Friday, June 22, 2018
News Roundup

Amid the Tampa Bay Comic Con fantasy, some feel harassed

TAMPA — The gawkers had gathered near the entrance of Comic Con to snap some photos of Wonder Woman. Or, rather, the woman dressed as Wonder Woman.

The woman flipped a strand of hair, cocked her hips and smiled. A circle of camera phones flashed.

Comic Con is a nationwide convention that invites everyone to dress as beloved superheroes and science fiction stars. The event invaded the Tampa Convention Center this weekend with thousands passing through the doors, dressed in costumes you'd likely never see outside of Halloween.

For many, the convention was a wonderful gathering of geekdom, a chance to role-play and pay homage to classic characters. Around one corner, Batman and Robin munched on pretzels. Around another, Spider-Man shot a string of web from his wrist.

For others though, Comic Con-related events, including the one in Tampa, have started to develop a reputation for groping, upskirting and sexual harassment.

Tired of what they saw as blatant objectification, three women from Philadelphia formed Geeks for CONsent to raise awareness about the issues surrounding fantasy and appropriate behavior. A costume doesn't mean consent, they say. "It doesn't give someone any reason to overstep a woman's boundaries," said Rochelle Keyhan, the group's director.

In San Diego, the mecca of Comic Con, numerous reports surfaced of men harassing women. One woman said a man tried to follow her home after stalking her during the event. Another said a man grabbed at her butt while they were posing for a picture.

One post on the group's website from someone who called herself Hannah from Tampa said that at MetroCon earlier this summer, she dressed as Lady Loki. She wrote that a group of guys joked about her costume's horns and made obscene hand gestures.

Some conventions have a code of conduct to prevent such behavior. Tampa Bay's Comic Con does not, said Kailee Baylor, the event's spokesperson.

"The only policies we really have are based on costumes or weaponry," she said.

There were no sexual harassment incidents reported over the weekend, according to the Tampa Police Department.

But some eventgoers cited examples of inappropriate behavior.

After waiting in line several hours Friday to attend the event, Nash Thompson and her fiance, Anthony Spear, of Anna Maria, grabbed beers at a nearby tiki hut. "At least six guys tried to take pictures of just her butt," Spear, 25, said.

Once inside, they walked through the main expo on the second floor. As she passed one booth, Thompson, 22, said a man reached out and slapped a sticker on her breast that read: "I have been touched by the Almighty One … And it was good."

"We've been doing these conventions long enough," Spear said.

He paused.

"So, you know, you just kind of get used to it."

Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report. Contact Zack Peterson at [email protected] Follow @zackpeterson918.

Comments
Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

New details emerged Friday night about the Uber ride in Arizona in March 2016 that led to Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston's three-game suspension to start the upcoming season, including the fact that Winston was in a car that night with a former Vand...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

TAMPA — Police want to know who shot 14-year-old De’Nico Thomas after a night of playing video games.Thomas was at a friend’s home Wednesday night and walking home when Tampa police said he was shot, resulting in life-threatening injuries.As he faces...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Carlton: That snake-like thing living under your refrigerator? It’s a skink. Welcome to Florida

Carlton: That snake-like thing living under your refrigerator? It’s a skink. Welcome to Florida

At first I thought it was a snake.Because wouldn’t it be typically Florida to come home and find a snake poking its nose out from under your stove? Which wouldn’t be a problem or anything. I would just have to move out is all.But no, the creature tha...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Man, 78, proposes to newfound love at ‘senior’ prom in Riverview

Man, 78, proposes to newfound love at ‘senior’ prom in Riverview

RIVERVIEWJaime Rodriguez, 78, popped the question Friday morning but skipped the "getting down on one knee" part."If I get on my knee, you’d have to help me," he told the emcee a moment before asking Luz Rivera to marry him.Rivera, 69, smiled and sai...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

The biggest hospitals in Houston had a problem.To earn a prized institutional certification, they needed more nurses with bachelor of science degrees in nursing.But local colleges were more focused on turning out nurses with two-year degrees who, to ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning re-signs backup goalie Louis Domingue to 2-year deal

Lightning re-signs backup goalie Louis Domingue to 2-year deal

The Lightning has re-signed one of its restricted free agents in backup goalie Louis Domingue, who will be back with Tampa Bay on a two-year deal worth $2.3 million.Domingue, 26, was acquired from Arizona in November after he had posted a 4.33 goals-...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

TAMPA — The days ahead were supposed to be bright.For weeks, the future of health care tech company CareSync had been thrown into question as founder and CEO and founder Travis Bond unexpectedly departed, kicking off multiple rounds of layoffs. But t...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Six candidates waltz into their seats as qualifying ends. The rest still have a fight

Six candidates waltz into their seats as qualifying ends. The rest still have a fight

Six local candidates across Tampa Bay — all county commissioners and city council members — effectively won their elections Friday by default: No one qualified to run against them.The rest still have a fight.Some will square off in an Aug. 28 primary...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Romano: You better hope I’m wrong about flood insurance

Romano: You better hope I’m wrong about flood insurance

Chances are, I’ll go down as the Boy Who Cried Flood.You might have noticed, I’ve been shouting about the imminent calamity of flood waters for quite a few years now. If I wasn’t trying to frighten you into buying flood insurance, I was worrying you ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Delta bans pit bulls as service dogs, sparks backlash

Delta bans pit bulls as service dogs, sparks backlash

ATLANTA — Delta Air Lines says it’s no longer allowing passengers to fly with "pit bull type" dogs as service or support animals, a policy that’s being met with criticism by groups that train service dogs and the people who use them.The Atlanta-based...
Updated: 4 hours ago