UPDATE: I have since been linked to a Tweet from Gabe himself explaining that Nigri was not in fact kicked out, as the story originally stated, but simply asked to change. My apologies for misrepresenting the information.
While it’d be a stretch to say either of the following con-goers have reached true “celebrity” status, each is well-known among certain circles of nerds, geeks, otakus, what have you. Yet unlike the US government’s stance on celebrities serving their due time after breaking the law, Gabe and Tycho actually take their PAX rules seriously.
Nathan Barnatt, perhaps better known by his stage name Keith Apicary, was asked to leave PAX East after an incident whose details have proven quite difficult to ascertain; the interwebs have been abuzz with talk that the comedian-slash-actor was seen dancing in his underwear, in an act that interrupted a panel of which he was not a part. It is not yet clear whether Apicary’s ban was the result of being mostly nude, causing a ruckus for those trying to hold the panel, or most likely, both.
In a move that has proven more controversial (and more upsetting to the more statistically significant demographic of PAX-goers), Jessica Nigri also caused a stir at the convention. Evidently Ms. Nigri was hired to portray Juliet Starling, the scantily-clad undead-slaying high school cheerleader in the upcoming zombie-action title Lollipop Chainsaw. The fact that Starling wears a cheerleading uniform the likes of which would not be allowed at any high school is a point that did not cause issue with anyone.
What did cause issue was the fact that Nigri wore it at PAX. Sources say that she wore the outfit the entirety of day one without incident; it wasn’t until the second day of the convention that the convention rules came into play. On day two, Nigri was seen wearing a a different (and even more revealing) Lollipop Chainsaw costume. After being asked to cover up, she changed back into the original Juliet Starling cheerleader outfit, was asked once more to cover up, and was reportedly asked to leave if she did not change. However, Nigri was seen on the show floor on day three wearing a more modest getup.
Commence internet shitstorm round one. What the unwashed masses evidently fail to recognize, however, is that PAX has had a “no booth babe” policy for a number of years now. Jessica Nigri does amazing cosplay; her costumes are always accurate and well-done, and frankly she’s pretty easy on the eyes. With that said, she wasn’t simply cosplaying Juliet Starling at this year’s PAX East. She was hired to portray the scantily-clad student, something that PAX does not allow.
Good on PAX for enforcing the rules they put in place. Good on Gabe and Tycho for not pandering to the masses. It’s their convention, and they can do what they want. Don’t like it? Don’t attend. There are 64,999 others who are happy to do so despite the policy on booth babes. Actually, I’d wager a good percentage of those attendees are actually at least a bit relieved that there are two conventions every year where they can simply attend, play a few games, and not feel slovenly and uncomfortable due to the presence of pretty girls shoving tits in their faces.