Geeks A Gogo doesn't often wade into controversy, but today we were given early access to a major development in a story that has played out for the past month in the Chicago geek community. As a hub for happenings in the geek community, we felt the need to share this information with you.
On February 6, 2016, Lauren Faits (aka Geek Girl Chicago) released a statement that rocked the Chicago geek community regarding an incident that happened about 13 years ago involving comic book convention photographer, Ronald Ladao.
Lauren named Ronald Ladao as a "criminal harraser". Her blog post sums up what happened in the following quote:
"Thirteen years ago, I was under 18- a minor. I was attending an anime convention in the Chicago area. A group of cosplayers, including myself, headed up to a hotel room to change out of our costumes. We were followed. While we were undressing, a photographer began slamming into our room's locked door in an attempt to break in. The room had one of those sliding locks, which broke open under the force. The photographer rushed in with a camera, attempting to get nude photos and/or video of underage cosplayers." - Lauren (Geek Girl Chicago)
You can read the full article here: https://web.archive.org/web/20160208081956/http://www.chicagonow.com/geek-girl-chicago/2016/02/cosplay-harassment/ ). We provided the web archive link to her original post, as it appears before any potential edits are made. The article in its present form is here:
Since then, Ron has lost his credibility and lost photography jobs that he had lined up for the comic book convention season. He was supposed to be the official photographer for the Crown Championships of Cosplay (a contest that I will be competing in) this coming Saturday during C2E2. He was always chosen to be the photographer for this event for the past several years.
Today, Ron has given us early acess to a link to a video that shows his side of the story. This video appears to document the events cited in Lauren's blog post, but with some difference in detail. We have embedded the video here (annotations best viewed in desktop view) :
After watching the video, I'm sure there's a lot of questions that people are going to ask. Does this video depict the incident that Lauren mentioned in her article? Is there more evidence to support either side of the story? We encourage our readers to read Lauren's blog post, and watch Ron's video to judge for themselves.
The Chicago geek community is very tight-knit, and harassment is definitely not taken lightly. The community has taken action be proactive in putting an end to incidents of harassment.
Whether the truth is uncovered in this video or not, let this serve as a lesson for everyone -
Harassment should be taken seriously! Harassment has serious implications on people's lives, whether they are the victim or the accused. This does not only affect the people involved, but also everyone surrounding them. Let's keep our conventions a safe place for people to enjoy.
Is this video enough to prove Ron's innocence? If so, then the immortal words of Marge Simmpson ring true:
"You know, the courts might not work anymore, but as long as everyone is videotaping everyone else, justice will be done."
UPDATE (11:48 PM 3/16/2016):
Lauren Faits has posted her response to the video here at her blog Geek Girl Chicago. We encourage our readers to give it a read and hear her out.