ruby_babyd011 (ruby_babyd011) wrote in egl,
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Anime Matsuri and John Leigh (TW: sexual harassment)

If you haven't been checking the Internet lately, there's been a lot of heat for John Leigh and his wife Deneice to have their titles as "Kawaii Ambassadors" revoked due to allegations of sexual harassment towards Lolitas.

The Leighs own Anime Matsuri (based in Houston, Texas), one of the largest anime conventions in North America (over 24,000 people attended the con this past April alone). It's well known for inviting high profile guests in the J-fashion community such as Misako Aoki, Midori Fukusawa, Minori, Angelic Pretty, Baby the Stars Shine Bright and Atelier Boz and hosting a J-fashion show and Lolita tea party every year.

Earlier this year, the Japan Lolita Association crowned the Leighs as Kawaii Ambassadors, which also granted them the ability to appoint other ambassadors in the United States. Rather than use their titles to promote strong bonds though, they've manipulated, bribed and harassed Lolitas to serve themselves and their convention (bribes have included modeling in their fashion show and given jobs with the convention itself).

Their international guests of honor have also been denied translators and guides to assist them in navigating their way around the con and the Houston area. Models who've participated in the fashion show also say that the selection process is rigged, that they aren't provided food (and if they were, it would often range from Pizza Hut pizza to bland cookies) and that there is little to no communication with them and the designers on how they should walk. They're also not allowed to interact with the guests in any way during fashion show rehearsals or the tea party.

John Leigh has also been accused of sexually harassing Lolitas with sexual questions and insults, even though he merely considers them as a part of his sense of humor. Screencaps of his Facebook conversations showing this behavior are available.

A petition to strip the Leighs of their titles was created three days ago and as I type this, has 2989 signatures. It is available in English, Japanese, Spanish and Chinese.

More information

Petition (links to the Spanish, Japanese and Chinese language versions are provided)

Buttcape's account (chronicles John's harassment and how he's tried to control the Houston Lolita community)

This Facebook post (on the page LACE - Lolitas Against Cyberbullying and Exploitation) condemns John's behavior and the fashion show's lack of professionalism and organization.

Ambassador Arthael Walkingshadow announces her resignation from JLA amidst the controversy.

Chokelate (owner of Lockshop Wigs, who provided wigs for this year's fashion show) shares her story on her blog.

Girlyhoot reveals her experience modeling for this year's fashion show on her tumblr page.

Another model shares her story.

John Leigh himself tries to clarify all the accusations against him, only to shift the blame on his accusers.

The JLA's announcing their investigation of Anime Matsuri.

Minori tweets that she will no longer work with Anime Matsuri. It's been translated to English.

The Lolita Collective announces that they won't be returning.

You can also share your experiences on LACE's tumblr page anonymously (with screenshots if available).
Tags: discussion: social issues, events: conventions
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