Protecting Male Celebs From Teenage Girls At San Diego Comic Con

Comic book retailer of Night Flight Comics in Salt Lake City, Utah (check it out, great store) Mimi Cruz works at San Diego Comic Con. And she has a story to tell, while working the Eisner Awards this year. She wrote about an incident at this year's show…

I received an unexpected call from someone being chased by a pack of celeb-stalking girls. They ran after this person through a hotel and without subtlety. In a way, I'm shocked they were not stopped by anyone working in the hotel before it was necessary to phone me. I was there in the same hotel, but miles away, (figuratively speaking since I was in heels) and as I started to run towards the hotel lobby, I ask myself, 'why do I always end up running balls-to-the-wall when I am at ComicCon?'

Luckily, working the Eisner Award show for longer than my feeble memory cares to recall, managing retail comic book stores, artist events and answering phones for Robert Redford when I was 18 helped prepare me for totally unpredictable occurrences like this one. (I am not proud of this fact, it is a product of the work I already do, but it is also not a skill developed, some can do it innately, others can never put aside their own self-interest to focus on the task at hand.) I run as fast as my high heeled feet and short legs allow, staying calm on the phone while I try to get a clue which direction he might be once I get outside of the Indigo hall, I simultaneously signal to Lorrie to get her ass running along with me, (which in all fairness she was already with me when she saw me take off) leaving Kathy Jones in charge of the Green Room. I don't need to acknowledge I have a 'situation' to deal with, she instinctively knows by my immediate reaction. As I clear the Indigo Ballroom Hall, I also notice a group of young girls looking for someone. They walk with a posturing determination that says, 'we' will not take 'no' for an answer, (they literally stalked like a pack looking for their target) so when I finally emerge from the ballroom hall turning the corner, they were not focused on who was around them,  I was able to locate the person requesting assistance and get him between me and Lorrie before they noticed we were even there.

Why am I the boss of you? My hubs teases me that I am not always in charge and that eventually I will run into someone who will not do as I say. For now, that is mostly my hair-balls. (sigh) Lorrie at 5'7″ and myself at 5'5″, are not the black suit, sun glasses, radio-ear-bud wearing bodyguard-types one would expect to have a celeb's back.

(Well the black suit part actually applies.) We are better, because no one expects us. Plus an authoritative attitude can make all the difference in these situations. We are both good at that too. Once we arrived on the scene, I could control the situation (being a control sympathizer does have it's advantages) and things went smoothly because, well because of attitude really. We acted in charge, so we were. He was fine, we got him between us and he clearly felt 'safe' because as we were walking him to the Green Room, he turned to the girls following closely and assured them he would be back out the way he went in  . . . well maybe he would, but it would be hours later, more than likely, he would be leaving through the super secret unglamorous celeb exit/entrances with others of his own kind.

There are a couple things I wonder at, not the least being, where are these young girl's mothers? In a way the question answers itself, either (a) the mothers do not care what their unattended daughters are up to in a hotel full of thousands of wandering (do I really need to point it out? horny!) men willing to plow a willing grandmother cos-playing Cloris Leechmen's Frau Blücher in Young Frankenstein, well, as long as their friends don't know about it; or (b) the mothers are of similar disposition and encourage stalking behavior? Does it come from a society that has moved backwards from teaching children the minimalist of manners, that actions have consequences and you have to be responsible for your actions? The ridiculousness of these incidents is sheer idiocy, is this not supposedly civilized society we live in? Oh yeah, forgot, people do not take responsibility for themselves, their children or their actions anymore. (sigh) In full disclosure, I am not an expert in appropriate social manners. (I only play one on TV, haha) I am blunt when talking to people. That character trait is perceived as rude by many and more than one dude has gone away crying after we've spoken. I can disclose this, I have never stalked, chased, harangued or pestered anyone.  Mostly because I am busy, but when I had free time, I had better things to do, well that and I suppose the nuns raised me right.

The hotel in question is a bit, IMHO, over priced, regular room run $350 to $500 a night +$35 a night for parking, $20 a day for internet and of course tax. Like many of the impossibly large hotels I've been in, this one is not easy to navigate. Their parents might be staying in the hotel which might make it easier to learn the landscape of the hotel. Still, how wise is it, to allow underage children to roam an impossibly large hotel. Full disclosure, I am geographically challenged, I get lost looking for the ice machine on my floor late at night. Yet, I cannot imagine it is remotely prudent to let minors roam crowded (or not) hotels alone. Then I remember three 12-yr-old girls in a rather large hotel in Paramount City when I was at a DC Comics RRP* meeting years ago.  When a one goes missing, are these the parents who proclaim their innocent well behaved child was taken by force when their attention was called away for only a few seconds? I'm beginning to question it all.

Ulltimately, I wonder what these silly little girls think they are going to accomplish by chasing a full grown man?  What do they expect to happen when they "catch" the hunky handsome but clearly overwhelmed celeb? Or am I right to suspect they never ever think that far ahead?  If all they want are some "selfies" with him, why not just ask politely? Could it be, they don't know how to behave politely, much less ask?  I guess I don't have much of an imagination because it is really beyond me to know what those girls expected. You think they could have realized that his sprinting as he runs away would mean he was not interested in their attentions?  I do not think he was wrong to run either. I understand his wanting to get away from them, they are clearly putting him in danger. How easy would it be to say he stalked them? Accuse him of inappropriate behavior with them, or on them? R Kelly style or something? Really? Peeing on underage girls? Sad for those girls that did not have had fathers who loved them. Pretty privilaged underage girls in this sort of situation can be dangerous and now that I think about it, I wish I had stopped to ask them where their parents were so I could speak to them. Damn, I would have been an excellent nun.

When the call came in, I was a good 50′ or more behind the VIP check-in table. For some reason it occurred to me to look to see how long the phone call was to prompt this accounting, any guesses? Two minutes. While it did not seem to take me very long to find him, as soon as I spotted him and knew he spotted me, I immediately hung up on the call and moved to block anyone from getting to him even while he was a good 25yards away. In a panic situation, two minutes can be a very long time.

img_2228_jon_ross_rich_johnston_150710The photo with Jonathan Ross and Rich Johnston (Bleeding Cool News) give you a view if not perspective of the hallway outside the 2,000 seat capacity for the Eisner Awards. For the record, it was not Jonathan Ross who was being chased by little girls. He assures me that he is very famous in the UK and fabulously wealthy. I have never had to rescue him from anyone.

About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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