In case you missed the events of the weekend of April 18th and 19th here are the facts as best I’ve have been able to gather about what happened to the Honey Badger Brigade and their expulsion from the Calgary Expo. Unfortunately more has happened since, with a great deal of wild speculation on the part of bloggers and journalists around the internet. I’ll touch on those first, then I’ll give you what I’ve been able to gather about the police incident.
Rumors and speculation seem to be the name of the game across the internet regarding the expulsion of HBB. Perhaps it’s the fault of the Expo’s twitter account’s own speculation, then deleting posts during the day of the incident. I believe some of it does have to do with how vague the official statement is, which leaves people wondering, but some sites have jumped to printing those guesses without so much as an ‘I think’ or ‘in my opinion’. Some are saying that it was because HBB lied on their application, that the con didn’t know who the group actually was, or still hanging onto the harassment narrative which is completely disproved by the audio of the panel in which a rhetorical question was asked and Alison was invited to answer after she asked permission to address the question. In no logical sense does answering a question, after being invited to answer the question, constitute harassment.
In no uncertain terms, anyone stating an actual reason for the expulsion is either misinformed, guessing, or more unlikely, privy to information from the Expo that isn’t being shared with everyone that makes a press inquiry. After hearing these rumors, and about the police visit to a HBB meetup I reached out to my previous contact at the Expo again and asked if an updated statement had been released, and if the Expo had in fact called the police.
Thanks again for asking. Much appreciated! Calgary Expo’s statement from Friday remains the same. Unfortunately I have no information on the reports involving Calgary Police. The Calgary Police Service is the only source for information on CPS matters, so I encourage you to reach out to them for information.
Again, if you haven’t seen it, the official statement is in the previous article we published on Saturday, or the Expo’s Facebook page. It makes no mention of a specific infraction, just a vague reference to and unspecified convention policy.
A recent article that was published by Comics Alliance, and I read this morning, digs even deeper into this theories. This article is posted under the categories ‘Convention’ and ‘News’ so keep that in mind. To Comics Alliance and Janelle Asselin this is news (not to be confused with facts I guess). It makes a couple of references to the HBB saying to fans that they were in ‘stealth mode’ and even links to their joke about infiltrating the con as fake nerds, having spent their entire lives preparing to be fake nerds. The article also points to the panel that was allegedly disrupted by HBB, sharing a ‘rough partial transcript’ of the panel, but they didn’t share the audio recording, and neither the transcript or the recording upholds the statements in the Mary Sue article quoted. Anyway that’s a brief summary of the article, you can, and should read the whole thing at the link provided, don’t take my word for any of this.
So is there any truth to the claims that HBB misled the Expo? I’m going to set aside any out of context or subjective comments on social media and look just at the facts that we have. First is the claim that Honey Badger Brigade and Honey Badger Radio are not connected definitively enough to be the same. I’ve attended a lot of cons so I’ll first say that the practice of listing your main company, or publishing standard, above subsidiaries is quite common. The first one that comes to mind is Margaret Weis Productions that has a booth at GenCon every year. No one claims to be misled when they find out that Margaret Weis, the author, is also at the booth signing her books, even books not published under MWP.
The Comics Alliance article bounces around with a lot of claims, but the only thing I can find they are saying for certain is this.
The group knew that people would have a problem with their attendance, so they used the name “the Honey Badger Brigade” and claimed to be representing this webcomic.
In looking at both the Honey Badger Brigade website and Honey Badger Radio YouTube page it’s easy to see that they are both connected. I’m not sure what the out of context passage pictured in the article is referring to except for ‘GWW’ which I believe is in reference to girlswritewhat which is Karen Straughan’s screen name. Karen is also listed as one of the founders of the HBB. To the best we can tell, all of these things, GWW, HBR (Radio), and Xenospora, through Alison Tieman (another founder of HBB) all share one entity and online presence in common, Honey Badger Brigade. It takes quite a leap, in my opinion, to say that there was any ‘false pretense’ involved unless one doesn’t do the 5 minutes of googling that I just did. Of course we can only speculate, as Janelle did, that this is why the HBB were expelled, but if that were the case, that the Expo didn’t know that all of these entities were related, then it seems to be the fault of whoever approved their application that they didn’t do a couple minutes of research. Janelle’s accusation that the HBB lied on their application, however, is certainly uncalled for as far as I’m concerned.
Wrapping up the article, in what has become a popular trend, Janelle invokes the internet boogyman #GamerGate. She quotes an anonymous user from Reddit who says people should use the word misogyny in relation to this event. Regardless of anyone’s opinion I don’t believe the Expo targeted the HBB because they were women and I don’t think the women of the HBB would appreciate that idea being spread. The booth was manned by both women and men, and there was a woman and a man that attended the panel in question. HBB and HBR are staffed by women and men, and part of HBB’s focus is the support of both men’s and women’s issues equally. Anyone reading, please don’t make this issue what it’s not. It’s simply an exhibitor that was expelled from a convention because a few people did not like their opinion, and banned from further conventions hosted by the same company.
The events continued on Sunday when the HBB were holding a meetup at Reader Rock Park for fans and sponsors that had gone to the Calgary Expo but didn’t get a chance to meet HBB due to their expulsion. The park was chosen, according to HBB, because it was within walking distance of the Convention Center, in order to be convenient for attendees that wanted to meet them. It was, however, far enough away to not even be remotely considered Expo property or to somehow be able to ‘sneak back in’. According to sources at the park when the officer stopped to talk to them, the Expo called the Calgary Police Service because they were afraid the HBB would attempt to sneak back in. This is what was said by those there at the time. I could not get a statement from the Expo as you can see from the email quoted above, and the CPS would not confirm who called the police. In either case you can see on the video that the conversation between the officer and the people at the park seemed pleasant, though the sound quality is low so I am unable to hear most of what is going on. The HBB were left to continue their meetup and we haven’t seen any further incidents related to this.
All that said, the facts remain, that there really aren’t much in the way of facts from the Expo as to why this all happened. Anyone that claims to know why, doesn’t. If we get more information we will update you. Be mindful of what you read, even here. Make sure you see facts and confirmation, and do your own homework.