[OpEd] Convention Horror Story: Hotel (Ep 01: Wash Your Butt)

So, Mike Penny’s post-Katsucon 2016 photos went viral over the President’s Day holiday. As of this post, there has been over 2,000 shares of the photo set. The photos consisted of attendees trashing the Gaylord resort rooms by spilling water, punching holes, and making a mess. We don’t know if this is one isolated incident or a series of a few hotel rooms. However, people have been commenting about how a new generation of younger otaku have been trashing hotel spaces. Unfortunately, this is not anything new. This one of the few times we’ve seen these types of incidents documented and shared. I’ve been to anime cons for about 15+ years and I have seen my share of hotel rooms being trashed.

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People aren’t sure where to direct the blame. Some blame it entirely on the east coast convention scene or just a younger crowd. From personal experience, this happens at cons across the country no matter the generation. This is just one of the few times someone has actually documented an incident. It’s not limited to conventions either. For example, in 2008, there was a meet up in Little Tokyo. An MMA Pikachu cosplayer wanted to show off his skills and then punctured a hole at a Little Tokyo establishment. Cosplayers were frowned up for a few years. In the times I’ve attended Anime Los Angeles, I’ve heard stories about furniture being stolen at the Burbank location and the tale of the grey painted (allegedly) Homestuck cosplayer bathing in the hot tub.

Concerned conventioneers have expressed perhaps running a panel on discussing etiquette at these events. However, from viewing those who attend “Cosplay is Not Consent” panels, it’s usually the concerned consumer who attends, not the target who needs to be taught a lesson. Some hotels (ACen and Otakon) have provided incentives to convention guests by awarding a free three night stay for next year’s event on whomever can provide the cleanest room. While conventions generally address behavior guidelines in the program guide, offenders need to deal with punitive action.

The best way to handle this is to encourage one another to respect the hotel space we’re given. There are reasons why the Gaylord charges more to Katsucon con goers than MagFest attendees. Though MagFest also has a party reputation, at least the people that throw the parties show respect to the space the convention rents out for them. If you are hosting a room party, make sure you tell attendees to throw their trash out and to puke in the toilet. When attendees treat anime cons like the worst of spring break, it becomes an immediate liability and damages the relationship between the convention and the hosting venue.

Conventions are a privilege and not a right. We need to start encouraging and calling out this kind of behavior, otherwise, we loose our privilege of having the conventions we love.

And even if you do not request maid service for the event, it’s still wise to tip the maid for cleaning up after long weekend.

– Eri Kagami

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