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San Japan Chair Resigns After Claiming PoC Guests Aren't Profitable

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

Staff of the San Antonio-based convention San Japan announced on Saturday that chairman Dave Henkin will step down immediately following "hurtful and ignorant comments" he made on his private Twitter account. Henkin wrote in a private post that the reason the convention doesn't book People of Color (PoC) guests is because the convention is often asked to book "sexual predators and popular asshole divas" and those guests bring more money.

"Show up by the hundreds with cash to PoC, then I'll book them," Henkin wrote on Thursday. He later followed with a public apology on his Facebook account the same day.

Following San Japan's announcement that Henkin would step down as chairman, he posted a second apology on the convention's Facebook page that states that the convention had him start a Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

"This committee will help to ensure that there is more representation and thought given not only the guest list but the convention as a whole," Henkin said.

San Japan wrote that the committee will select guests "by a combination of fan submissions, staff recommendations, and formal recommendations made by an equity committee."

"Our staffing, programming, and community programs will begin an immediate and comprehensive review of acceptance criteria and any possible biases that exist as barriers to entry to the convention," the convention staff stated. "Please do not hold the stupidity of one man against the work of countless POC and LGBTQ+ individuals who have worked for over a decade to make this a model conference. We look forward to the opportunity to prove ourselves during our next convention."

San Japan's convention board will function without a chairman for the time being and make decisions based on committee.

Henkin's comments came during increased awareness of racial inequality in the United States and abroad. Protests have continued across multiple cities in the United States and across the world after the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, as local police forcibly held him down with a knee against his neck in Minneapolis for nine minutes. Floyd died short thereafter and both the Hennepin County medical examiner and an independent examiner hired by Floyd's family determined his death was a homicide. The four officers involved in Floyd's death have all been arrested and charged. Officer Derek Chauvin is awaiting charges of second-degree murder and officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

Video footage of Floyd's arrest where he is heard telling officers that he couldn't breathe quickly spread. The protests have also sparked sympathetic protests in other cities outside the United States, highlighting police discrimination and brutality in their own communities.

The San Japan convention is scheduled for Labor Day Weekend 2020 at Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio Grand Hyatt and the Marriott Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio. The convention welcomed approximately 20,000 guests last year.

Source: Nerd and Tie (Trae Dorn)

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