Anime conventions or cosplay events are venues for people to dress up and have fun while celebrating Japanese-influenced animation and artwork. These opportunities allow people to build grand cosplay outfits, some taking weeks to complete. But in recent controversy regarding Anime Matsuri, cosplayers appear a little hesitant about attending conventions.
In a YouTube video uploaded on 28th July 2022, Twitch superstar Kaitlyn “Amouranth” Siragusa addressed the sexual abuse controversy surrounding Anime Matsuri and its organizers John and Deneice Leigh's alleged vile history of exploiting cosplayers, staff, and minors. Accordingly, the Twitch superstar expressed how unsafe she felt about Anime Matsuri.
Amouranth Doesn’t “Feel Safe” About Anime Matsuri
Anime Matsuri is the largest annual anime event in Houston, Texas, which has been running since 2007. However, Anime Matsuri has received heavy backlash over the years for alleged sexual abuse and harassment, not paying staff or landlords, and making predatorial advances toward minors.
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In a YouTube video, Amouranth shared her thoughts in response to a video by YouTuber, LioConvoy (both videos are embedded below), who detailed the alleged incidents chronologically.
Responding to the video, Amouranth, visibly disgusted by the allegations, said, “Who’s goes out of their way to make excuses for preying upon young women minors by saying ‘oh I’m just a man in a women’s world.' Okay, so he’s admitting it basically because if he wasn’t doing that, he would deny it.”
“So instead, he’s saying, ‘yes, I did that, but here’s why it’s not my fault.’ It’s extremely; I don’t even have words for it. It’s f*cked up,” Amouranth added. She continued watching the video and noted, “I think a lot of people are afraid of speaking out, and these people [who did speak out] are incredibly brave for [doing] so.”
Amouranth continued to discuss the opportunity anime conventions bring people; this included how these events are ways for people to “immerse” themselves into the culture and experience it without traveling across the world.
Some people can’t go to Japan, so these conventions allow them to explore anime, manga, cosplay, and Japanese traditions without fussing. The Twitch star continued, “It’s just really messed up that someone would use [anime conventions] to their advantage and prey upon children.”
Cosplaying and anime conventions are something Amouranth has been heavily involved with throughout her life. Following some of the statements she made, she talked a little more about why anime events were important to her and how she no longer felt safe attending conventions.
“We all got together at conventions; we all were able to finally have one weekend where we could chill out and be ourselves and not feel like we have to put up a fake image to impress other people who might not like the same things we do,” Amouranth added.
She then continued her thoughts, saying, “We could be super comfortable in a setting that felt safe. Knowing these things, though, it doesn’t make me feel safe to go back to [Anime Matsuri]. I don’t feel like it would make anyone feel safe to go back, especially women.”
Amouranth concluded the video by teasing an entirely new anime convention coming to Houston, Texas, funded and fueled by the deserving community. She said, “It’s not an Amouranth convention,” but an event for everyone who loves anime and the culture. Amouranth teased the event to debut in 2023.
Here’s an expansive and highly detailed Twitter thread about every lawsuit, incident, and claim regarding Anime Matsuri and its organizers, John and Deneice Leigh.
Remember the time Anime Matsuri tried to hold a con in Hawaii and they flew out an international cosplay guest just for there to be a problem with her visa with nobody there from AM to help her and then she ended up in jail? pic.twitter.com/ooVvxsrThp— Kaylyn Saucedo - MarzGurl ➡️ Fighting the Yakuza (@MarzGurl) July 20, 2022
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Featured image courtesy of YouTube / Amouranth.