While I did not announce it widely, in part due to it being kind of a last-minute thing, I did help staff the Extra Life booth at Anime Matsuri 2019 over the weekend.
Those familiar with me know I have a track record of helping out with charitable events, including a volunteer history going back a full decade now. I have been a part of the Extra Life Guild since, well, before the guilds were even formalized and Houston had an Extra Life committee (the only city that had one that I know of, as the effort started here).
It is also no big secret that John Leigh, the event manager of Anime Matsuri at least as of 2015, was accused of sexual harassment by several women that year. This has had the obvious effect on the festival’s reputation in the years since. I cannot compare to previous years, but I did notice the attendance, size, and hours don’t correspond to my idea of a healthy event, even though according to the website “Anime Matsuri is also the fastest growing convention in North America reaching over 36,000 unique attendees in 11 years” (emphasis theirs).
In this case, obviously, my desire to help the Extra Life Guild won out. However, my attendance should not be interpreted as an approval or endorsement of any Anime Matsuri staff actions in the past or present. I staunchly condemn sexual harassment and I feel it is unfortunate that the actions of an event manager have cast such a shadow over what could continue to be a great anime festival.