Cosplayer Luna Lanie speaks out about harassment at MomoCon

laina cosplay

Update: MomoCon has responded to this issue. You can read their statement here.

Cosplayer Luna Lanie had pretty high expectations for MomoCon this year, calling the Atlanta, Georgia convention her favorite con of the year; that is until she actually entered the show floor this weekend. In a video posted to YouTube and then shared to her Facebook page, where she has over seventeen-thousand likes, and Twitter, where she has almost sixty-thousand followers, she described the sexual harassment she endured at the hands of convention attendees and staff. Quite simply, she never wants to go back.

Luna starts the video off by saying that the culture of the convention has changed in recent years and no longer feels that it is very cosplay friendly. She describes convention attendees touching her inappropriately and without her permission, petting her face and back, with no security in sight to report such incidences to. When she took to social media to air her complaints, MomoCon organizers set up a private meeting with her to discuss what had occurred and how they could improve. However, Luna goes on to say in the video that the organizers did not seem very interested in implementing her suggestions, which included anti-harassment campaigns and “Cosplay is Not Consent” signs like other conventions both big and small have taken to adopting in recent years. Most concerning of all, after leaving the meeting, Luna says she was harassed by convention security staff who made unwelcome, sexual comments about her body and told her that her “revealing cosplay” was to blame for the inappropriate actions of others. She was subsequently told to leave the convention floor because of her cosplay, although Luna says there were many other cosplayers in far more revealing costumes. When she brought up the fact that she seemed to be being singled out after the meeting, she was essentially told that if she hadn’t been vocal about her displeasure with the convention on social media she “wouldn’t be having these issues.”

The fact that Luna did not feel safe at MomoCon is cause for concern on its own; anyone who has ever experienced sexual harassment at a convention can describe how rattling and dehumanizing it can feel. To have someone violate your personal space and autonomy for their own gain is a terrible experience. But to have convention security staff imply that the shape of Luna’s body and her costume are to blame for what occurred is wholly unacceptable.

Luna’s allegation against the security staff at the convention are extremely serious. There is no denying that Luna Lanie is a beautiful woman and that the cosplay she is wearing in the video posted Saturday, Caitlyn in her Officer Skin cosplay from League of Legends, is revealing. However, Luna’s curves and state of dress are in no way to blame for the actions of others. Homo sapiens are not some un-evolved species incapable of controlling their impulses in response to an alluring stimulus. For the same reason that I do not eat cake every time I see it in a shop window or spend to excess whenever I enter a casino, just because you find someone sexually attractive does not mean that you can touch them, harass them, or be sexually aggressive towards them in other ways. No matter what you wish to do, you are in control and your actions must remain appropriate. While people are entitled to see an attractive person in a crowd and think that they are attractive, that private thought is where their entitlement ends. They are not entitled to voice that attraction to the person, touch that person, or otherwise come on to that person if it makes them uncomfortable; that’s where the line into harassment is crossed. Sexy cosplayers are not inviting people to harass them by simply existing the in same space as people that go on to cross that threshold.

The fact that the convention staff would allegedly not operate on the simple principle that people are responsible for their own actions is concerning. Luna Lanie certainly sees it as concerning enough to urge others not to attend the convention in the future. Luna’s video will certainly give many pause when they consider whether or not to return to MomoCon.

Time will tell how the convention and the public responds to the allegations in Luna Lanie’s video. I’ll be curious to see if Luna becomes the target of online sexual harassment as the video gains an audience, as so many people before her tragically have been after speaking out against harassment in the convention community. If she is, it only goes further to prove the toxicity that can be present in our community and the need for conventions to take the issue of harassment seriously.

 

* EDIT: The article originally stated Laura Sirikul wrote the article, but the article was written by Genevieve LeBlanc. This was due to technical error.

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Genevieve LeBlanc
Genevieve LeBlanc 126 posts

Genevieve LeBlanc is a contributing writer for NerdReactor.com and lives in snowy Canada.