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Anime Expo security problems incite controversy

posted on 1998-07-27 00:00 EDT

Southern California's Anime Expo is one of the biggest expos of its kind in the United states, but some have pledged not to be back next year.

According to several reports, the local Hilton's security company is being blamed for alegedly shutting down several events, as well as violating civil rights in accordance with their own religious standards.

Kierestelli Ho of the Bay Area Animation Society had planned her event, "The Evening Of Bishounen Pleasure" (which was planned to be a formal, quiet affair) as well as a dance. (Ho notes, "We have given this party at two Anime America's, two A-Kon's and one previous AX [with no problems].")

"The hotel chief of security came in and told our club's security person, Marshall Clevesy, that he had a problem with us having the Bishounen Pleasure event because he thought it was inappropriate." One reason given was the hotel stay of the Kenneth Copland Crusade, a Christian group (whose members noted that they had no problem with any of this). After a long struggle, their parties were forced to be canceled ten minutes before their commencement (for reasons that were allegedly false), and their members were hassled about their choice of attire (despite the fact that the hotel pool had bikini-clad women around). According to other reports, vendors of hentai anime/manga goods were hassled as well. Armed guards were brought in for those that protested, and one man documenting the mess with a camcorder had his tape confiscated and was threatened with a life-long hotel ban.

Other threats allegedly made included calling in the Los Angeles Police Department, which has a poor enough reputation in its dealings with women gays and minorities to cause some amount of panic.

The Bay Area Anime society lost more than $1000 in the fiasco. Ho and her associates are currently looking into their legal options.

Anaheim Hilton Security denied knowledge of any problems and declined comment on the incident.


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