Cherry City ComiCon Provides Great Example of How NOT to do PR

It is getting to the point, thankfully, where conventions make news when they do something, good or bad, that gets fandom’s attention.

Cherry City ComiCon in Salem, Oregon has joined that fraternity, but unfortunately, as a bad example.

What has already gone viral — it was trending on Twitter as of April 29th — is that Chana W. saw some photos on Cherry City’s Facebook page that made her feel uncomfortable as a female cosplayer. She wrote a polite email requesting a refund.

The response of Mark Martin, the event’s organizer, was to refund her money but not without making a public mockery of her concerns, and taking her private email public, thus encouraging a fanboy feeding frenzy. As if this wasn’t bad enough, he chose to mock the would-be congoer with language that minimizes mental illness. So we’ve got a triple-threat of epic fail here.

StrongAndFree linked to the offensive refund response and shared their attempt to get more information. “Cassie,” an event organizer, blames the refunded congoer for hurting Martin’s feelings, and holds her responsible for the backlash they’re now receiving. But the wrong just keeps on coming: updates to the article include proof that Martin was using sockpuppet Facebook accounts to argue on his own behalf.

Martin has made an apology, and Chana W. is responding with grace and poise.

Jamie Kingston

Jamie Kingston

Jamie Kingston is a Native New Yorker, enduring a transplant to Atlanta. She’s a lifelong comic fan, having started at age 13 and never looked back, developing a decades-spanning collection and the need to call out the creators when she expects better of them. Her devotion extends to television, films, and books as well as the rare cosplay. She sates her need to create in a number of ways including being an active editor on the TV Tropes website, creating art and fan art, and working on her randomly updating autobiographical web comic, Orchid Coloured Glasses. As a woman of color, she considers it important to focus on diversity issues in the media. She received the Harpy Agenda micro-grant in November of 2015 for exceptional comics journalism by a writer of color.