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Top staff suspended at Anime Detour

Anime conventions, despite being a haven for geeks, nerds, and the often-oppressed, are also sadly no stranger to drama.

Some Anime Detour staff have posted a link to a petition to remove the board of directors of “Anime Twin Cities Inc.,” which is the nonprofit corporation behind Anime Detour. A search on the IRS website shows that Anime Twin Cities is currently registered with the IRS and actively filing the appropriate tax forms. (Another local convention’s parent organization, the Entertainment and Culture Promotion Society, appears to have had their nonprofit status revoked as of September 15, 2014, according to a research search on the same IRS website.)

A comment by Troy MacDonald, the chairman of Anime Detour 2024, stated in a reply on the petition post: “8000 attendees. What were you looking for in a convention? Who do you want to represent YOU on the board of directors? They have your membership fee, make it count.”

Other than these Facebook posts, details available at the moment are sparse. However comments on the official Anime Detour Facebook page complained of slow registration lines and convention staff failing to respond to attendees making other attendees feel uncomfortable.

There have been a lot of weird things with conventions in the past few years, with various issues at Youmacon, the former chair of Anime Milwaukee sued for embezzlement by a former employer, a boycott of Ohayocon over a conflict between the board of directors and the volunteer staff, and a convention in Chicago’s sudden cancellation.

With additional rumors that Anime Next, a convention which has been ongoing for over 20 years, not happening again, and other conventions cancelling across the country, it’s a weird time to be an anime fan and congoer.

My advice to anyone reading who cares about anime, anime conventions, cosplaying, and having these safe spaces to be yourself and enjoy the world of anime in a judgement-free and open way is to get involved, learn how things work, and participate.

This is more than just volunteering. Don’t volunteer for an organization that you don’t understand how it works. If you’re volunteering for a non-profit, make sure they align with your values (for example, if you’re LGBTQ+ you might not be aware that volunteer for an organization like the Salvation Army is supporting an organization that denies gay and trans rights).

Some anime conventions are for-profit events, like the wildly succesful Fan Expo conventions, or my smaller local events run by AnimeCon.org. These may be a “small business” – like my events, where you are supporting a small team of staff that work full time on producing events. The larger ones, like Wizard World, can be so large that they are owned by stockholders and traded on the stock exchanges.

Other anime conventions are organized by a nonprofit parent corporation, and that corporation often has directors that are elected from the staff. Some of these corporations have arranged things in a way that the board of directors elects themselves – giving volunteers no power or control.

My advice is to understand which type of organization you are supporting, and get involved in the real “behind-the-scenes” because that is where the most important work truly happens, and you can help keep your favorite anime conventions going for a long time.

See also: Top 5 Animes That Will Always Be Binge Worthy

See also: Best Female Lead Anime on Netflix

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