Last weekend, I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Supernatural Convention (also known as Vegascon) in Las Vegas. It was four days of nonstop entertainment, and I have to give major props to Mr. Richard Speight Jr. for being a fantastic host. I am happy to report that 99% of the convention was made of awesome. This post will be about the 1% that wasn’t, but I will write another that will give Supernatural fans the details on all the positive and wonderful things that did happen last weekend at a later time. I have to write my thoughts down on the very few things that bothered me about the convention because I feel that women should at least think about such things for their own health and sound minds.
Fans who have watched season 8 of Supernatural will know about Benny, a vampire character played by Ty Olsson. On screen, he does a great job portraying this character, and that is all I will say about his performance because I don’t want to give away spoilers. Ty had two panels scheduled for last weekend’s convention, but he only appeared for one of them. Why you ask? It was because of his poor behavior on his first panel. I’ve been to tons of fun geeky/nerdy panels, and I understand that guests are free to be who they are, but I do feel that Ty crossed a few lines. He came out completely drunk, and the novelty wore off after the first ten minutes of his panel. Fans were lined up to ask him questions, and he maybe went through one and a half answers. The majority of his panel was spent going through the crowd, finding alcohol wherever he could from whoever he could. And women would gladly offer up their drinks just to have his lips on their straws.
He threw around more than a few f-bombs, and for a few seconds seemed concerned if there were children in the audience. He honed in on one child; I couldn’t see how old she was, but she sounded very young, maybe three of four years of age. Granted, a child should not have been at that convention, but how Ty treated the situation was way worse than having an underage attendee in the audience. He gave the child money and basically said he could say motherf-er all he wanted. Right after that, he asked the child if it was okay and encouraged her to say “hell yeah” into the mic. The audience gasped and he rescinded and told her to say “heck yeah” instead.
After that, he went around the room, targeting redheads because apparently those are the types of women he likes. He kissed a woman sitting in the front row a couple of times whenever he walked by, and we were unsure if they knew each other, but she looked shocked as hell. Didn’t ask her permission, just went in and pressed his face into hers. He targeted another woman and asked the audience if he should kiss her or not. He also kissed another woman that was waiting in line to ask a question. Of course, mob mentality took over and most of the audience encouraged him. He went around touching and kissing whoever he wanted and wherever he wanted. And it was okay in the eyes of the audience. He kept going on and on about “I don’t care if they fire me. It’s my one year convention anniversary.” For that short amount of time, it looked as though he believed he was a god and he could do whatever he wanted.
There were also reports of him fondling and groping women during his photo op. One of his peers pulled him away from groping a woman apparently to get him to stop, and he flipped her off. Unsurprisingly, the announcement was made that Ty would not be appearing in his panel the next day.
Some people will understand why this behavior bothers people, and some will not. I implore you to have at least an open mind when taking this information in. How he treated women during his panel was not okay, not by a long shot. Now I understand having to tame the fangirl inside. I get giddy and starstruck when I meet people from my favorite shows. Hell, I damn near lost it when I met Felicia Day. But I remind myself that my favorite celebrities are people too. Just because I admire them for their work, it doesn’t mean that they are excluded from treating people with common respect. Just a note, Felicia is amazing, on and off the screen.
What irritated me more than Ty’s behavior was the overall audience’s acceptance of it. Most women were completely fine with how he acted. It was because they were starstruck and fangirling over him because he’s a handsome actor that plays a vampire on TV that they didn’t mind that he treated them like things. When I had private conversations with the women around me, I was surprised and appalled that their defense of his conduct was “well, that’s just him, so it’s fine.”
HOW IS THAT FINE? Imagine if he were an unknown man, no celebrity status, no TV fame, nothing. And he went around and groped your friend, your daughter, you… what would your reaction be then? Imagine having a coworker or an employee show up to work completely off his rocker and announcing that he didn’t give a shit if he was fired and proceeded in doing whatever he damn well pleased. What he did to his fans was not fine. Not only did he give absolutely no fan love to the people who were patiently waiting in line to ask him questions, but he acted as though that no rule, policy, or law could touch him and consequences were nonexistent. Man or woman, that is a dangerous mentality to have.
We did end up speaking with someone that had a few words with Ty after the incident (and yes, this was treated like an incident), and she alluded that he actually has a good heart, but his mind and heart did not match up during this time. That may be true. Everyone has off days. I do, too. But understand that what you do has consequences whether they are immediate or not. This kind of behavior is incredibly damaging to all parties involved.
I know some of you agree with me, and I know some of you don’t. The bottom line is, you should be treated with respect. People will admire your beauty and they will express that admiration in many ways. Someone who uses their celebrity status to get what they want out of you should not be a standard of gaining your affection. And I know some women think “well, it’s my body, and I can do whatever I want with it.” That is your right and your belief. No one can take that from you. I am only asking that you keep an open mind. Some people view this treatment as empowering, but many others view it as being handled like a piece of meat. I am writing this for both men and women. This is just a case where it happens to be a man treating women this way.
I will still watch the hell out of Supernatural and support the show however I can, but based off of what I’ve seen and several reports of “he’s always like this at his panels”, I can firmly say that I will not be a fan of Ty Olsson.
Edit/Update: I did receive some comments about why this wasn’t dealt with immediately. I can only speculate that if the panel was interrupted, there may have been some backlash from fans that are incredibly loyal to Ty Olsson and Creation (the company hosting the event) would have had even more problems to deal with at the time. But I am pretty sure the situation was handled behind the scenes and Creation did everything in their power to ensure that we enjoyed the rest of the convention (which we did!). So major props to all the volunteers of Creation who handled everything in a professional manner.
Edit/Update #2: This is the link to Ty Olsson’s official response to what happened at the panel. http://ty-olsson.com/response.html So now you have both perspectives. I cannot change how I feel about what I saw, but I am not callous enough to dismiss someone when he owns up to his actions. So for that, thank you Mr. Olsson.