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Unread 02-20-2013, 08:31 PM   #1
musepoetique
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Statement from Katsucon and BBYO

Hello Katsucon,

We have received the letter below from BBYO. Before you read it, I need to say something on our part. I know that a lot of you had uncomfortable and difficult experiences over the weekend and, for those of you who are reporting these situations to me directly as requested, I am and will continue to pursue them to the fullest.

That said, this is the first time after having been with Katsucon for 16 years, that I feel some shame in my affiliation. For those of you providing constructive feedback - thank you! We rely on that to improve. I'm thrilled to hear that many of you had wonderful con experiences, unmarred by any incident. For those of you who had a hard time and/or experienced inappropriate contact, I'm sorry, and I understand - I will work to resolve those situations however I can. There are, however, a small number of people who seem to have decided that the best way to address this situation is to flame, harass, and threaten BBYO and their members. Baseless accusations, racial slurs, threats, and horrible pictures of historical figures have appeared around the web and directly on their site.

This is NOT OK. Katsucon does not support this kind of behavior and those perpetrating it are not welcome among us. We all revel in the beauty of being accepted for who we are at a con - please, treat other people the way you want to be treated. Lashing out won't help a tense situation, it won't enable us to resolve anything, it just embarrasses all of us. Be the people I love to work for - be heartfelt but kind, be open though persistent, and be an example of how we want to be treated by those who don't understand us in the future.

Thank you.

***** Statement from BBYO *****

There have been a variety of opinions expressed through social media about interactions between participants and staff at BBYO’s International Convention and those taking part in Katsucon. We appreciate the many comments that were offered constructively. We apologize to those who were inconvenienced by our presence in any way. We attempted to work with Katsucon staff to provide access to areas that were important to Katsucon participants, while minimizing the likelihood that our teens would interfere in your activities.

Online assertions were made that BBYO staff and/or teens made inappropriate comments and/or contact with Katsucon participants. We obviously reject in the strongest terms any behavior that compromises the dignity or well-being of any person. Should anyone have any information that clearly implicates another individual, please forward it to info@bbyo.org so that we can fully assess the information.

It is important that we not let the behavior of a few contaminate the good will and intentions of many. Several posts we have seen about alleged incidents are hateful, inflammatory and false. The vast majority of us know that there is no place for that in society. While BBYO cannot and will not defend every action of every member of our community, we will vigilantly defend our organization and faith for the values for which we stand.

Like Katsucon, BBYO takes pride when its community comes together to celebrate that which makes us unique. Knowing that our presence may have prevented your community from fully realizing that joy disturbs us deeply. To those who were impacted, we are sorry. Additionally, we are grateful for the partnership and understanding of the vast majority of Katsucon staff and participants.

________________________________________
Matthew Grossman
Executive Director

BBYO, Inc.
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Unread 02-21-2013, 01:58 PM   #2
Scorpion89
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I'll say this for the BBYO what a nice rose colored BS statement they put out. How about they come out and say they are sorry that they brought in Rent-A-Thugs tat might go a long way to fix some of the issues.

Oh and for the record this isn't the first time that the BBYO has caused issue with other ongoing conventions.
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Unread 02-21-2013, 02:31 PM   #3
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i feel like they specifically worded that to be safe in any possible legal issue that may arise. they separated their organization name from people's actions. something i disagree with though, is that they said "behavior of the few" when in fact, the people in charge of the bbyo were at fault when organizing their event and so created a domino effect, causing issues to arise whenever anyone with anything to do with Katsucon interacted with any staff or member of the bbyo convention. they need to "rearrange" some of their staff, if you know what i mean.
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Unread 02-21-2013, 02:56 PM   #4
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Just to clarify my point of view, I have no problems with BBYO, its affiliations, or its members as a whole. My complaints mainly stem from the "inconvenience" caused by the imposed pedestrian traffic regulations.

That said, this is my take on the letter:

Quote:
We apologize to those who were inconvenienced by our presence in any way. We attempted to work with Katsucon staff to provide access to areas that were important to Katsucon participants, while minimizing the likelihood that our teens would interfere in your activities.
"BBYO has made every effort to reduce traffic congestion within the BBYO convention and interaction between BBYO and Katsucon members. BBYO appologizes if this has been an inconvenience for Katsucon members."

Fair enough. Every organization attempts to obtain the best for their organization. Sometimes, like in this particular case, it can cause problems with other organizations. Some attempt was made to work with Katsucon staff to resolve the major issues, and I'm glad at least some sort of compromise was made.

Quote:
Online assertions were made that BBYO staff and/or teens made inappropriate comments and/or contact with Katsucon participants. We obviously reject in the strongest terms any behavior that compromises the dignity or well-being of any person. Should anyone have any information that clearly implicates another individual, please forward it to info@bbyo.org so that we can fully assess the information.
"If you cannot back your claims with concrete evidence, then BBYO denies that these acts have ever taken place."

Sort of a double-edged sword. Concrete evidence tends to take the form of photographs and video. If you see an individual in distress and continue to take pictures or film rather than go and help out, you're probably not an individual we'd like to see representing our community. Partial evidence would not suffice.

Quote:
It is important that we not let the behavior of a few contaminate the good will and intentions of many. Several posts we have seen about alleged incidents are hateful, inflammatory and false. The vast majority of us know that there is no place for that in society. While BBYO cannot and will not defend every action of every member of our community, we will vigilantly defend our organization and faith for the values for which we stand.
"BBYO takes no responsibility for the actions of our members, if in fact they ever took place."

About what anyone can expect from a large organization. No problems here.

Essentially, this letter is a declaration that BBYO was never in the wrong. From an organization point of view, that's correct. There exist no evidence that BBYO officially led attacks on Katsucon attendees. Some members of the BBYO community may have stepped out of line, but BBYO will not take responsibility for those individuals' actions.

While this letter effectively says nothing, I'm satisifed that BBYO did respond and will be leaving this particular matter alone.
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Unread 02-22-2013, 05:51 AM   #5
Debitto_of_Bond
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Well, I suppose a Half-Arsed Apology is better than no apology at all, at least they did acknowledge some wrong doing on their part. Still though they should just pony up and say "We screwed up, some of our members were out of line and will be reprimanded accordingly"
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Unread 02-22-2013, 08:49 AM   #6
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Katsucon has been going on with another convention at the same time for the past few years, that being said we never had an issue with the other cons before. In fact they enjoyed us. Yes while some of us may have been rude and our actions may have only been done to reciprocate what the BBYO has been doing for the entire weekend the point I'm getting at is Katsucon is really not at fault for much here.
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Unread 02-22-2013, 09:16 AM   #7
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this is great and all, but i'm totally over it. it happened. BBYO sucked, but it's time to move on.
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Unread 02-22-2013, 09:36 AM   #8
tatooine
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This fauxpology is complete shit, because BBYO knows it's impossible to pin down any individual as responsible for anything.

I've heard BBYO is asking for its money back for the convention, which makes me concerned about the complete lack of spine Katsucon is showing. BBYO harassed its members all weekend, and Katsu's given no overt signs of doing anything about it. I'm concerned at this point that Katsu won't aggregate and articulate its member complaints well enough, and that this will place it at a disadvantage in negotiating rates with the Gaylord in the future, or in the Gaylord turning around and making Katsu pay for the BBYO squirming out of paying its fees.

So, no, the BBYO issue isn't "over." If Katsucon can't establish that it was wronged -- that it was bullied not the bully, the victim not the troublemaker -- it could result in upped prices or getting kicked out of the Gaylord altogether.
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Unread 02-22-2013, 01:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DespairedPheonix View Post
this is great and all, but i'm totally over it. it happened. BBYO sucked, but it's time to move on.
This. I know some of you were attacked and abused, both physically and mentally, but I feel like the only people still talking about this terrible set of events are the people who weren't affected at all. Those that did have unfortunate running ins with the attendee's of the BBYO should be spending their energy on dealing with the situation legally or moving on at this point.

as said already, at least they bothered to even bring up the topic and apologize, as transparent as the apology may be.
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Unread 02-22-2013, 07:29 PM   #10
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BBYO statement - Wordsmithed like a carefully loaded legal document that contained no substance whatsoever.

Katsucon statement - Honestly and openly explaining in plain english Katsucon's thoughts on the matter as an Organization.

This right there, tells quite a bit about the two organizations and their modus-operandi.
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Unread 02-23-2013, 01:05 PM   #11
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The response I got from BBYO was a bit different:

"It has come to our attention that a complaint was filed on your behalf regarding an altercation between one of our staffers and yourself. The staffer [name withheld] was reported as pushing you. We regret that this interaction took place. And apologize that this interaction took place.

We are aware of the security camera footage and the entire incident is still under review. The Katsucon convention and the Gaylord National Resort have sent us formal complaints regarding your incident. And we will follow up their complaints with a review of our operating procedures for our staff.

Again we apologize for the interaction that took place. We hope you can set this incident in the past, as we all move forward to prevent a repeat of this kind of incident.

Yours truly,

BBYO Senior Staff,

Rabbi David M. Kessel
Chief Program Officer, BBYO
Office (202) 857-6567
Cellular (301) 767-5781

Mitch Liebeskind
director for MD events
mliebeskind@jcc.org"

This was in relation to an incident where a BBYO staffer physically pushed me out of the way during one of the "BBYO owns this hallway GTFO" incidents. I had taken the liberty of following the grievance procedures for Katsucon, filing complaints with Katsucon, the Gaylord Resort and also with BBYO itself. In my case, I was able to identify the staffer who pushed me, which is why i pursued the grievance process immediately.
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Unread 02-24-2013, 12:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technowraith View Post
The response I got from BBYO was a bit different:

"It has come to our attention that a complaint was filed on your behalf regarding an altercation between one of our staffers and yourself. The staffer [name withheld] was reported as pushing you. We regret that this interaction took place. And apologize that this interaction took place."

[...]
And yet now I'm reading:

http://old.b-linked.org/intranet/article.php?id=2734&p=1|7

Quote:
INTERNAL: Katsucon Statements

02/19/2013

BBYO Colleagues,

As many of you know, BBYO’s International Convention shared space at the Gaylord Hotel with Katsucon, a three-day festival celebration of Japanese animation, art and pop culture. Needless to say, this group which numbered over 15,000 brought some life and color to the hotel and convention center.

While sharing space with such a large group posed some challenges, it was an overall positive experience thanks to the strong partnership that we established with Katuscon’s leadership, particularly its security team. Together, we were able to provide crowd control in the most highly trafficked areas and keep our respective participants in their respective venue locations. This was a successful endeavor as we received no incident reports from Katsucon or Hotel security regarding our participants.

With that said, there is some misinformation floating around social media that causes us concern. A small number of Katsucon participants are making accusations that we have no reason to believe are true. In some cases these accusations are being made in hateful ways. Should you receive inquiries about this from anyone, please share the following points:
  • BBYO, Katsucon and Hotel security worked together to provide a safe convention experience for everyone. There were no formal incident reports filed to any party by or about BBYO teen participants or staff during the entire convention.
  • BBYO had 150 professionals and volunteers on duty throughout International Convention, as well as contracted security professionals who coordinated with existing hotel security.
  • Certain sections of the hotel were restricted to BBYO’s conference attendees. This was a point of frustration particularly for Katsucon participants, who in prior years had the Gaylord to themselves, but it was necessary to maintain security and traffic flow. BBYO and Katsucon worked together to map-out various sections of the hotel for each group to ensure that the needs of both organizations were met. BBYO did provide Katsucon unrestricted access to the foyer, a popular area for their photography.
  • There have been no claims from the hotel of damage caused by BBYO participants.
If there are inquiries that require further clarification, please contact your DFO or refer them to David Kessel at dkessel@bbyo.org or 202 857-6567. If you see information that contradicts these statements posted online, please contact Carly Lundy Schacknies at clundy@bbyo.org or 202 857-6691. Additionally, please encourage your teens NOT to respond to any social media posts.

Thank you,

Matt
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Unread 02-24-2013, 01:20 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Test Type View Post
This was a point of frustration particularly for Katsucon participants, who in prior years had the Gaylord to themselves
Hahaha what. Katsu has always shared the Gaylord. We just usually didn't have to share it with little shits.
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