Taiyou Con Convention Director Steps Down After Sexual Assault Accusation
posted on by Adriana Hazra
The official Facebook page for Mesa, Arizona's Taiyou Con announced on December 18 that convention director Gackto has voluntarily stepped down from his post. The convention staff appointed Jai Son as the new convention director for Taiyou Con 2022. The change in leadership comes after Gackto was accused of sexual assault on social media.
The staff of the convention later posted a statement on Facebook on December 21 apologizing to attendees, and stating that Gackto "will no longer be working with the convention anymore" and would not be on the premises during the event. Convention staff added they are investigating the matter and are working to transition to new leadership and ownership, but added "it would be legally inappropriate to comment further at this time."
Local news outlet The Arizona Republic reported on December 23 that, according to the Arizona Corporation Commission, Taiyou Convention LLC consisted of two members (Kato Tan and Rida Son). However, as of December 23, the information was updated to exclude Kato Tan, and instead lists Rida Son and Beskar LLC as the two members.
A Facebook account under the name Allie Heady made a public post on December 15 accusing a person named Gackto of sexual assault that Heady said allegedly happened in December 2017. Heady stated in the accusation, "He also created an anime convention called taiyou con. Please boycott it."
A Facebook account under the name of "Gackto Kristian K Takaida" wrote a public post on December 17 denying the assault allegations.
Taiyou Con 2022 is scheduled to take place at the Mesa Convention Center from January 7-9. The staff of Taiyou Con postponed the event from its 2021 date. Badges from the event have rolled over to the 2022 event. Boycotters of the event are demanding refunds for those who no longer wish to attend the event amongst other measures.
Taiyou Con's harassment policy states:
Taiyou Con attendees are expected to treat fellow attendees, guests, staff, volunteers, and the general public with due respect regardless of fandom, costume, gender, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion. Physical harassment, verbal harassment, and/or assault will be met with zero tolerance. This includes, but is not limited to: physical assault, battery, deliberate intimidation, stalking, and unwelcome physical or verbal attention. However, falsely accusing an individual of harassment will be considered an act of harassment itself and will be dealt with as such.