Before I go off on my tirade, I want to say first off that Fan Expo Toronto has always been a fantastic show. The staff and volunteers have always been wonderful and I am nothing but grateful for the appearances I’ve had there. It was over a decade ago when I released a comic and attended Fan Expo for the first time and while I’ve only been a guest a handful of times since, every time has been a wonderful experience. When I switched into prose writing, they allowed me to attend as an author and I met a lot of other great authors as well as my favorite people, readers. So I hope I’ve made it clear that I do not have any issue with the management team or the amazing volunteers who put together the show every year.
I also want to point out that my application for Fan Expo hasn’t been approved yet. They may not even be accept me this year, which would make this a moot point anyway. But I won’t be attending as a fan either, for the same reason I am not going to attend as a guest.
The reason I won’t be attending Fan Expo this year is because of one of their guests, Mike Tyson. Mike Tyson might be a great guy, it has been years since he’s been in any trouble, but the fact is he is a CONVICTED rapist. He raped Desiree Washington, an 18 year old woman, back in 1991. This is a FACT. This isn’t me being sensitive or disagreeing with someone’s political views, this is a man who served time in prison for his crimes.
My wife is currently pregnant with our third child. A part of me has been thinking about what we’re going to do if its a girl, because we’ve already got two awesome boys and all our toys and cloths are for boys. Now let’s say I DO have a daughter, would I want her to volunteer at Fan Expo? Would I take her to the show with me as a guest? Would I want my daughter anywhere near this guy, regardless of how much he seems to have changed?
The answer is Hell No. I don’t even want my boys there, just in case they ask me “Who is that person?” Do I say he’s a famous boxer and leave it at that? I mean at what point do you forgive and forget?
If Mike Tyson was appearing at an event for adults, I’d have no problem working the same show as him. But Fan Expo is a family event and I can’t in good conscious bring my family to a show with a person convicted of rape.
I am not so arrogant as to assume anyone cares about my point of view. I know that Mike Tyson can draw a bigger audience than I can, bringing in 5-10 thousand people is a lot better for business than the five people that come to see me. I won’t be protesting or starting a social media campaign to have him taken off the guest list because that too is self-serving and not how I operate. This is just something I have decided is best for me and my family this year.
Mike Tyson loses his temper whenever people mention his rape conviction, which tells me he still hasn’t accepted his crime and is still trying to maintain his innocence and in my opinion that makes him still dangerous.
I wouldn’t do a show with Bill Cosby and I won’t do a show with Mike Tyson, no matter how big the event is and how unlikely it is to even see the man. I do not support men who abuse women, crimes like rape and murder are not something you “pay your dues” with. These are crimes that are never forgotten, never forgiven, never made right.
So I won’t be there. But hey, I live down the street, so if you really want to see me during the show, swing by for a beer.
There just comes a point when complaining about people isn’t enough. This time I’m standing behind what I believe in. No potential career opportunity is worth compromising my principles for.
Best of luck to everyone at the show this year, have a great time!