2012 in Atlanta’s Downtown this weekend brings another time where there’s a mix of football, fun, and freaks. They come from all over the United States, and the World, to be in Atlanta for the event called Dragon Con (or Dragon-Con, which is something you should note). There’s even a couple of friends of this blogger who’ve made the star trek from Oakland to Atlanta, and have done this for several years.
Dragon Con draws about 40,000 to five hotels in Downtown Atlanta, and attracts such science fiction stars as Katee Sackhoff (better known as Captain Kara “Starbuck” Thrace on the Sci Fi Channel’s television program Battlestar Galactica), and Felicia Day, who’s gained a measure of celebrity from playing Vi” on the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as her popular online show The Guild.
And if it’s not celebs, Dragon Con has panels on everything from costume-making for cosplay, to introductions of new straight-to-DVD movies by unknown film makers, to some really wild parties. In some cases, perhaps too wild.
And that brings up the one thing Dragon Con staffers and owners (it’s not a non-profit like Comic Con International) don’t want you to know about. In fact, they’ve taken great steps to shield your eyes from any publication that may mention it. Dragon Con staffers have even encouraged the strict production of articles using a spelling of Dragon-Con that separates Dragon and Con (like this Dragon*Con or Dragon-Con or Dragon Con with a space), hoping that a flood of new content will trick search engines into avoiding the few items that mention the problem Dragon-Con wants you to not know about, but don’t adhere to the “proper” spelling of the event’s name.
Especially a poorly search-engine-optimized article by Atlanta’s premier print publication that called Dragon Con, “DragonCon”.)
According to a hard-hitting article in this month’s Atlanta Magazine called “In The Shadows,” Ed Kramer, Dragon Con’s Co-Founder and the main force behind its growth, sits in a Connecticut jail as of this writing because he was arrested last September on charges of child molestation. Moreover Mr. Kramer has fought legal battles with Atlanta law enforcement on such claims for about the last 15 years.
One can sympathize with the other Dragon Con Co-Founder Pat Henry for wanting to distance himself and the company from Mr. Kramer. But the problem is Henry has said Kramer has not been involved with Dragon Con since 2000 (his last arrest before 2011 on the same charges; Kramer has dogged trial, mostly for a complex set of health-related reasons), but has paid Kramer for his share of the organization’s stock dividend, including a court-forced $154,000 in 2011. That means those paying for tickets up to 2011 were essentially financing Mr. Kramer’s legal defense.
(It seems, from reading the Atlanta Magazine account, that the Dragon Con corporate formation documents lacked a morals clause. If it were in place, Kramer could not have collected a dime.)
But what’s even sadder about this episode is the effort Dragon Con’s taking to mask the Atlanta Magazine account, or anything this blogger has written. That effort calls other questions to fore: are there other types of legally-questionable activity that Dragon Con, knowns for private parties that are arguably forays into sex play, isn’t doing a good job of preventing the occurrence of?
A nod toward openness and an investigation would make sure to keep Dragon Con an event that isn’t mentioned in the same breath as Jerry Sandusky.