Colossal asshat Ed Kramer is in the news again, which of course, causes folk to bring up his connection to Dragon*Con. This causes some folk to demand everyone should boycott Dragon*Con (in order to punish Kramer and magically force Dragon*Con to “get rid of” Ed Kramer).
Things are not that easy or simple, and I’m going to cover why a little bit here. But the key take-away is that this is not a situation where Dragon*Con has ignored, harbored, or otherwise protected within their power structure an accused child molester for 12 years. The truth is they’ve been trying unsuccessfully to cut the last ties to him for 12 years, and he has no actual power at or presence within the con itself.
Ed Kramer helped found Dragon*Con over 26 years ago. He is not on the Dragon*Con Staff or Board of Directors any longer. He has not even been to the con since the first accusation of his sexual misconduct in 2000, much less been involved in actually running it.
When the first charges came up back in 2000, Dragon*Con removed Ed Kramer from the Board of Directors and any con staff positions.
However, as a founder, Mr. Kramer owns stock in Dragon*Con Corp. That’s where the publicized money being paid to him is coming from. He is a stockholder in Dragon*Con. At current, the con cannot force him to sell his stock, although they have managed in the last few years to reduce his stock ownership percentage from 51% to 31%.
Mr. Kramer is a stockholder, not an employee, and therefore he cannot be fired or let go. This is not the Sandusky case where they hid what was going on and let the accused continue to work with children. Dragon*Con has been trying to get rid of the one tie the con still has to him since this first came to light and have not harbored him.
Ed Kramer, for all of the pending charges and gathered evidence, has yet to actually be convicted of anything. 12 years, and the man has not been in court, and that’s a mistake on the part of the legal system, not the con. Without a legal court conviction, regardless of media opinion, the con has no legal avenue to use the child molester charges as a way to get rid of him.
There have been people suggesting that Dragon*Con Corp “could dissolve the corporation, and then form a brand new corporation without Ed Kramer before lunch.” That is entirely untrue. For one, if they were to dissolve the corporation, the con would lose the Dragon*Con name, which it has spent 26 years building up as a recognizable brand. It could potentially take years to reform the corporation and reinstate a convention from that dissolution. Also, a dissolution would force the con to pay out even more money to Mr. Kramer. BUT. Let’s assume the Dragon*Con Board of Directors decided to take the risk, lose the name, maybe work for years before the con could get started again. They still can’t.
Under Georgia corporate law, Dragon*Con Corp cannot voluntarily choose to dissolve so long as there are outstanding legal cases pending against it. So they can’t force Kramer to sell his stock, and every time they try to take other actions, he files a lawsuit against Dragon*Con Corp so that they cannot dissolve the corporation. If they were to attempt to simply not hold the con in the hopes of forcing Kramer to sell, he could sue the con for negligent use of IP and get even more money, and still own 31% of the convention’s shares. The city of Atlanta and local businesses would be hurt by the lost income normally produced by the influx of 40~50,000 attendees spending money.
This man, who the court system has been allowing to avoid trial for 12 years is somehow deemed well enough by the legal system to annually sue Dragon*Con Corp for the money the con is forced to pay him. The situation is disgusting, and out of the con’s ability to change until the courts act.
Dragon*Con does not support Ed Kramer, he’s the gum on the shoe of the con that they’ve spent 12 years trying to scrape off. Yet, every time this bastard pops out from under his rock, people try to accuse the con of supporting and working with him when they’ve been doing their damnedest to keep him as far as legally possible from anything related to Dragon*Con.
Dragon*Con wants Ed Kramer gone as much as you do, and boycotting the con isn’t going to change their inability to force him out because it’s the legal system that has their hands tied, not a lack of desire to be rid of him.
You don’t have to attend the con. Plenty of us do that anyways, but at least get your story straight about how Ed Kramer is related to the convention. If you still plan to make the call to boycott the con not only for yourself and personal reservations, but to insist that everyone of good conscience must, I hope you’re also investigating the stockholders of every corporation you buy things from, and demanding folk boycott them too when it turns out some stockholder that may have no say in running the corporation turns out to be bad person too. Because from your decision, that’s the corporation’s fault even thought they have no control over their stockholders. Fair’s fair, after all.
Edit: I’ve been told by friends that this post has been making much larger rounds than I ever intended or expected a post thrown together late night with the intention of being a go to reference to give to friends as an explanation of my admittedly passionate view on the situation. I’ve made a couple of minor edits trying to clarify some of the rambling nature of it, and to fix some more glaring grammar mishaps. This is not the most eloquent execution of my point, but the point within remains. I remain a long time supporter and attendee of Dragon*Con while despising Mr. Kramer.
As I started the post in call against such extremes, the ending stopped on intentional hyperbole. The situation is far from simple, and to say that one is inherently immoral to continue supporting D*C under the circumstances is as absurd as the demand that one must research every company they buy from to be a person of good conscience. The expectation is ridiculous because the world is never simple black and white. I understand and respect the personal decision to not support the con in the light of the information of Kramer’s profit; I do not appreciate the assertion that it is the only possible conclusion for a good person to make. That sort of “holier-than-thou” attitude offends me.
Edit 2: Dragon*Con has released an official statement. [link]
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