Ray Park & Daniel Logan Both Quit the 501st Legion Costume Club

Only hours ago late yesterday (Oct. 5, 2018), #StarWars actor Ray Park (who played #DarthMaul) announced on his #Instagram account that he has quit being a member of the #501stLegion. (The “501st Legion” is the largest & oldest “Star Wars” #CostumeClub and Ray Park has been an active member for many years, as has actor Daniel Logan.)

On his Instagram, Mr. Park wrote the following:

“iamraypark #announcement I AM NO LONGER A 501st legion member. Reason: Disappointed!! However, A certain or a certain member spoiled it for me in Edmontont, 501 legion. I AM A STAR WARS FAN. I AM A FAN BUT NOT A FAN OF THIS! #sithlife #raypark #cancelled

Ray Park's Announcement Quitting the "501st Legion"

This same message is also posted on Mr. Park’s Twitter account:

Ray Park's Announcement to Quit the 501st Legion on Twitter

In response, the “501st Legion” on its #Facebook page issued the following apology:

“Ray Park, please accept our most sincere apology, from the almost 14,000 members of the 501st Legion. You deserve the utmost respect and courtesy, always. We hope that you and Daniel Logan can help us make this right. Thank you.”

"501st Legion" Apology to Ray Park

After learning about this, “Star Wars” actor Daniel Logan (who played the young Boba Fett and is also a member of the “501st Legion”) announced his solidarity with Ray Park Instagram and that he, too, was quitting the “501st Legion”:

Daniel Logan's Announcement Quitting the "501st Legion" on Instagram in Response to Ray Park

While not all of the facts have been publicly presented (but there’s a lot of hearsay), a recent article on Yahoo that was published only in September, 2018 may shed light as to the nature of what may have caused Ray Park to decide to quit:

“Ray Park, the British actor who first played Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, has defended his appearance in Solo: A Star Wars Story after receiving “a few fatty comments” about his return to the role.

Maul made a surprise cameo in Solo where it was revealed that he had survived his “death” in The Phantom Menace, and was behind the shadowy Crimson Dawn crime syndicate that looms over the spin-off film.

On Instagram Park says that, although he doesn’t care about the comments and he doesn’t need to justify his appearance in the film, he “worked his butt off” to play Maul once again. He’s also shared photos of himself looking absolutely ripped to silence the haters.

Unfortunately, Mr. Park removed that Instagram post to which the article referred, but we are definitely appalled that anyone would “fat-shame” Ray Park.

One individual wrote the following on Instagram. While we cannot verify it’s accuracy, it’s description is aligns with some our and others own experiences:

Unverified Statement

Since we first created our Facebook page and, later, this WordPress blog, we’ve posted numerous times about toxicity and bullying that occurs “behind closed doors” within costume clubs, and that includes the “501st Legion”. This situation with Ray Park and Daniel Logan is the most public display of just how toxic some superfans within these clubs can be. Poor & weak costume leadership is clearly a factor, which is something else that we have discussed in the past:

As we posted on our Facebook page on January 22, 2016 (also linked above):

“Being part of a costume club can be an enormously rewarding experience, but it can also turn into one of your worst nightmares in the blink of an eye. As long as things go smoothly and morale is high, you can be an active member for potentially years. But if things go awry with conflict & drama, regardless of how much time and effort you have invested into being an active member of the club, you have to know when it’s time to quit. This can be an extremely difficult reality to accept, especially for anyone who has been a member for years and invested considerable time and effort into the club. The key to remember is this: if the conflict & drama is causing a significant amount of stress for yourself, what impact is it also having on your family? We have witnessed several marriages end due in large part to unremitting costume club drama that one spouse is unwilling to step away from. Is a costume club filled with drama more important than your family? Probably not. Try to keep that in mind that sometimes the only realistic solution for yourself and the well being of your family is to walk away from the club. Not being a club member isn’t going to inhibit you from continuing to be an active costumer or cosplayer; but it will very likely restore it into being a fun an rewarding experience again.”

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Sexy “Handmaid’s Tale” Costume Pulled After Sparking Outrage

Outrage over a sexy #HandmaidsTale #costume produced by Yandy.com has forced the company to pull the costume from further sales. In the tale, #handmaids are used as sex slaves to repopulate society in the Hulu series and book. Critics claimed that the costume made light of the characters’ plight.

In “The Handmaid’s Tale” TV series and Margaret Atwood book, the outfit worn by the handmaids is a very conservative looking red dress and cloak with a white hat.

handmaids-tale

Yandy, which branded the costume as “‘Yandy Brave Red Maiden Costume”, altered the outfit to be far more revealing:

Yandy’s “Brave Red Maiden Costume”

After images of the costume went viral on Thursday (Sept. 20, 2018), many people expressed their concerns that the costume was both inappropriate and degrading. In response, Yandy decided to remove the item from sale and issued the following statement on their Twitter account:

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While Yandy’s costume did not violate any laws (as we have discussed in an earlier post regarding the rules of cosplay), by being deemed inappropriate, it falls into a class of inappropriate & unacceptable costumes & cosplays that we have also previously posted about.

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Hat Worn by Harrison Ford as “Indiana Jones” Sells for Over $521,000

Quite possibly one of the most famous hats in cinematic history, the fedora hat that was worn by Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in #RaidersOfTheLostArk sold for a record breaking £393,600 (or $521,362) during a Prop Store auction in London on September 20, 2018.

The hat was originally designed by costume designer Deborah Nadoolman and was made by the Herbert Johnson Hat Company. It was then treated with dust and bleach to give it a slightly battered, weathered and well-travelled appearance. (Many #cosplayers & #costumers know all about weathering!)

It’s unique markings meant that it could be screen-matched with many of the film’s most famous moments.

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RIP Steve Ditko, Co-Creator of Spider-Man & Creator of Doctor Strange

We want to take a moment to say #RIP Steve Ditko. The comic-book writer & illustrator co-created #SpiderMan with Stan Lee in 1961. He has died at age 90. Steve Ditko created Spider-Man’s look — the costume, the web-shooters, the red and blue design, which has inspired so many #cosplayers & #costumers to wear that #costume ever since.

Spider-Man first appeared in Amazing Fantasy No. 15. and was an unexpected hit. This lead to the spin-off The Amazing Spider-Man. Ditko also helped create such Spider-Man characters as Doctor Octopus, Sandman, the Lizard and Green Goblin.

In 1963, Ditko created Doctor Strange, who debuted in Strange Tales No. 110. Ditko continued on that series until issue No. 146 in 1966.

After a dispute with Stan Lee in 1967, Ditko left Marvel Comics and worked for DC Comics and several others before returning to Marvel in 1979. where he worked on Machine Man and the Micronauts. Among his last creations was Squirrel Girl in 1992.

During his period away from Marvel, Ditko created Mr. A in 1967. He also created The Question, Hawk and Dove and the Creeper for DC Comics.

May he rest in peace.

Steve Ditko

Steve Ditko (1927-2018)

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Whatever Happened to RainFurrest?

There used to be a fairly large #furry convention in Seattle called #RainFurrest. RainFurrest conventions occurred annually beginning in 2007 and ran through 2015 for a total of 9 conventions. Attendance for the inaugural 2007 convention was 370. This grew steadily until it reached its highest attendance of 2,704 attendees in 2015. Unfortunately, 2015 was the last RainFurrest convention to occur. What happened?

RainFurrest 2015 was a 4-day event that began on Sept. 24, 2015 and ran through Sept. 28, 2015. From what we have been able to uncover, a myriad of problems that occurred at this final convention is what brought about the end of RainFurrest. While not all of the information that lead to RainFurrest’s demise has ever been published, enough information exists to get a good idea as to what probably occurred. What it essentially boils down to is multiple types of inappropriate behavior & activities that some of the convention attendees had engaged in while at the convention’s venue: the Hilton Hotel located near the Seattle-Tacoma airport (known as Seatac).

The full extent of what had occurred at RainFurrest 2015 came out in small chunks, the first of which appears to be a letter to attendees from the RainFurrest board that was posted on Reddit. While the letter begins by mentioning many of the good things that occurred at the convention, it includes a list of problems identified by the RainFurrest board that occurred at the hotel:

  • For the last few years, the Hilton sustained more damage during RainFurrest than it did from every other event at the Hilton the entire rest of the year. This doesn’t even include damage to guest rooms or other incidental wear and tear like the elevators.

  • This year’s incidents include two plumber calls, a flooded bathroom that soaked the offices underneath, towels stuffed into a hot tub pump, and multiple petty vandalisms and thefts. A final damage report is still being compiled.

  • We had to send three people to the hospital and call the police twice.

  • By Sunday morning of con this year, the hotel was so exasperated that they were threatening to evict attendees for single noise complaints.

But this wasn’t all. Hilton’s headquarters sent a letter to RainFurrest that included a long list of complaints:

* Two attendee drug overdoses that required medical response and hospitalization for both attendees;
*Over 2000 spend nitrous oxide cartridges which are used as an illegal inhalant were found discarded in a guest corridor after the group checked out;
*A drug arrest in the adjacent parking lot of a person that police believe had ties to the RainFurrest group;
*A RainFurrest volunteer staff member was reported to have sexually assaulted a female attendee (the responding Sheriff charged the man);
*A guest room smoke detector was tampered with and discarded in a guest corridor;
*An elevator inner door cable was broken by an attendee trying to force the door open;
*A RainFurrest security staff member was seen using marijuana;
*Hilton received a phone call and follow up e-mail from an attendee complaining about rampant drug use and alcohol consumption that was allowed by RainFurrest staff.

While we’re not sure when Hilton’s headquarters sent their letter, it was probably sometime in October, 2015 as suggested by a Feb. 5, 2016 post on the RainFurrest website explaining that RainFurrest organizers had been looking for a new venue for 2016 since October, but had failed to find one. A snippet of that post is listed below:

“As many of you know, RainFurrest has been in search of a new venue since October 2015. We have discussed and explored facilities in many wonderful areas, finding options with a number of excellent venues in Greater Seattle and western Washington state. Our hard-working hotel team has fought for every possible option that would suit what our fans want out of RainFurrest. Tonight, the last of those options has closed to us.”

Hence, RainFurrest 2016 never occurred. After the search for a willing venue in western Washington (which is closest to Seattle) had been exhausted, attempts had even been made to move the event to Spokane, which is in eastern Washington; but according the Tank Winters (a.k.a., Trapa), someone had sent letters to the hotel in Spokane that encouraged them not to sign a convention contract with RainFurrest. (That is further explained in the video that we posted below.) RainFurrest was then completely shut down in or before February, 2017, which is when the final tweet was made on the RainFurrest Twitter account saying farewell.

The following video is from a 2016 convention panel in Vancouver, B.C. with Tank Winters (a.k.a., Trapa) who was one of the organizers & board members of RainFurrest. He gave a rather detailed look into what happened at and after the final 2015 RainFurrest convention, as well as the attempts to have a 2016 convention at a different venue.

Another YouTube video was posted in early 2017 summarizing everything that had occurred at RainFurrest 2015 and why the convention could not find another venue. Some of the things in this video are exaggerated, but it still gives an idea as to what was occurring:

A longtime RainFurrest attendee & helper also posted a video blog regarding his thoughts on RainFurrest in Feb. 2016.

From everything we’ve seen, the number one problem that got RainFurrest shut down was drug use by some attendees at the final 2015 convention. Residents of Washington state had approved the use of recreational cannabis in 2012 and the first recreational cannabis stores in Washington opened to the public on July 8, 2014. That, however, didn’t obligate hotels like the Hilton to permit the use of cannabis at their locations. Unfortunately, some attendees chose to ignore this prohibition by the hotel and used cannabis anyway, along with a variety of other prohibited drugs and inhalants.

The question is, did all of the attendees truly understand that drugs couldn’t be used at the hotel? When we read the RainFurrest 2015 Code of Conduct, there is actually no mention of drugs in the Code of Conduct at all. While there is a reference to following the hotel’s rules and policies,

“As a convention attendee, you are a guest of the hotel and must abide by the hotel’s rules and policies whenever you are on the premises.”

there was no link to what those hotel rules and policies were as of 2015. This, in our opinion, was something that the RainFurrest board failed to publicize.

While tampering with a smoke detector was probably a major issue for the hotel (due to liability), we strongly believe that the lack of adequate security provided by the RainFurrest board was the other major contributing factor to the demise of the convention.

Thus, drug use and lack of security (plus all of the vandalism that occurred at the hotel) greatly damaged the reputation of the RainFurrest convention, its attendees and its board. While the problems were likely only due to a small number of attendees, it was enough to harm the entire convention.

As we posted in April of this year, the public perception of costumers, cosplayers & furries is the responsibility of all costumers, cosplayers & furries. Once reputation has been damaged, it’s usually very difficult to rebuild.

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Cosplayer’s Religious Family Kicked Her Out Of The House Over Cosplay; Church Continues to Harass Her

It is both shocking & saddening to see a fundamentalist religious family kick their granddaughter out of the house because she’s a #cosplayer.

Lady Iredell (her real name was withheld due to ongoing church harassment) found friendship & belonging within the #cosplay & #costuming communities when she first discovered the hobby in 2015. Once forced to make her #costumes in secret late at night and keeping them hidden while living with her family, she now lives with a friend; but the harassment continues from the church that most of her family continues to attend.

Lady Iredell said that the church often encourages families to shun family members who leave the church. Since she left, Lady Iredell has not been allowed to speak with her younger brother and church members have visited her apartment trying to pressure her into returning even though she hadn’t told anyone where she was living. (Lady Iredell’s landlord had passed information about her whereabouts to her family.)

Costuming & cosplay are artistic forms of expression. Freedom of expression is the driving force behind the hobby. We sincerely hope that Lady Iredell will be able to continue to improve her life and to live to life as she chooses.

We wish Lady Iredell all the best and encourage those in the costuming & cosplay communities who know her to help her if she ever needs it.

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Original Film-Worn “Iron Man” Costume Missing

The Los Angeles Police Department (#LAPD) is investigating the disappearance of an original #IronMan #costume worn by Robert Downy, Jr. in the 2008 movie. The missing costume is valued to be worth $325,000.

The costume is believed to have disappeared sometime between February and April of this year from a prop storage warehouse located in Pacoima, California. It was first reported missing on Tuesday, May 8, 2018, though it’s not immediately clear who first reported the theft.

Marvel referred questions about the missing costume to Walt Disney Studios, but Disney has not yet issued a statement.

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