Winners of Ohayocon Skit Disqualified….4 Days After?
Browsing through the Ohayocon forums I noticed a thread titled “Performance Announcement, A skit has been disqualified.”
I had to do a double take as this seemed like an odd thread to pop up days after Ohayocon ended. I thought this surely must be a joke or something. The post by the staff read as such:
It has come to our attention that skit number 6 in the masquerade did not show up for their rehearsal appointment. That is the Gurren Lagann skit that won best performance in the journeymen division. According to Ohayocon rules all participants must attend the rehearsal or be disqualified. The judges were not notified that this entrant did not show up for rehearsal and were not aware of the fact that they were competing under a disqualified status. Also it has been brought to our attention that the skit that was featured during the masquerade had been modified from it’s original format that had been pre-judged. The fact that the performers were using microphones instead of pre-recorded material made this possible. We apologize to any attendees who found found certain aspects of this skit rude or offensive, what was performed was not the same skit that was pre-judged and approved for performance under our guidelines. So with that said we are officially disqualifying the skit and revoking their award status. Since there were no other entrants in the journeymen division the award shall remain vacant as there was no other competition.
We apologize again for this incident and hope that it does not ruin your opinion of the Ohayocon masquerade.
Below we have quoted several of the rules for clarification.
The Ohayocon Cosplay Staff
“Performance Rehearsal is at 4:30P on Saturday and is mandatory. Doors will be locked and no further participants allowed in at 4:35P. Participants failing to arrive will be DISQUALIFIED.”
“Participants will be expected to perform exactly how they intend to at the Masquerade.”
“This is an all-ages convention, so your actions and speech must reflect that. The rating of the material in the performance should not go much over PG/ TV PG- bordering on PG13. Actions, dress, or mannerisms that would not be allowed on a public street must be avoided. Specifically, the following must be avoided: explicit sexual gestures, nudity, and explicit swearing (i.e. Seven Forbidden Words of TV). Think about your material as such- if you cannot perform it for a first grade class or your grandmother’s friends- you probably need to tone it down. The Ohayocon Masquerade is an all ages event and there will be very young congers in attendance. Violating these rules will disqualify you and possibly result in being escorted off the premises.”
“Feel free to surprise the audience, but not the Cosplay Staff. If you are planning something “unique,” you must petition the Cosplay Coordinator IN ADVANCE to get it approved. ”
– posted by strangeknowledge on 2/2/2011, 4:24 PM
The performers in the skit were Zaid and Paige and in response to that they did confirm that they were fine with being disqualified but did offer some explanation about the situation.
So the main points being brought up against them are:
1) They were in violation of the rules and disqualified because they were not there for rehearsal.
Paige addressed this concern by saying
We did not attend rehearsal, that’s true at least. We had last minute costume malfunctions that needed to be dealt with and I informed cosplay staff of this in a timely manner. We were told that they understood, and to get there as soon as possible, which we did.
So it seems like there was some miscommunication on the Ohayocon staff side of things which I can totally believe seeing how some things were run this year. I won’t comment too much on staff but suffice it to say that there has been other complains about staff involved in the masquerade this year.
2) Their skit had been modified from its original format that had been pre-judged.
According to Zaid,
But we actually did not modify our skit from what we auditioned to Zach and Jim, we only did it with mics and without a recording because it was meant to be a PSA and would’ve translated better live. We performed the same exact skit as was displayed in the pre-screening.
Paige also corroborates this story:
However, implying that we dealt with this in an elusive or underhanded matter is an absolute lie. We, like all the other skits, went through the pre-screening. We, like all the other skits, performed our skit for the staff EXACTLY as we performed it on stage. Nothing was changed, ask your staff.
3) The skit was in some way offensive.
The skit was meant to be over the top and a satire. If people don’t understand satire then maybe shows like “The Daily Show” shouldn’t be on the air.
This skit was in no way meant to be taken in a serious manner. It was meant to be taken as a scare-tactics abstinence talk parody (ala Mean Girls) hence the wild inaccuracies and over the top nature of the whole thing.
I personally think this is a really dumb move on Ohayocon’s part. Taking away someone’s award days after the fact is already bad enough, but when you falsely accuse someone of something that’s considered libel. I understand that you need to follow rules and everything, but when it appears that this whole issue transpired because of a communication issue on Ohayocon’s end with people being told different things, that just seems wrong.
It seems like more and more issues are popping up with how Ohayocon was run this year. There’s already talk from people on the Ohayocon forums about some issues being so bad that they won’t return in the future. For your sake Ohayocon, wise up and listen to the feedback.
Update 2/3/2011 2:30 PM
It seems sometime this morning the original post that started the thread was modified. The big long post explaining why they were disqualified has been taken down and replaced with
While we will continue to work and make improvements in our department continuing in this vein is not productive for anyone.
One of the posters in the thread said that she had previous experience as a Masquerade coordinator and has disqualified people in the past for not showing up to rehearsals or improper content. Her point was that there were so many chances the staff could have disqualified them before they even made it on stage. It was only because the staff made exceptions each of those steps that they made it up there, performed, and received a prize.
If it was a matter of them being in violation of the rules, then they shouldn’t have been allowed to perform in the first place. It seems like Ohayocon staff is simply try to appease people who complained about the content and now they’re trying to pin the blame on the participants of the skit when in reality a large part of the blame should fall on the staff/coordinator.
Making this a public issue was probably also a bad choice for a convention that is already hearing a lot of complaints this year. This matter should have been handled privately and not announced on the forums like it was. Everyone who saw the skit already saw it – what exactly does disqualifying them do? It has no bearing on next year’s winners and a large portion of the attendees don’t even read the forums to know about the disqualification.