A boycott movement has targeted the Anime Matsuri convention due to accusations of sexual harassment against the organizer John Leigh and hosting Vic Mignogna as a guest.

The Boycott Anime Matsuri movement appears to have started last year in January 2018, that’s the time their Twitter account was created. According to the Houston Chronicle, the convention is being “boycotted over allegations that convention organizer John Leigh sexually harassed women in the anime and cosplay communities.”

The Houston Press details many of the allegations involve Facebook messenger conversations Leigh has with a number of women that involve sexual innuendos and adult conversations about sexual activity. There is also an allegation made by Stephanie Thai who states that Leigh attempted to lift up her clothing.

A woman by the name of N also accused Leigh asking her to perform sexual acts on him during a photo shoot that she claims was actually a video shoot. Leigh denied the allegation of attempting to lift up Thai’s clothing as well as have N perform in a video shoot.

Kevin Turner who was the audio engineer for the shoot described the encounter:

“It wasn’t supposed to be anything explicit. The video’s intention was definitely not that. It was supposed to be a skit. I don’t know that John had told her about it before hand. She seemed upset. I went up to her and tried to console her. I know she wasn’t happy and she was replaced.”

Leigh would issue a statement on Anime Matsuri’s website in February of last year:

“In 2015, I was accused of sexual harassment. Some messages surfaced in support of the allegations between me and people I considered close friends. These things I said, while meant to be taken as humor between friends, were wrong, they were crass, and they were in bad taste; I was wrong to send them.

Although my messages were intended to be humorous and not serious, I realize that my intentions do not outweigh the way my words hurt the people I sent them to. At the time, I didn’t realize that I was being hurtful or harassing, and I was shocked to learn that my messages had been so hurtful to their recipients, again, people I considered my close friends.

Since then, I have been taking steps to learn and understand where I went wrong and to make sure I would not repeat these mistakes. I know now that such comments don’t belong in any part of my life, especially as part of a professional working relationship.”

Leigh would then apologize for his past actions:

“I have listened to the stories of those who have been harassed, people who have been bullied or objectified, and people who have suffered in silence, afraid of speaking out. I understand now that my actions were unacceptable. I sincerely want to apologize to everyone that has been affected by my mistakes, because by recognizing, acknowledging and apologizing, and not repeating them is how I will continue to improve as a person.”

He would indicate the convention had decided to take legal action, but then decided to withdraw it after the unintended consequence of “stifling conversations about sexual harassment.”

“My past actions have led others to rally against both Anime Matsuri and me. They have also led to the bullying and harassment of several Anime Matsuri guests. Upon consulting with our attorney, we decided to undertake legal action in an attempt to protect our guests; however, the actions we took had the unintended consequences of stifling conversations about sexual harassment. These are important conversations about issues that deeply affect our community, and in an effort to take the step toward making our community one that is united, respectful and safe, we have decided to withdraw all pending legal action.”

Leigh would then call on those who witness harassment to speak out.

“To those who witness harassment, whether it is of a friend or a stranger, please speak out too. Recognizing and calling out harassment as it happens is an important way to help others recognize inappropriate behavior so that they can understand the impact of even unintended wrongs, correct them and in doing so help build a safer, more supportive community. A community that I am proud to be part of, and one that I know my family can be happy in.”

He then promised to create a positive change not only in himself, but in his community.

“As for me, I want to do whatever I can to bring about a positive change, not just in myself, but in the community as a whole. I want to be able to look at myself, believing that I am doing all I can to leave a positive imprint on the world. I want to serve as an example of how someone can stumble, correct their mistakes, and become a better person. More than anything, I want to be able to look at my children in the eye, and tell them that I know they can have a home within this community that we love so much.”

Despite Leigh’s statement the Boycott Anime Matsuri continued to call for guests to cancel their appearances at the convention stating, Leigh’s wife “terrorizes and openly mocks a girl her husband sexually harassed.”

They provided this Tweet as evidence of Deneice Leigh’s terrorizing of the girl, Leigh allegedly sexually harassed. Deneice Leigh is John Leigh’s wife and the CEO of Anime Matsuri.

Not only have the boycotters targeted Anime Matsuri for Deniece Leigh and John Leigh’s actions, but they specifically call for people to boycott because the convention plans to host Dragon Ball Super: Broly voice actor Vic Mignogna, who has also been accused of sexual misconduct. Mignogna has denied the allegations and sought legal counsel.

Most recently the boycott movement claimed the convention is paying for advertising on YouTube channels “who regularly encourage their fans to harass Vic Mignogna’s victims.”

YouTuber That Umbrella Guy also documents the boycott movement has celebrated other conventions cancelling Vic Mignogna’s appearances.

Anime Matsuri takes place at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston Texas between June 13 and June 16th.

What do you make of this boycott movement? Do you think they are doing the right thing or are they in the wrong?

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About The Author

John F. Trent

John is the Editor here at Bounding Into Comics. He is a massive Washington Capitals fan, lover of history, and likes to dabble in economics and philosophy.

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