Mesa, Arizona’s Taiyou Con has commenced on Jan 7, 2022, with a new director Jai Son, and revised guidelines after the previous director Gackto was accused of sexual assault on social media last month.
The official website of Taiyou Con recently added a page about reporting misbehavior and announced their updates on Facebook and Instagram accounts reminding the face-covering requirement while indoors.
“Don’t forget that we have extensive policies for the event. If you see something that’s not supposed to happen, please report it. We are committed to ensuring a fun and safe event for everyone,” the Facebook post reads.
Taiyou Con page about reporting misbehavior also states that Mesa Police Department will be patrolling the convention all weekend, and staff members will be visible with orange or yellow shirts to take appropriate action if required.
Mesa Police Sgt. Chuck Trapani confirmed that the department “will have multiple off-duty police officers working the event.”
“Anyone can report disruptive incidents like harassment, stalking, property damage, protests, unapproved advertising, soliciting & more. Please look over the Harassment Policy, Dress Code Policy, etc. in the website menu under Information.”
Additionally, the convention’s contracted lodging, the Delta Hotel, is unaffiliated with Taiyou Con, but organizers said they’ll “work with the hotel to keep records of actions taken by hotel staff, hotel security, and will revoke convention badges from individuals removed from the convention hotel site by hotel security or local law enforcement.”
The page also provided phone numbers for numerous hotlines on misconduct reporting standards.
The staff of the convention posted a statement on Dec 21, 2022, stating that Gackto “will no longer be working with the convention anymore” and would not be on the premises during the event.
Following Gackto’s accusation, several social media users have posted comments requesting information about how the convention would “build back the community’s trust and good will,” as promised in Taiyou Con’s Dec. 20 statement.
Taiyou Con’s accounts do not appear to have publicly answered these questions.
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.
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.
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.
The convention staff appointed Jai Son as the new convention director for Taiyou Con 2022.
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.
For 10 years the event has brought together fans of anime, cosplay, video games and Japanese pop culture in a celebration that includes special guests, panelists, competitions, and shopping.