Gary Con is a tabletop gaming convention held in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin in order to commemorate the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons; Gary Gygax.
The convention began as an impromptu event at Lake Geneva’s American Legion Hall following Gygax’s funeral in 2008. It surged in popularity after a 2015 mention on The Big Bang Theory and is organised by Luke Gygax, Gary’s son.
This year Gary Con is facing calls for a boycott. Stacy Dellorfano,
The reason? Bill Webb, owner of Frog God Games, has been invited as special guest to Gary Con. Stacy explains;
This year, Gary Con has included Bill Webb as one of their special guests. Bill is the owner of Frog God Games (full disclosure: I worked for FGG as a contractor on a Swords & Wizardry project a couple years ago), and responsible for attacking BJ Hensley (one of the only women who owns her own game company) at Paizo Con just this last year. Since coming out about Bill, people have made her life and her business more difficult by continuously attacking her and making her feel unsafe, while Bill has gone on to have a relatively normal life… so much so that he’s being asked to come back to Gary Con!
Dellorfano cites the PaizoCon 2017 incident which resulted in Paizo CEO, Lisa Stevens, stepping forward to give her word that there would be zero tolerance for sexual harassment and assault.
According to the
BJ is not the only one he’s attacked, and I can personally verify the fact that he spends most of his times at cons piss drunk. It’s important to realize, when you see these things happen, the person reporting the account isn’t ever the only one attacked. By inviting him, Gary Con is making the few women that actually go to the convention unsafe.
Why the boycott? Dellorfano concludes with two points it’s about the safety of guests and about putting pressure on conventions to bring in the right guests.
If we are to put pressure on conventions to not bring in guests that could harm people in our community, we absolutely must have the support and action of our white cisgender heterosexual male friends, partners, and relatives. That means you must be willing to give something up to stand up for your beliefs. Gary Con is inviting dangerous guests and ignoring their female guest’s safety entirely.
You can read the full statement here.
Disclosure: Geek Native was a sponsor of the 2014 ConTessa. We have never received money from any of the conventions mentioned in this post.