless, go towards yet again if the creep ever gets out on bond. DragonCon can not have its cake and eat it, too, on this subject. Sorry. They may be required by law to give Ed Kramer money. But no one else is.

    • Avatar of phlebas
      February 8, 2013 at 7:13 am —

      Nancy, I’m unclear on what exactly you’re accusing D*C or D*C attendees of. Forgive me if I’m misinterpreting, but your first paragraph here sounds like you’re disapproving of Dragon*Con’s marketing decisions. I am not sure what we could reasonably expect them to do regarding informing the public. If I had a marketing person saying “Come to Dragon*Con — We’re Trying Not To Give Money To Pedophiles!” then I think I’d need a new marketing person.

      From all I’ve read D*C has done its best to cut off the funds to Kramer. I’m content with not castigating them for doing more. But I’m not sure that’s what you meant.

  9. Avatar of marilove
    February 7, 2013 at 6:10 pm —

    Can we stop using the word “petty”? It comes across as so condesending. Especially in regards to such ?things as, oh, pedohpilhia, which should never be included with the wrod “petty”.?

    Also, as a feminist, I hear that all the time. Every complaint is considered “petty”.

    Maybe it’s petty to YOU, but not to someone else, and that shold be respected.

  10. Avatar of marilove
    February 7, 2013 at 6:11 pm —

    Stupid random question marks from Word!

  11. Avatar of Ginger
    February 7, 2013 at 7:52 pm —

    Maybe the current organizers of Dragon Con who aren’t happy with the situation either could turn this into a positive. For example they could have an optional check off on the registration to donate to a child abuse prevention organization, victims fund, etc. They could reserve a table for some organizations to distribute prevention materials. Of course the down side some would say is drawing more attention to the situation and a lot of people balking at the idea of discussing bad stuff they want to pretend isn’t their problem they just came there for X. But if they care about righting a wrong and all that and not just saying they are against child abuse…

  12. Avatar of Setar
    February 7, 2013 at 8:09 pm —

    Conscientious consuming can also be quite expensive, especially to those of us who have to survive on less than $20,000 a year. =/

    • Avatar of Adela Doiron
      February 7, 2013 at 8:55 pm —

      There often is a certain amount of class privilege involved in boycotts to start with. SF cons though are not an essential goods or service, ‘cept for those that make their living that way.

      • Avatar of panchoruiz
        February 8, 2013 at 10:21 am —

        There’s also the fact that boycotts aren’t necessarily helpful. Like take the example of a sweatshop that uses child labor, a boycott might lead to a factory firing all it’s child employees but those children no longer need the money any less. So now the children have even less options for income and might not have steady access to food where they did before, despite child sweatshop labor being pretty unambiguously bad. This kind of thing has actually happened.

        Not really relevant to dragon con, obviously, but “conscientious consuming” can focus on supporting ethical businesses more than snubbing, at the very least for non essential consumer items like coffee. The other choice is to focus on the political side and attempt to address the various causes of the kinds of situations that have developed.

        Boycotting makes for more sense for, say, a company that has been accused of murdering union leaders (Coca cola) or a company accused of harboring a pedophile (dragon con, although in reality they apparently are supporting him as little as possible). But a lot of people in wealthy countries kind of take the approach “BOYCOTT EVERYTHING,” when compared to their other options- options that have been severely limited for various reasons- an individual textile worker might be very glad to have sweatshop type job.

  13. Avatar of moonglaive
    February 7, 2013 at 9:32 pm —

    Ugh, I got that when discussing a certain fast food chicken chain that endorses homophobic stances/legislation. “Are you going to stop driving a car? Because gas and other oil-derived products come from countries where gay people are *killed* for being gay.”

  14. Avatar of
    February 7, 2013 at 10:05 pm —

    So, why are we ignoring the “accused” bit?

    Hypothetical, if Rebecca Watson was “accused” of a horrible crime but had not been convicted would you all boycott Skepchic?

    • Avatar of marilove
      February 7, 2013 at 10:23 pm —

      This isn’t a court of law, first of all, and there is plenty of evidence. Also, you do realize the vast majority of rapists aren’t even arrested, let alone convicted, right? Shall we stop talking about rape altogether because of this fact?

      • Avatar of
        February 7, 2013 at 10:25 pm —

        Wait let me see where I claimed that he didn’t do it and where I said we should stop talking about rape…… oh wait… congratulations your logical fallacy is “Strawman”

        http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/strawman

        • Avatar of marilove
          February 7, 2013 at 10:41 pm —

          Oh, for fuck’s sake, I know what a straw man fallacy.

          And “hypothetical question”? Right.

          The fact is, this guy hasn’t been convicted for a reason. This case has been on-going for over a decade! And there are reasons for this, and, no, not just because of his health. I’ve been reading up on it, it was a real shit show.

          How surprising! A possible (snort) rapist was arrested over a decade ago, and it has yet to be resolved. How unusual.

          • Avatar of
            February 7, 2013 at 10:51 pm

            So still no answer to my original question? What would you do? Would you boycott Skepchic or are you a hypocrite?

          • Avatar of marilove
            February 7, 2013 at 11:06 pm

            Can you tell me where I said I was boycotting anything? I wasn’t planning on going, anyway. And has Rebecca stated she is actually boycotting? As far as I know, only one person so far has said THEY MAY NOT GO, and now it’s a fucking “boycott”? So far, this has just been a discussion.

            But, yeah, I probably wouldn’t continue to visit here if it came to light that Rebecca was a pedophile and that my page hits were somehow making her money.

            But, hey, congratulations, your logical fallacy is the “loaded question”:

            http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/loaded-question

            Why are you defending this guy, anyway?

          • Avatar of Tim Lieder
            February 7, 2013 at 11:29 pm

            I suspect that Hazza96 is defending their own conscience because if Ed Kramer is guilty and making $150K off of DragonCon then Hazza96 knows that they are helping to pervert the justice system and remain an accessory to pedophile by attending DragonCon.

            So Hazza96 will ask increasingly inane and probing questions in order to “prove” that Kramer is really innocent because otherwise, Hazza96 is a horrible person.

          • Avatar of
            February 7, 2013 at 11:34 pm

            So if you are not going anyway the entire post is hypothetical anyway. My question is on the same level as Rebecca’s.

            If you were planning to attend and you heard of this accusation would it change your plans to go? Yes / No?
            Is being simply accused of something enough for you to boycott? Yes / No?
            Do you believe in “innocent until proven guilty”? Yes / No?
            If it was Rebecca simply accused but not proven would you boycott her? Yes / No?

            Thanks, but I knew which logical fallacy I was using. I am not defending the guy, I have no idea who he is or what he has done. I am just curious about the level of hypocrisy of the various people here.

          • Avatar of
            February 7, 2013 at 11:38 pm

            Oh Tim you are clueless, you have no idea who I am, you have no idea what I am about. This is the first time in memory I have heard of Dragon Con. Even if I lived in America (I live in Australia) I doubt I would go.

            If you say the evidence is overwhelming but he has managed to manipulate the system to avoid justice then you answered my original question, thank you.

          • Avatar of marilove
            February 8, 2013 at 12:12 am

            Actually, I’d probably still go, but that’s my decision; someone else’s might be different. And I don’t even know if I would, because I’m not invested in it to begin with, so maybe it would be different in a different context. This is a stupid question. Why are you trying to figure out if I’m a hypocrite? I’m a pretty honest person and not easily shamed, so you’re going to find it really fucking difficult to put me in a corner with your stupid questions.

          • Avatar of marilove
            February 8, 2013 at 12:12 am

            Oh and you can begin with a fallacy but when I bring up a legit point I … oh fuck it. I don’t care anymore. Yawn.

          • Avatar of punchdrunk
            February 8, 2013 at 12:35 am

            See, if he can drag out the legal proceedings until he dies, he’ll never be convicted of anything, and therefore will have done nothing wrong.
            Ipso facto.

          • Avatar of marilove
            February 8, 2013 at 3:31 pm

            I have a real problem with “innocenct before proven guilty”. It tends to favor the opressors far, far, far, FAR more than the opressed. Perhaps if our justice system was ACTUALLY on equal ground, I’d have a better time with that concept, but it isn’t.

    • Avatar of Tim Lieder
      February 7, 2013 at 11:25 pm —

      If Rebecca was accused of a horrible crime and I was currently working with Rebecca then I would try to get my hands on every piece of information I could find before making a judgment concerning boycotting her.

      More to the point, if one of the founders of MY favorite convention (CONvergence in MN) was accused of a horrible crime, I would hope that he was innocent. I would also try to get my hands on every bit of information including information by people who have witnessed his behavior and know him better than me. I would also try to find out if he is directly benefiting from CONvergence.

      And if I am satisfied that he is innocent, I would keep going to CONvergence. However, if the evidence against him becomes overwhelming in the same way the evidence against OJ Simpson and Ed Kramer is overwhelming and he directly benefited from my attendance at CONvergence, damn right I would boycott.

      Do you have any more stupid questions?

      • Avatar of marilove
        February 8, 2013 at 12:17 am —

        Okay, so. Tim. What if I ate babies? Would you stop coming around if it came to light that I BBQ’d a baby and ate it for dinner?

    • Avatar of Will
      February 8, 2013 at 12:33 am —

      To answer your absurd question, if Rebecca was accused multiple times of being a child molester and there was convincing evidence as there is in the case of Kramer, I would certainly stop associating with her and advocate that people stop visiting Skepchick or giving money to her.

      As Marilove indicated “accused” or “innocent until proven guilty” is a legal standard, not a moral standard that I am required to hold. I don’t want to associate with or give money to people who have been found to participate in things like child molestation, and I’m certainly not going to wait around for the *possibility* that some day that person might go to trial, as if the outcomes of trials establish something as absolute fact.

      In other words, I don’t share your faith in the legal system, and I certainly do not base my morality around it.

      • Avatar of
        February 8, 2013 at 8:27 pm —

        For the record, now I know a bit more about this (like who has the time to research everything behind every purchase or blog entry) and I was planning to attend I would not go.

        In Australia we have a coffee chain called “Gloria Jeans”, the arsehat that is one of the owners is an homophobic douche that donates money to anti-gay organisations. I have not purchased a single coffee from them since learning of this. In the grand scheme of things does my boycott make a difference to this guy? I would guess no but it is not about the guy missing out on 2 cents from my purchases, it is about me and how I feel that I am none of my money, none at all, is going to benefit someone I feel is repugnant human being.

    • Avatar of Shane Simmons
      February 17, 2013 at 1:11 am —

      I had to google the whole darn thing because I wasn’t aware of it. I got annoyed that the words ‘accused’ and ‘boycott’ seemed to be going together, and…well, it looks like Ed Kramer has been using legal tricks to avoid trial, had conditions attached to his bond, and violated that bond by sharing a hotel room with a 14-year-old boy. Even if he really was the guardian as he said he was, and no funny business, he still seems like a creep who displays really horrible judgement skills.

  15. Avatar of marilove
    February 8, 2013 at 12:14 am —

    This is the first time in memory I have heard of Dragon Con.

    Oh. I was so busy rolling my eyes the first go ’round, I missed this.

    Troll.

    • Avatar of marilove
      February 8, 2013 at 12:16 am —

      And the best part is this, right before the stupid quote I just highlighted:

      Oh Tim you are clueless, you have no idea who I am, you have no idea what I am about.

      And you’re trying to figure out if we’re hypocrites? You’re a terrible troll, man. :/ They used to be so much better. What happened???

      • Avatar of
        February 8, 2013 at 12:27 am —

        I guess you missed this bit too?

        “If you say the evidence is overwhelming but he has managed to manipulate the system to avoid justice then you answered my original question, thank you.”

        Was that answer so hard? It’s not hard to show the Skepchics being hypocrites, I was curious if this was another of those times, turns out it wasn’t.

  16. Avatar of Loren
    February 8, 2013 at 12:16 am —

    When it comes to the larger question of whether Dragon*Con should be boycotted because Ed Kramer profits from being a shareholder, and when parallels are being drawn to other corporate boycotts, I think it’s important to step back and consider one thing in particular:

    what do people hope to accomplish when they boycott a company?

    I think the answer to this question, virtually all of the time, is that the boycott is a means to encourage a company to change some corporate policy or behavior. To stop the production or sale of some particular product. To stop the company from spending money on something you find offensive. To get someone fired. To protest how the company treats its workers, and encourage them to treat them better and improve working conditions.

    Few, if any, boycotts have as a central agenda “To force the company to dissolve.” Perhaps such boycotts exist if the company itself is inherently repellant, but that would seem to make it less likely that they’d offer a product or service worth boycotting. But that’s not the problem here; I don’t think anybody WANTS Dragon*Con dissolved.

    And boycotting a company on the basis of the identity of its *shareholders*? That’s virtually unheard of. Because what is such a boycott supposed to accomplish? What is a company supposed to *do* in response to such a boycott? Shut down? It can’t fire a shareholder. It can’t buy out his shares if he won’t sell (and remember, if he did sell he’d make a bunch of money *that* way). It can’t reduce his decision-making authority within the company if he doesn’t have any to start with.

    Until you can fill in the blank in “I’m boycotting Dragon*Con until they do ________” with an actual, legal corporate action, then what’s the purpose of a boycott?

    • Avatar of marilove
      February 8, 2013 at 12:21 am —

      I feel like this whole boycott thing is being exaggerated, honestly. Is there realllly going to be some big boycott?

    • Avatar of lamuella
      February 8, 2013 at 3:03 am —

      “Until you can fill in the blank in “I’m boycotting Dragon*Con until they do ________” with an actual, legal corporate action, then what’s the purpose of a boycott?”

      The purpose is to… not give your money to people you don’t want to have your money?

  17. Avatar of Skepticality
    February 8, 2013 at 4:16 am —

    The only reason the man hasn’t stood trial has zero to do with any amount of money he has, or makes. The reason rests, solely, on the shoulders of Bob Barr, the man in charge of prosecuting his case.

    If someone, really, believes that Ed Kramer has enough money to sway the state court system and prosecution team that much… you are living in a completely fantasy world. I am sure that far too many high profile movie stars, sports players, and such would all clamor for the mythical secret to Ed Kramers ability to such amazing feats.

    • Avatar of punchdrunk
      February 8, 2013 at 4:50 am —

      http://clatl.com/freshloaf/archives/2009/01/29/ed-kramer-finally-to-stand-trial
      From 2009:
      Why has it taken so long to get Kramer inside a court room? Well, many of the delays have been the result of actions taken by his own musical-chairs legal team. The first postponement came in 2002 when his first attorney, high-priced litigator Walt Britt of Buford, succeeded in getting Gwinnett’s entire jury pool thrown out on procedural grounds.

      In 2003, the DA’s office put the case on hold in order to file more charges. Kramer had initially been accused of molesting two brothers, age 13 and 15, during sleep-overs at his house; at the time, he was dating their mother. But a third boy came forward and alleged that he’d been molested by Kramer over a period of several years.

      Prosecutors say Kramer has used a variety of stalling tactics – claiming he needed medical treatments, requesting extra time so new attorneys could get up to speed – in order to evade the 60-year prison sentence he faces if convicted. And a little more than a year ago, the Georgia Court of Appeals agreed that most of the delays could be blamed on Kramer.

      http://www.airlockalpha.com/node/9346/dragoncon-co-founder-finally-faces-molestation-trial.html
      September 2012:
      Now Danny Porter, the district attorney in Atlanta’s Gwinnett County, is pushing to finally start a trial that has been postponed at least five times. Porter has been fighting for extradition for months, and is currently in appeals to return Kramer to Georgia. If he does return to the state, Kramer could face trial in the alleged molestation of three boys, and could be facing decades in jail.

      The only concern is that if Kramer is convicted in the trial, there is a slim chance he could ever serve out his sentence. Why? Because the cost to acquiesce to his health needs could be too much for Georgia to handle.

      In fact, it’s those very health issues that has kept Kramer out of jail in the first place, for the most part. Through court filings, Kramer claims he is currently under the care of more than a dozen doctors, and at least 50 different medications. They all treat conditions that include spinal injury, psoriasis, narcolepsy, diabetes, asthma and more.

    • Avatar of marilove
      February 8, 2013 at 2:45 pm —

      The only reason the man hasn’t stood trial has zero to do with any amount of money he has, or makes.

      That is some hilarious bullshit, right there. Someone who is loaded will most certainly have a better chance of staying out of jail than someone who is poor, and there is no way you can deny that. This is a fact of fucking life.

  18. Avatar of Rebecca Watson
    February 8, 2013 at 8:49 am —

    I’ll be honest, the comments on this post are a bit disappointing. I feel that this has immediately become the exact same discussion as the previous post, as opposed to anything about the logical fallacies I’ve laid out.

    • Avatar of panchoruiz
      February 8, 2013 at 10:36 am —

      I haven’t tried to respond to it because I don’t really feel able to adequately respond to it, but I can say I don’t agree entirely. I’d say you’re misrepresenting the argument but I didn’t actually participate in the other one (not having even heard of dragon con before) so maybe your post is about exactly what some people meant. In which I agree with it and it certainly is logically consistent.

      The issue I see is that it’s not a matter of if he owned 30% of apple but of if he could get 150,000 a year. And I’d say going by probability there is almost certainly at least one person who gets that much in apple shares who has done as much harm to people. We also know for a fact that apple is involved with some pretty terrible things- like say all the stuff involved in the colton trade- that are certainly as bad or worse as what we’re talking about here. But the same would apply to Lenovo, Dell, etc

      Your argument seems to hinge around the fact that a greater proportion of your money is going to the Ed Kramer person, therefore this is worse than if he got the same amount of money from a smaller proportion of a larger number of people’s money. I don’t really understand that, although if it matters to you as a subjective value judgement it certainly makes sense.

      Sorry if I’m not understanding anything. I guess I was also kind of intimidated a little by the post. I found this site because of the feminist slant but I don’t really consider myself a skeptic or a feminist or anything. I guess I am an atheist but I mainly just like the writing here, including all your great stuff.

      • Avatar of panchoruiz
        February 8, 2013 at 10:56 am —

        ” I don’t really understand that, although if it matters to you as a subjective value judgement it certainly makes sense.”

        By “it” I mean your post and line of reasoning.

        I agree that this is basically the same discussion though. I think it’s because many people here seem to care very much about this convention. I see the same behavior when someone respected in other communities is accused of doing something bad (the congregation of a respected priest who is accused of abusing children, the supporters of an activist leader who is accused of being abusive in relationships, etc). I think this comes from an inability to separate the positive and negative achievements of a person, along with the positive and negative achievements of a group or movement as a whole.

        I’ve seen a fair number of trombonists who say they don’t like Frank Rosolino’s playing because he killed his family. Some trombonists even say they can hear it in his playing and consider it dark. It’s hard for people to see that someone could do good things through his music and still do terrible things like being a murderer.

        • Avatar of marilove
          February 8, 2013 at 4:04 pm —

          I’ve seen a fair number of trombonists who say they don’t like Frank Rosolino’s playing because he killed his family. Some trombonists even say they can hear it in his playing and consider it dark. It’s hard for people to see that someone could do good things through his music and still do terrible things like being a murderer.

          Yes, because “doing good things through music” is TOTALLY comparable to KILLING YOUR FAMILY.

          And I’m sorry, but a PEDOPHILE should never be considered a “good” person. I don’t care if he gave a million bucks to a wonderful charity: He is a pedophile and a terrible fucking person. Period.

          Yikes.

          Sometims bad people are always bad, regardless of how good something they do LOOKS. Doesn’t actually make it” good” — especially music, which is really neither good nor bad.

          What a terrible comparison.

          • Avatar of panchoruiz
            February 8, 2013 at 5:13 pm

            I’m sorry if anything I said bothered you.

            I don’t really consider music to be something that is neutral. I guess a similar thing would be like do you see physics research as neutral? If an important physicist killed his family would you not want people to continue learning from his work that expanded human knowledge? I understand you may see this as different but I do not and neither do most musicians I know.

            I also don’t really believe in the concept of a “good person” or a “bad person,” although certainly certain actions are harmful while others are helpful. Some people do more of one than the other but most people are somewhere in the middle. That’s how I see it.

            There are obviously degrees of how harmful things are but I don’t think people act different depending on that. If a person or thing they respect is challenged they start looking for ways to defend them in the same way people are here.

          • Avatar of panchoruiz
            February 8, 2013 at 5:21 pm

            To clarify marilove I mean that someone can be a pedophile or a murderer and still do positive things, but that most people are unable to separate the two. So for instance because people see Kramer’s work in Dragon Con as a positive thing they feel a need to defend him against the “negative” things, because the feeling is that if he helped something they think is really great like dragon con then he cannot be a “bad person.” They aren’t able to defend Kramer’s work in dragon con while condemning the ways he has harmed children or while finding ways to stop him from benefiting as much from the modern day dragon con. They can’t resolve the dichotomy of good and bad.

            Again I’m sorry if I’m bothering you. I won’t post anymore about this. I was only replying because Rebecca Watson felt like people weren’t responding to her post so I wanted to try to articulate my ideas as best I could since I had been thinking about what she said but didn’t really feel able to respond to it.

    • Avatar of James Fox
      February 8, 2013 at 7:12 pm —

      I’m thinking that’s because more people would rather discuss child molesters, science fiction conventions and the abrogating of justice, but I don’t have any research to back up that opinion.

    • Avatar of Tracie Mahaffey
      February 15, 2013 at 10:09 am —

      I have come to the discussion rather late and I apologize. In the interest of not rehashing stale arguments, I wanted to comment on the false dilemma above.

      I agree that as it stands, the comment above represents a false dilemma. As Rebecca pointed out, these are not the only options. It seems to me that, at least in part, what we have here is an epistemological problem. We now know (and some of us knew before) about the relationship between Kramer and Dragon*Con, such as it is. Thus, the issue isn’t whether we will research all shareholders of all companies we support with our purchasing power, but rather what do we do now that we know about the Kramer situation.

      My question, it seems, comes down to this. What action on Dragon*Con’s part, if any, would be sufficient to address the problem at hand? Would it be enough for Dragon*Con to show that they had done everything (or everything reasonable) within the limits of the law to disassociate the corporation from Kramer? Or, would it require more? PZ Meyers indicated that attending Dragon*Con while the corporation is still connected in any way to Kramer is, in his view, morally impermissible. He wrote in response to the first post, “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.” I will leave aside arguments about Kramer’s status in the legal system. At best, they push the argument out one more level. At the end of the day, we are faced with the dilemma. If Kramer is guilty and Kramer is still connected to Dragon*Con (even if only through investment), is it morally impermissible for us to attend?

      If we are to answer the question regarding our own attendance, then we need to ask what the Dragon*Con leadership is morally obligated to do in this case. Many (but not all) philosophers accept the principle that ought implies can when it comes to moral obligation. That is, we cannot say that someone ought to do something that they cannot in fact do. Furthermore, if you fail to do something that you cannot do, then you are not morally responsible. It is possible that Dragon*Con has satisfied the requirements on this account. That the corporation has taken the appropriate steps, but was unable to sever the relationship. If it has and Kramer still receives money from his investment, is it morally permissible to attend? If it is, then it isn’t the fact that Kramer receives money off his investment that makes attending wrong, because he would still be making money off his investment. If it would be impermissible to attend under any circumstances so long as Kramer still makes money off the con, then no action on Dragon*Con’s part – short of dissolution – is likely to make a difference at this point. The concerns of someone like PZ Meyers will not be resolved before September.

      (A side note: I realize that some folks may object to my use of the terms morally permissible and morally impermissible. As a philosopher, these are everyday terms in my discipline and should not be taken to indicate a commitment to any particular moral theory. If you want, you can read those terms as praiseworthy and blameworthy.)

  19. Avatar of Glenn McDavid
    February 8, 2013 at 2:25 pm —

    Consider another convention: Convergence, which hosts Skepchickon It is run by a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, so there are no profits and no stockholders. There may be some repulsive people involved in it, but none of them are making a living off of the event.

    There are lots of other conventions out there that are run by non-profits; I have been attending them for nearly 45 years.

  20. Avatar of eean
    February 8, 2013 at 6:18 pm —

    The guy is sitting in prison. So I guess this year DragonCon is funding the Ed Kramer Legal Defense Fund. :|
    In the end a lot of the money will probably end up in the pockets of the victims though. Hopefully in a year or two that will be clear.

  21. Avatar of despairingpanda
    June 27, 2013 at 5:38 pm —

    Dragoncon should focus on policing current events.

    Ed Kramer is no isolated case. Lordivey (Ivey F. Cook, founder of Blood Red Moon, and other groups) who’s been a guest more recently was just convicted. You can find him here
    http://www.doc.state.nc.us/offenders/
    How about stopping the pedophiles from getting in the front door and setting up tables?

    http://abbotivey.tripod.com/id4.html
    https://www.facebook.com/ivey.cook
    http://www.mugshotsworld.com/IVEY-FLOYD-COOK

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