Rhode Island Comic Con Makes Full Apology, But Questions Still Need To Be Answered


Posted to their Facebook page, the Rhode Island Comic Con has made a full statement regarding the weekend's "hiccup".

On behalf of everyone at the 2014 Rhode Island Comic Con, please accept our heartfelt, sincere apology for the numerous and unacceptable issues that arose during this past weekend's convention held at the RI Convention Center on November 1 and 2, 2014.

The simple fact is, the show simply became a victim of it's own success. This was the third year of the show, but this year didn't follow the traffic patterns and flow that were present during previous years. For the first time in the Rhode Island Convention Center's 22-year history, the crowd exceeded capacity according to Convention Center general manager, Lawrence J. Lepore.

Convention Organizer Steve Perry of Altered Reality Entertainment responded to the criticism. "Bad weather, a lack of accurate real time data and poor training of staff and volunteers made a bad situation worse. Frustrated ticket holders understandably took to social media and we failed in our responses. We were trying to focus with on fixing mistakes from within and did not react as professionally as we should have."

Rhode Island Convention Center's Lepore also commented, , "We know at one point as people come and go what we should have done — and didn't do — was put them in a turnstile on the way in. We did not know the number that was leaving. As we continued to bring people in, clearly we were over capacity."

Perry has met with the Attorney General's Office as well as Ticketron and the Convention Center. "It's unfortunate that what should have been a fun event left guests unsatisfied, disappointed and frustrated. On behalf of Rhode Island Comic Con, I'm sorry."

"We're proud to bring visitors and fans to the Ocean State for this event and please know that we take our responsibility to our guests extremely seriously, and are confident that the steps we've taken will prevent this type of issue from happening again."

If you purchased tickets to Saturday's show and were unable to attend, you may contact the convention center for a full refund.

Not everyone is convinced however, with responses including,

Jennifer Hubert McCabe This still does not answer many questions about being reimbursed after being unable to return, photo ops that were missed due to the issue, or VIP packages that went unfulfilled. Rhode Island Comic Con: please tell us you will be taking care of us as well. Your prices were not cheap and many people can barely afford what they bought, so to get NOTHING for it is unacceptable.

Rhode Island Comic Con Jennifer yes we are addressing all of these issues as quick as we can.Thank you for your patience.

Kaden Rebello I'm glad something is being done but my question is what about the people who had to leave early because they couldn't get back in?

Rhode Island Comic Con Kaden, we are trying to work quickly to rectify the situation for those who could not renter. Thank you for your patience.

Steve Southwick finally. an apology. deleting your status' to hide our frustrations and your lack of action to fix it was more infuriating than the lack of coordination at the convention. Until now no one seemed to care about the ticket holders.

Your excuse about not knowing the amount of people leaving the convention is not in any way accurate, We payed for an ALL DAY PASS. in example, if i payed for a seat at a concert, i dont expect someone to get my seat when i go to get food (which you ran out of, forcing us to leave) You knew how many ticket holders you had before you opened your doors, this was purely greed and lack of coordination/planning.

Unfortunately thousands of people suffered because of that greed. it is guaranteed you will not come close to the turn out you had this year for 2015 which is unfortunate because it was a great con, horribly mismanaged and beyond words disappointing. I will be getting my refund along with everyone else.

But some folk were able to look on the bright side of life.

Christie Cocklin I'm really grateful for the apologies that were given today. Although I was a VIP holder and missed a few opportunities and didn't get my lanyard due to a shortage, my friends and I still had a wonderful time. We didn't let Saturday's fail get to us, and I'm happy to state that no medical bills related to my health will be sent to Altered Reality after a visit with my doctor. I strained my vocals in an unrelated event, but my health has remained intact otherwise throughout the weekend. A missing lanyard is nothing compared to what ended up happening on Saturday.

For those of you who ended up getting sick on Saturday, if you're reading this comment, then I hope y'all are feeling better today. Same with the poor teenager who was having a panic attack behind me and the little boy whom I gave my pretzels to because he was hungry. I really hope that your desire to enjoy other conventions and future conventions hasn't been ruined by your bad experiences; I'll be carrying candy on hand with me from now on to help anybody who has a medical episode, as well as extra bottles of water.

I do hope that next year will be much-improved over this year, and that Altered Reality, Rhode Island Convention Center, and Dunkin' Donuts Center administration staff members work together more efficiently to ensure that more space will be provided to accommodate the growing pains. More people are hearing about this, more people want to come, and more people want to meet the celebrities that you're able to bring in. Additionally, the companies who sponsor and take the time to promote their businesses have got to do a better job of working with convention organisers about the coupons and offers that are given out. Some form of miscommunication transpired; local businesses weren't exactly prepared (but I hope they're happy with the big profit they made!), and some were oddly furious. Whether that's on Mr. Perry's end or not, I think this should be addressed from now on.

On the subject of staff and volunteers, the volunteers weren't completely professional with some of them being poorly-trained. Those volunteers who treated me and others poorly, I would love to have their names to match the faces that I've committed to memory for future reference so that I know not to address them with my questions anytime soon: a blonde female with fair skin and blue eyes standing at 5'4" about eighteen years old, a brunette male with fair skin and brown eyes standing at 5'8" about eighteen years old, both of a slim to slightly athletic build. If they end up volunteering next year, then I would like to see them especially – as well as the rest of the volunteers – more properly trained.

Being from West Warwick, where the Station nightclub fire happened eleven years ago, I felt safer when I saw the fire marshal and his subordinates walking around the convention center on Sunday and would like to see them do so at future events. I'm also pleased to have seen an increased security presence on both days and would like to see that continue as well.

I will be happily returning to Rhode Island Comic Con in the future, despite my medical issues on Saturday afternoon. Thank you for three years of convention entertainment, Mr. Perry!

Rhode Island Comic Con Thank you, Christie, for your words of encouragement. We still have a lot to learn as we very much saw this weekend. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Of course, compared with the previous weekend's Epic Con Geek Fest, from their Facebook page… oh that has either been deleted or I've been banned. Good-o!


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Rich JohnstonAbout 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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