There is a controversry swirling around Anime Expo and the SPJA,
involving the financials, etc. I think this is an important issue for
anime fandom, since AX is the largest convention and probably the best
known name on the con circuit. I don't remember seeing it mentioned
here, and I thought it was important enough to at least bring it to
-MZ, CISSP #3762, RHCE #806199299900541
<URL:mailto:mega...@megazone.org> Gweep, Discordian, Author, Engineer, me..
"A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men" 508-755-4098
<URL:http://www.megazone.org/> <URL:http://www.eyrie-productions.com/> Eris
I ain't gonna say one word more (other than "I love politics" *g*) or takes
sides; I did a very brief search of the relevant web sites and in one week
there seems to be more than enough animosity to start an international
"MegaZone" <use...@megazone.org> wrote in message
Here is the response the SPJA had regarding the allegations made by
Mike Tatsugawa days ago. Notice that the response made no attempts to
refute Mr. Tatsugawa's claims:
Dear SPJA members, staff, partners, and anime fans:
In the last week, the SPJA organization and its Board of Directors
have been attacked with malicious and outrageous false statements of
fact that grossly defame our organization and the volunteers who
sustain it by ex-member, Mike Tatsugawa. These statements, which are
outright lies, were calculated to both damage the organization, and to
subject the individual directors to contempt, hatred, scorn and
Many of you have questioned why SPJA has not responded to Mr.
Tatsugawa's false and defamatory statements. We consider this an
extremely serious matter and did not want to address it by engaging in
the same unprofessional and actionable conduct Mr. Tatsugawa undertook
to publicize his meritless grievances. Further, as you all know, facts
tend to be distorted as they are communicated from person to person.
We wanted our response and our position to be clear: there is no truth
behind Mr. Tatsugawa's accusations of wrongdoing by the Board. To that
end, we have retained the law firm of Levin Intellectual Property
Group to defend against Mr. Tatsugawa's accusations and to investigate
his conduct and to undertake any and all action permissible under the
law to protect SPJA and its members.
We are confident that in a court of law, the evidence will prove
contrary Mr. Tatsugawa's allegations of misconduct. We understand that
under the law, Mr. Tatsugawa's conduct could constitute, at a minimum,
slander, libel per se, invasion of privacy, unfair and deceptive trade
practices, unfair competition and misappropriation of confidential
information, breach of contract, wrongful interference with business
relations, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. SPJA will
not hesitate to defend itself, including filing suit against Mr.
Tatsugawa, if necessary. In fact, we would welcome the opportunity to
present the facts to a judge and jury.
The Board of Directors
Society for Promotion of Japanese Animation
Interesting so they are prepared to go into a possibly long and expensive
lawsuit to defend themselves but they are not prepared to itemise and refute
the claims made in the previous statement, nor it seems are they prepared to
admit any errors of judgement. Lets hope this doesn't end up in the courts,
the only winners from that would be the lawyers, with both sides undoubtedly
ending up looking very dirty in the process.
It's sad but people seem to forget that at the end of the day it's not the
number of people that turn up (guests or members) nor is it how much money
the convention makes (as long as it makes at least some money, losses don't
encourage longevity of anything). What really matters what impact it has on
the volunteers and the members who give up their time, money and resources
to attend to help out or share their interests.
If they do not feel that it is an experience that is worth their while
and/or enjoyable then no matter how important the organisers feel they are
there will be no-one prepared to run the convention at the coal face and
no-one prepared to attend it.
The convention would lose out and fandom would lose out worse, the whole
thing has the smell of a repeat of the AnimeCon/Anime America debacle of 10
years ago where personalities and egos appeared to overtake the common good.
>"Thik" <rgm...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
>> Here is the response the SPJA had regarding the allegations made by
>> Mike Tatsugawa days ago. Notice that the response made no attempts to
>> refute Mr. Tatsugawa's claims:
>> Dear SPJA members, staff, partners, and anime fans:
>> We wanted our response and our position to be clear: there is no truth
>> behind Mr. Tatsugawa's accusations of wrongdoing by the Board. To that
>> end, we have retained the law firm of Levin Intellectual Property
>> Group to defend against Mr. Tatsugawa's accusations and to investigate
>> his conduct and to undertake any and all action permissible under the
>> law to protect SPJA and its members.
>> We are confident that in a court of law, the evidence will prove
>> contrary Mr. Tatsugawa's allegations of misconduct. We understand that
>> under the law, Mr. Tatsugawa's conduct could constitute, at a minimum,
>> slander, libel per se, invasion of privacy, unfair and deceptive trade
>> practices, unfair competition and misappropriation of confidential
>> information, breach of contract, wrongful interference with business
>> relations, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. SPJA will
>> not hesitate to defend itself, including filing suit against Mr.
>> Tatsugawa, if necessary. In fact, we would welcome the opportunity to
>> present the facts to a judge and jury.
>> The Board of Directors
>> Society for Promotion of Japanese Animation
>Interesting so they are prepared to go into a possibly long and expensive
>lawsuit to defend themselves but they are not prepared to itemise and refute
>the claims made in the previous statement, nor it seems are they prepared to
>admit any errors of judgement. Lets hope this doesn't end up in the courts,
>the only winners from that would be the lawyers, with both sides undoubtedly
>ending up looking very dirty in the process.
They can't itemize or admit *_anything_*, now that they've taken it to a
lawyer. To say anything more than they've said in their release might
prejudice the case if it goes to court. Expect to hear a lot of "no
comments" from the directors for the foreseeable future.
Besides, judging from their final paragraph, it seems to me as if they
might want to go to court, maybe. I hope they realize how expensive
Rob Kelk <http://robkelk.ottawa-anime.org/> robkelk -at- jksrv -dot- com
"I'm *not* a kid! Nyyyeaaah!" - Skuld (in "Oh My Goddess!" OAV #3)
"When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of
childishness and the desire to be very grown-up." - C.S. Lewis, 1947
If it were a total lie they wouldn't need the laywers in the first
place. Unfair competition? Smoke on...
As to the expenses of going to court, I doubt it will matter. If it's a
matter of a sufficiently bruised ego, $10 in fees for every $1 recouped
doesn't enter the thought process.
They chose, poorly, as an Indiana Jones fan may say. Dragging Mike
Tatsugawa into a lengthy, costly, and highly frustrating legal battle is
going to be bad press. If they cannot reveal thier books and thus deny what
Mike Tatsugawa said out of court, and instead opt to take him to court, then
they are acting suspciously. While thier books and other evidence that Mike
or SPJA drags into court instantly become accessable to the public, assuming
they're admissable in court, is a moot point. The personal cost to an
average individua is such that unless that person had incredible personal
wealth, which Mike may, or may not posses, would bankrupt most individuals
and leave them in a really rotten position. Who will the fans support? The
SPJA, who has used thier financial resources to hire a law firm to crush an
insignificant ex-con associate, or Mike, the valiant whistle blower, being
supressed by the SPJA?
Granted, politics aren't that clear cut. But, given the SPJA's action, they
seem like they're in a very quesitonable situation.
Boy, if I got a response like that from someone it would certainly
give me a knot in my stomach. You've got to admire Mike. He obviously
knew they were going to try this and yet he was willing to risk
personal financial ruin to try to fix a wrong. This just shows what
kind of dedication he has to the original purpose of AX, the promotion
of the enjoyment of anime, which drove him to cofound it in the first
place. Not everyone is willing to risk so much for an ideal. I know I
would think seriously before getting into a situation like this.
It would seem that if the SPJA BoD thought they could refute what Mike
had said by bringing out the facts they could have spent sometime
considering their future actions and response. Instead they instantly
retain a bulldog lawyer to scare Mike into silence. This, I think,
will backfire on them since the courts will now have to check all
their books and if there is any discrepency, even an unintentional
one, they can be libel for it. Whereas before both parties could have
worked out their differences without legal peril.
Really people, if you want to know the truth about Anime Expo you need to
fire up IRC and check out channel #anime! on efnet. Get the good gossip and
dirt on this "controversy" ;-). Mike is not all that innocent just ask his
former employer at Paramont and why they changed the locks !!!!!
Which... really has nothing to do with AX. And, in fact, the innocence
of Mike isn't the issue at all.
Point 1: he's posted his view of the problems with AX.
Point 2: based on the quality of the con for the last two years, there
ARE problems with AX.
Point 3: he specifically stated he doesn't have all the facts.
Point 4: OTHER people have posted problems with AX.
Point 5: AX and the SPJA have (as yet) failed to respond in any good
manner to these problems that have been pointed out.
Now... trying to smear Mike doesn't work. YOu can't say "well, because
he's a dick, no problems exist" because the problems DO exist.
And, if that's the tactic that people are taking, then it only supports