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A "Grope Crew" Was Trolling AKON This Weekend

This weekend, thousands of anime aficionados, a large percentage of them in remarkably elaborate costume, descended on the Hilton Anatole for A-Kon 24. It was, as always, a lighthearted celebration of geekdom -- at least it was until the Grope Crew showed up.

For the record, the Grope Crew doesn't actually seem to have done any groping, at least none that was reported. (The only police report from the weekend describes a 23-year-old man, possibly named Bobby, being found lying face-down at the entry to the hotel on Sunday afternoon.) They simply threatened female convention-goers with sexual assault on Twitter using the #gropecrew hashtag, making a lot of people extremely uncomfortable.

See also The 51 Best Costumes from A-Kon 24

"I'm tired of being eye-raped by teenage nerds every time I dress up as a sexy cartoon character," an "anonymous booth babe" told the Internet Chronicle. "I'm thinking of sitting out the next convention. This year has been a paranoid nightmare since the Grope Crew tweeted my picture."

The Grope Crew was eventually drowned out by a chorus of Twitter users who pointed out, correctly, that it's vile, disgusting, and not very funny to threaten people with sexual assault. A-Kon responded with a warning:

Anyone caught conducting themselves in this manner in real life will be immediately ejected from the convention and handed over to DPD. We take sexual assault and assault threats very seriously. You do not want to be a part of this. Online, report them to Twitter. Keep your hands to yourself. Respect other attendees and enjoy your weekend.

And DPD followed up with an, um, equally stern warning:

The real-life identity of the trollers was never nailed down. Some of the accounts have been suspended or deleted. At least a couple proclaimed an affiliation with the Gay Nigger Association of America, a notorious trolling group.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson