There’s been increasing controversy around Australian pop culture expo Supanova’s decision to invite outspoken GamerGate supporter Adam Baldwin to conventions. It was announced that Baldwin, who is credited with creating the GamerGate hashtag, had been invited to attended conventions in Sydney and Perth in June, 2015. In response, a petition was created to “Revoke Adam Baldwin’s Invite to The Supanova Pop Culture Expo”, which as of writing this article had almost 4000 signatures.
Baldwin, known for his roles in fan favorites Firefly and Chuck, has been an active supporter of the GamerGate movement. The same GamerGate that targets and harasses women for the crime of being women, although if you ask them they’d tell you it’s actually about the ethics of journalism. Humor aside, GamerGate supporters have been known to harass, abuse and even threaten any woman that so much a suggests there is misogyny in the gaming industry.
By supporting a man that endorses the behaviour exhibited by the GamerGate community, Supanova is creating a potentially threatening environment for women and other minorities. As petition creator Albert Santos states: “I have always felt welcomed [at Supanova] and loved by both the community, the variety of guests invited, and the family-friendly atmosphere that is harbored. Knowing that someone that has not only harassed and intimidated people, but has led an entire online movement in doing so, will be there goes against those sentiments entirely.”
Many of the arguments against revoking Baldwin’s invite suggest that those who disagree with a guests personal opinions should simply avoid the event or ignore the guest in question. But that fails to take into account what petition founder Albert Santos explains to The Mary Sue in an email: “One thing you have to understand about the Australian con scene is that it is tiny. Aside from a few niche events for Anime fans and cosplay enthusiasts, we have two major brands that travel the country: reedpop’s Oz Comic Con, and the family-operated Supanova Expos.”
Supanova is one of the only chances Australian fans get to enjoy convention culture, and there are only so many spots available for potential guests. It doesn’t seem right to waste available resources on someone that has openly supported a racist, misogynist, homophobic hate group. Not only does it risk making potential attendees feel uncomfortable or even unsafe, it also takes away the opportunity to support a performer that is not a genuinely horrible person.
Supernova has yet to make a decision regarding Baldwin’s guest status, although Founder and Event Director Daniel Zachariou posted on the Supanova Facebook page asking for responses from fans. Stating: “Regardless of what the ultimate outcome is please know that we 100% agree with your right, as our fans, to have your say, to share your feelings, to create or sign petitions in the positive or the negative, to protest or support.” The post has already garnered over 500 responses both for and against the petition.
On a personal note: I live in Sydney and I am a long time supporter of Supanova Pop Culture Expos – I even wrote about last years event here at The Geekiary. I’m also a huge Firefly fan and while I am aware of the GamerGate controversy I am not a gamer myself. That said, considering the number of people that have indicated that Adam Baldwin’s presence would affect them a negative way I think the only choice is to revoke his invite. This is an event that prides itself on being about the fans and a significant number of fans are upset by this and that is not conducive to an enjoyable convention experience.
For more information on Adam Baldwin and GamerGate please check these links:
- Adam Baldwin’s Upcoming Appearance at Supanova Pop Culture Expo Incites Controversy (via The Mary Sue)
- A Disheartening Account Of The Harassment Going On In Gaming Right Now (And How Adam Baldwin Is Involved) (via The Mary Sue)
- Actor Adam Baldwin: #GamerGate defeated the Left, but there will be no parade (via Raw Story)
- Felicia Day’s worst Gamergate fears just came true (via The Daily Dot)
- The sexist crusade to destroy game developer Zoe Quinn (via The Daily Dot)
- Anita Sarkeesian was forced to leave her home after receiving online death threats (via The Daily Dot)
- Awards ceremony received bomb threats over Anita Sarkeesian appearance (via The Daily Dot) /
- Brianna Wu speaks up about the GamerGate threats that chased her out of her home (via The Daily Dot)
- Anita Sarkeesian cancels Utah speech after threat of school massacre (via The Daily Dot)
- Is GamerGate About Media Ethics or Harassing Women? Harassment, the Data Shows (via Newsweek)
- Hey, Female Gamers: Don’t let the #gamergate hate stop you! (via The Geekiary)
Author: Undie Girl
Undie Girl (aka Von) has a BA (Hons) Major in Cultural Studies. The title of her honours thesis was “It’s just gay and porn”: Power, Identity and the Fangirl’s Gaze. She’s currently pursuing a Masters of Media Practice at University of Sydney. Von’s a former contributor The Backlot’s column The Shipping News and a current co-host of The Geekiary’s monthly webcast FEELINGS… with The Geekiary.
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