09/30/2019

OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON SONOCON

A few days ago, you may recall that I announced my intention to withdraw from appearing as a guest at Sonocon in Montgomery, AL. I then deleted these messages and stated that I will remain on the guest list pending investigation into staff misconduct. After pondering the situation for a while, I have reached a conclusion about what to do. I am going to appear this year because I made a commitment to my fans, friends in the area, and the con itself and as a wolf I do not break my commitments. However, this will be my last year appearing at Sonocon.

I attended Gump City Con in 2018, which was Sonocon’s predecessor. I generally had a good experience and met some neat people, as well as ran my usual panel. However, after leaving the con, I began to hear rumors and whispers of mistreatment of staff, volunteers, and vendors. There were no big public complaints, just talks between smaller circles about things not going the way they should have. None of this was relevant to my experience as a special guest, so I dismissed it. However, on September 27th 2019, I became aware of a comment made by Ryan Spigener (Keeps for Geeks Employee, a company run by the con’s chairman) made to a Joshua Benton, a convention volunteer: “JR is not a bad person he did you a favor by not feeding your fat ass. He helped you lose about 10 pounds that day. Yo ass is one Ralphie May away from Having a heart attack or going into a diabetic coma”. People responded to that post by posting other experiences they had with the convention, its staff, and its affiliates. This includes things such as: the con chairman asking staff to donate to pay for a guest’s plane ticket, the con stating that Spigener would be banned and then stating otherwise in a private group chat, the con chairman threatening to ban the victim of this harassment from the con, and various allegations of verbal abuse directed at volunteers and staff.

Growing up, I have always been different. I appear at conventions because I am a transgender wolf therian that gained notoriety from being featured in a terrible mockumentary and an internet meme. My entire reason for appearing at cons is to promote tolerance and good will towards those who are marginalized. My panel focuses on explaining therianthropy, transgender identity, and living with disabilities, as well as anti-bullying and tolerance in general. It is absolutely contradictory to my goals and platform to appear at a convention where the staff are engaging in behaviors that I speak out against.

With that said, I would like to thank those staff members at Sonocon who are not like this and who do their best to make the con fun and inclusive for all. Sorry guys, but after this year, I’m out.

Keep on howling!

~ Naia S. Ōkami

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09/30/2019
OFFICIAL STATEMENT ON SONOCON

A few days ago, you may recall that I announced my intention to withdraw from appearing as a guest at Sonocon in Montgomery, AL. I then deleted these messages and stated that I will remain on the guest list pending investigation into staff misconduct. After pondering the situation for a while, I have reached a conclusion about what to do. I am going to appear this year because I made a commitment to my fans, friends in the area, and the con itself and as a wolf I do not break my commitments. However, this will be my last year appearing at Sonocon.

I attended Gump City Con in 2018, which was Sonocon's predecessor. I generally had a good experience and met some neat people, as well as ran my usual panel. However, after leaving the con, I began to hear rumors and whispers of mistreatment of staff, volunteers, and vendors. There were no big public complaints, just talks between smaller circles about things not going the way they should have. None of this was relevant to my experience as a special guest, so I dismissed it. However, on September 27th 2019, I became aware of a comment made by Ryan Spigener (Keeps for Geeks Employee, a company run by the con's chairman) made to a Joshua Benton, a convention volunteer: "JR is not a bad person he did you a favor by not feeding your fat ass. He helped you lose about 10 pounds that day. Yo ass is one Ralphie May away from Having a heart attack or going into a diabetic coma". People responded to that post by posting other experiences they had with the convention, its staff, and its affiliates. This includes things such as: the con chairman asking staff to donate to pay for a guest's plane ticket, the con stating that Spigener would be banned and then stating otherwise in a private group chat, the con chairman threatening to ban the victim of this harassment from the con, and various allegations of verbal abuse directed at volunteers and staff.

Growing up, I have always been different. I appear at conventions because I am a transgender wolf therian that gained notoriety from being featured in a terrible mockumentary and an internet meme. My entire reason for appearing at cons is to promote tolerance and good will towards those who are marginalized. My panel focuses on explaining therianthropy, transgender identity, and living with disabilities, as well as anti-bullying and tolerance in general. It is absolutely contradictory to my goals and platform to appear at a convention where the staff are engaging in behaviors that I speak out against.

With that said, I would like to thank those staff members at Sonocon who are not like this and who do their best to make the con fun and inclusive for all. Sorry guys, but after this year, I'm out.

Keep on howling!

~ Naia S. Ōkami
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Official Statement on Sonocon
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Naia Ōkami

Naia is most known for the internet meme "On all levels except physical, I am a wolf." She's been in the therianthropy community since she was twelve years old and she was featured on both LogoTV and MTV. Naia is also a public speaker on therianthropy & otherkin, disability advocacy, and transgender identity. 🐺

Bark @ me