A vocal activist has called for the removal of an Anime Lockdown organizer from the convention’s staff due to his past support of ideologies that differed from theirs, subsequently going on to call for gatekeeping of general anime fandom from those they deem to be “assholes.”

In light of the various event cancellations and social distancing restrictions that have resulted from the ongoing COVID-19 Coronavirus, the aptly named Anime Lockdown online convention was organized. Held this past weekend, May 1st to the 3rd, the convention aimed to provide a sense of community and fun to quarantined anime fans.

On May 1st, a Twitter user by the handle @Gabbomatic announced on her Twitter account that she was “Sad to learn #AnimeLockdown has a self-admitted GamerGater on staff,” having dug into the background of convention staff member “Timeenforceranubis,” or @TEAnubis for short:

Under the auspices of equality and keeping conventions a safe environment, Gabbomatic called for Anime Lockdown to rectify the situation by “kicking this guy off of the platform & making public rejection of prejudice part of the mission statement.”

Gatekeeping In Action

In response to Gabbomatic’s callout, Editor of the Anime and Manga Studies resource site Mikhail Koulikov requested “a list of who is allowed to be in the anime fan community”:

Koulikov’s question was answered by Anime News Network Executive Editor Zach Bertschy, who declared that “white nationalists probably should be first on the list of “not invited to the party.”

While many anime fans perceived Bertschy’s statement as a sweeping generalization of fans who disagree with Bertschy’s politics and opinions, the statement appears to have been specifically in reference to an alleged situation involving Koulikov and the exclusion of “PoC and LGBTQ” from the fandom.

This situation was further discussed between Koulikov, Anime News Network Assistant Editor Lynzee, and Bertschy in a lengthy Twitter thread:

Calls For More Gatekeeping

Despite Berstchy’s statement being directed specifically towards Koulikov, other prominent figures in the US anime and manga industry built upon his initial declaration to discuss who should-and-should-not be allowed within the anime fandom.

They declared support for “gatekeeping” the fandom from individuals they deemed undesirable. Aside from anyone holding the general intolerant views of “fatphobes, transphobes, homophobes, racists, sexists, pedophiles, and intolerant mfers of all stripes.

Veteran manga translator Zack Davisson and Yuri proponent Erica Freidman also declared that “anyone attaching themselves to any sort of “-gate”,  “anyone being a “Devil’s Advocate”, and “assholes” should also be excluded.

TEAnubis Responds

Responding directly to Gabbomatic’s accusations, TEAnubis adamantly stated that he was “not that guy from 5-6 years ago anymore,” renouncing his past support for GamerGate but also questioning why Gabbomatic thought it appropriate to air these issues in public before attempting to resolve them in private:

Gabbomatic Doubles Down

However, this statement, as well as further explanations from TEAnubis, were ultimately unsatisfactory to Gabbomatic, who refused to accept any explanation unless it blatantly appealed to their very specific standards of ideological purity.