Truth is a vital element in reporting and too often it is blatantly ignored in order to provide sensationalism.
Truth can also vary with circumstances. Perspective, personal experiences and memory can all affect what is perceived as truth by different people.
A perfect example of how time and memory can affect the truth and can be seen totally different by two people is the controversy caused by Lauren Faits of Geek Girl Chicago.
I covered the controversy back on February 10th. In the article I tried to be as fair as I could to both sides, but to me, there were obvious holes in Lauren’s story. As for Ron, he stated that he did indeed re-enter the room, but that he remembered the circumstances differently than she did.
At first Ron remained relatively quiet in the hopes that things would quiet down. He trusted that those who know him would stand by him and that his work would speak for itself. Unfortunately that did not happen, many ‘friends’ faded from his circle and jobs started to dry up.
All based upon the written word of a blogger from an incident 13 years ago, a blogger who admitted to several errors in her posts only when they were pointed out to her. A blogger who admitted that it was a one time event, yet continued to call Ron a ‘criminal harasser.’ In fact, Lauren blatantly defames him by saying that it was ‘sexual assault’ when she, herself, admits there was no contact at all. She repeatedly makes comments about being underage, yet never once does she state that Ron was her peer group. She has also repeatedly edited the original post and deleted comments made on the post.
“I’m not here to ruin anybody’s career or to make decisions for others. I just want to make sure that the female cosplayers in my community know who they are dealing with when they decide what a great deal this free photography appears to be. This was breaking and entering. This was sexual assault. The women involved were under 18. In my opinion, nobody would protect or befriend ANY harasser’s actions if they didn’t offer free exposure. Ask yourself: Is a free photo worth the damage done to do to cosplayers?”
From my perspective, everything she has done in regards to this post has been done to make herself look better and to destroy Ron.
Now there is a third perspective in this story that puts holes in both participants’ stories, but definitely leaves Ron Ladao in the clear and leaves Lauren Faits looking like a wolf cryer.
This third perspective does not have an opinion and even though its memory can be destroyed, it does not fade with time. (Okay yes, video can be altered,but that is a different issue.)
It is a video camera, and it can not lie.
See the video for yourself:
Yes this version is edited somewhat to provide perspective, but as you can see, NOTHING happened as Lauren stated.
If you just want to see the actual supposed incident watch the video below which will take you directly to the section:
In response, Lauren has once again taken to social media with her response “Regarding the Video”.
In the last article I used red and blue text to differentiate between both people’s comments. I received complaints from Lauren because she got red and she perceived it as a psychological tool against her, so this time she gets Blue
Yes, I’ve seen Ron Ladao’s video of the event that happened at Kazecon. I’ve been asked to respond, mostly by people using name-calling and threats. While I certainly don’t owe a statement to any of the people who are foaming at the mouth to damage a stranger, I will speak as a gesture of thanks for those who have believed me and stood up for me this whole time.
Yes, there are people approaching this too rabidly. I haven’t seen anyone use name calling or threats, but then again I probably haven’t seen everything and she admits to removing several posts on her Facebook page that she found offensive. I have seen people calling her a liar on other posts, but whether that is name calling or truth I can’t really say and to be honest, they can’t either unless they are specifically referring to the part where she stated that it was sexual assault.
To be a liar you need to consciously make the decision to not tell the truth as you know it. This was 13 years ago and memory blows things up, so it is entirely possible that this is the truth to her.
First and foremost, I’m not posting the video here. It would be triggering to some, and also NSFW due to language. You can find it yourself, gentle reader.
NSFW due to language definitely, but triggering? Not being of a victim mentality I don’t see it. I have shown the video to a few rape and assault victims who don’t see it either, but then again, many develop a form of PTSD from their incident and sometimes it is the little things that can be a trigger. There may be a trigger in there for someone.
My reaction is this: No, clearly I did not remember all the details. It was 13 years ago, and I’ve tried to be honest and clear any time something new came to light. For example, I know now that my Squall cosplaying friend was there in the room, as opposed to another woman. The sound of the door slamming, catching, and reopening wasn’t the chain lock I thought it was, but the weights on the door combined with that gentleman going to investigate.
That said, I never “lied” or purposefully exaggerated. The deeper, psychological narrative doesn’t change much for me. From my perspective, my friend Mr. Ladao (at the time) offered me a safe space. He then intruded on that safe space (with some of his own clothing removed), broke my trust, and caused fear and trauma with intent. He still had a camera running while young women were changing. I DID scream, “No.” My fear and anger were obvious- something Mr. Ladao still doesn’t seem to register.
This goes along with my earlier statement that she possibly wasn’t consciously misleading people and providing false information. She did however lie when she stated that the incident was sexual assault.
Yes, he was half-clothed when he reentered the room, however, he was also half-clothed when he left the room and she knew he did not have his shirt on.
I did not hear a scream at any time during the incident. Before Ron left the room Lauren is seen to sternly say, “Go away…seriously,” and after the door is opened the only female voice I heard said, “You broke your door,” which was said with something that sounds to me like a tinge of humor. There is no screaming on the recorded copy of the incident.
Mr. Ladao didn’t remember the details, either. For one, he himself initially claimed he didn’t have a camera. I suppose he is “lucky” that I was correct about THAT detail, after all. To his friends and allies, this camera “saved him.” You know what, though? Not remember details is OK! Nobody is ever going to remember an event crystal clearly, even if it happened yesterday. If this is the lens we use to examine others with, it’s broken and we should change it.
He remembered the incident and he has always admitted that he may not have had all of the details down. Lauren only admitted to remembering wrong details after discrepancies were brought to her attention. A perfect example is that both parties remembered the wrong people being present. As for the camera, I’ve never seen him state that he did not have one.
Personally, I still wouldn’t work with or recommend Mr. Ladao to others. I still wouldn’t trust safe space or even respect to be upheld by him. The amount of people that have separately come forward, both publicly and privately, to share their own stories is evidence enough for me.
My story isn’t isolated, but I still find this video really scary. I’m shaking and nauseated now, not because I “lied” or “got busted,” but because I still see a moment that deeply damaged my ability to enjoy conventions, cosplay, and the opposite sex for my entire life since. Those feelings are valid, period.
Not working with Ron is her prerogative, as it is the right of anyone to refuse to work with or associate with anyone they feel threatened by. If she feels that that moment damaged her so deeply then why did she continue to frequent conventions and apparently have fun at them?
Lauren may not remember me, but I clearly remember encountering her at several conventions where she even took photos of my family in cosplay, and I am sure that I still have her business cards around to prove it.
Here is proof that we have seen and interacted with her, and that was just a very quick look at one day, one year. I think I have seen my husband’s costumes featured every year on her site:
Also if you read any of her blog posts about conventions she has attended she will tell you how much she enjoyed herself.
Even as recently as her 2015 blog on C2E2 she stated that she enjoyed it.
As for the others who Lauren claims to have come forward to share their stories, I invite anyone to please come forward and share their stories. I have not seen these stories, nor has anyone I have spoken with been able to relay these stories to me. If I receive multiple reports of separate incidents, or even better proof, of inappropriate actions taken by Ron then I may be forced to change my personal opinion on this incident, until then I will stand by my claim of innocent until proven guilty.
And this video proves that most of Lauren’s claims were false.
I never took legal action, but Ron did. I never sent my story to other news outlets, but Ron did. I never asked conventions or his employer to take action against him, but his friends are trying to do that to me. Most importantly, I would never proudly wave video around of an event that I know hurt and scarred another human. He clearly still does not grasp how violating the safe space of undressing young women affected anyone but himself.
Yes, Ron did take legal action, he hired a lawyer to write a cease and desist letter. In an attempt to protect his reputation and career. In many people’s opinion that was not enough legal action.
As for her not taking legal action, there was a legal response to the C&D letter. She may not have employed the lawyer to respond, but someone did and the lawyer is probably one retained by ChicagoNow as her blog falls under them.
Ron NEVER sent his story to other news outlets. I picked it up myself and it was carried elsewhere from there, much as her story was picked up briefly by a few other blog sites. I am actually very flattered that she considers us a news outlet. Thank you.
I truly, truly hope this hasn’t damaged other people’s willingness to come forward with stories of harassment. I wouldn’t wish these graphic, intense threats on anyone. Nobody WANTS this type of “fame.” We have to keep talking about this stuff, though. There’s no magic line drawn in the sand. All types of harassment and/or assault are problematic- physical, mental, emotional. We don’t have to fight over which are the most severe or worth paying attention to. If someone you know was made to suffer by someone else’s advances- even “jokes” or “pranks,”- support them. Otherwise, they’ll let the experience rot on the inside like I did for a long while.
Unfortunately it is claims like this that cause the problems for many others that want to step forward. When too many cry wolf, no one is willing to believe that there is a wolf until the sheep are eaten.
Yes, we do need to keep talking about harassment and assault, but before the terms are randomly thrown around, they need to be understood.
Harassment is “aggressive pressure or intimidation,” by that definition the original issue was harassment. The legal definition is a little more detailed, “conduct which may require a person to be given legal protection in terms of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. For these purposes harassment is not defined but it includes causing the person alarm or distress. For the courts to act under this legislation the harassment was caused by a course of conduct. This is defined in the Act as conduct on more than one occasion. It need not be the same conduct on each occasion. There are defenses such as that the conduct was reasonable in the circumstances. It is not open to plead as a defense that it was not intended by the alleged offender that alarm be caused. It is enough if his or her conduct would cause harassment, if a reasonable person, in possession of the same information, would think that the course of conduct would have that effect.”
“Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.” – source U.S. Dept of Justice
The definitions for assault vary from state-to-state, but the common law definitions is an attempt to injure someone else, and in some cases that can include threats or threatening behavior against others.
Thanks for reading. Obviously, as I said in my initial post, everyone is free and encouraged to make their own decisions. I honestly wish everyone the best, thank them for having a dialogue about harassment, and hope C2E2 is an amazing time for all. Good night.
Everyone is free and encouraged to make their decisions. She made the decision to bring what she felt threatened by out to the public. That is admirable, however she how chose to do it, is not. Her wording was poorly chosen, as was her forum.
In the interest of fairness, I am posting the text that accompanies Ron’s videos…
Just to let you guys know. This might be NSFW due to language.
On the Geek Girl Chicago blog that’s on Chicago Now. Lauren Faits mention on her blog, “The photographer rushed in with a camera, attempting to get nude photos and/or video of underage cosplayers”. Now you viewers can see the video that she did mention on her blog post.
In the video, I can disprove her claims that was mention on her blog post. She said that “We were followed”, and “The photographer rushed in with a camera, attempting to get nude photos and/or video”. “Amidst girls’ screaming of “No!” and “What is wrong with you?” and “Go away!”, There was only two girls, the other gal didn’t say anything. Just Lauren Faits saying Go Away, while flicking me off.
The video only shows one female saying anything similar to her claims and there was no screaming that I could hear.
Here’s the original post that was edited three times. That was posted on web archives .org.
Here’s the recent link of the blog where it all came from. Don’t know if there’s any more editing on her blog since the video is being surface on the start of March 6th, 2016.
Just in case she did made any edits, I’ll also have a screen shot of the current edit that’s up as of March 6th, 2016
Here’s what I said on facebook
On February 6th, 2016, there was a ChicagoNow blog post created by Geek Girl Chicago, written by Lauren Faits. The blog entry was about a stunt that happened between herself, our friends, and me, our group of on October 11th, 2003 When the blog was posted, I know what story she was talking about off the bat. I admitted to her story, I told my side of the story on my personal facebook. She described her story if I was some kind of a “cosplay criminal harasser”. Lauren’s post did not describe who I am today.
Because of that blog post, I lost contacts with C2E2 / ReedPOP, University of Chicago: Japanese Animation Society / Uchi-Con. Got some threats of being banned from cons that I haven’t been to. The friends that I have who are also her friends, unfriended me without questioning me. And gave me a bad name on search engines. No one was willing to hear my side of the story, they just went to believing Lauren.
She meant no harm, but no matter how unintentional harm was caused.
After a few days of that blog entry, I was searching what are my options to handle this situation. Until someone on my friends list reminded me that I have footage of this stunt. On Lauren’s post, she did mention that I had a camera of some sort when it happen. I did some digging around my house in search of my worn down video camcorder, and the video cassette of that stunt. I did found it, and bought a firewire PCI card to video capture onto my computer.
Can he show us the receipt to prove that he did indeed make the purchase to download video from such an old camera and that he didn’t already have the video elsewhere?
I present to you guys, what really happen on Geek Girls Chicago blog story about me. I included video annotations on the video so you guys can follow along on what she said on her blog post. If there is any questions, comments or concern. This is a public forum now since it’s on my fan page. I will answer them..
Unfortunately the video annotations do show that the film was edited to a degree, if only to add them. One could argue that the film itself was edited, however I have not seen Lauren bring this fact to life, which leads me to believe that she agrees with the footage.
If you guys want to make a comment. You can make a comment on my fan page.