The official Facebook page for Mesa, Arizona’s Taiyou Con announced on Dec 18, 2021, that the convention director known by his cosplay name, Gackto, has voluntarily resigned from his position after he was accused of sexual assault on social media.
25 year old Arizona resident, Allie Heady, detailed in a public Facebook post on Dec. 15, 2021, that she had been sexually assaulted by someone known within the anime and cosplay communities as Gackto in December 2017.
“It’s taken me a long time to come forward and speak about this. But I continue to see him, and his posts and his ‘achievements’. And I don’t want to,” she wrote. “And whether or not anyone believes me, I can finally get this off my chest.”
At the end of her post, Heady added a call to action: “He also created an anime convention called Taiyou Con. Please boycott it. Please understand what nightmares he has put me and others thru. Please share my story and uplift those who are maybe too afraid to come forward, because it’s happened. And I will not, I do not want to stay quiet anymore.”
A Facebook account named “Gackto Kristian K Takaida” made a public post on Dec 16,2021, following Heady’s post, agreeing to date “this woman”. However, he refuted the assault claims.
“An accusation that I inappropriately touched a woman has been posted. This is (a) serious matter, so I want to address it immediately. I will clarify and explain that I’m NOT the person involved in this inappropriate incident at the concert in 2017,” he wrote.
Within a week after Heady’s accusation, numerous vendors announced their withdrawal from the 10-year-old Mesa convention. Some people have stated that they will no longer attend. Others have expressed that they are excited to see changes and new leadership.
The staff of the convention posted a statement on Dec 21, 2021, on Facebook apologizing to attendees. They stated that Gackto “will no longer be working with the convention anymore” and would not be on the premises during the event.
The convention staff appointed Jai Son as the new convention director for Taiyou Con 2022.
Additionally, they stated they are investigating the matter and are working to transition to new leadership and ownership.
This incident gave rise to a private Facebook group and Twitter, @BancottTaiyou, dedicated to planning how to effectively boycott the convention and expose misconduct at all cosplay and anime conventions. More than 70 people have joined the group.
Bancott Taiyou is organized by a 23-year-old Kaila Rain, who helped draft an open letter to Jai Son and Taiyou Con staff with suggestions on “how we can move forward and begin to heal this community.”
Boycotters of the event demanded refunds for those who no longer wish to attend the event amongst other measures.
Taiyou Con 2022 is scheduled to take place at the Mesa Convention Center from Jan 7-9, 2022, after rescheduling it from 2021 the event.