Three Philly women fight sexual harassment and other notes from Comic-Con

Posted: July 29, 2014

THE White House Correspondents' Dinner is affectionately called "The Nerd Prom," then San Diego Comic-Con is "The Geek After-Party" - the Bacchanal of Geekdom.

Here are some of this year's highlights:

* Amid the costumes and fantasy, attention was drawn to a very real issue at Comic-Con - allegations of sexual harassment.

Geeks for CONsent, founded by three women from Philadelphia, gathered nearly 2,600 signatures on an online petition supporting a formal anti-harassment policy at Comic-Con.

Conventioneers told Geeks for CONsent that they had been groped, followed and unwillingly photographed during the four days.

Meanwhile, however, blatant objectification continued on the convention floor. Costumed women were described as "vaguely slutty" by panel moderator Craig Ferguson. When Dwayne Johnson made a surprise appearance to promote "Hercules," 10 women in belly-baring outfits stood silently in front of the stage.

While forms of sexual harassment are a larger social issue, Geeks for CONsent say that things are amplified at the festival, where fantasy plays such a large role.

"It's a separate, more specific issue within the convention space," said Rochelle Keyhan, director of Geeks for CONsent. "It's very much connected [to the larger problem], and it's the same phenomena, but manifesting a little more sexually vulgar in the comic space."

Keyhan and her colleagues - all in costume - carried signs and passed out temporary tattoos during the convention that read, "Cosplay does not equal consent."

Daniel Radcliffe donned a Spider-Man mask to covertly mingle with fans at the Con.

"I did an American accent for the whole time," the British actor said. "I even took a rucksack, so I look like I'm just coming to Comic-Con. I had a whole look. But it was great. . . . I took lots of pictures with people who did not know that it was me."

"I always loved that character. I love the comics, actually, as well," Radcliffe said. "I almost got a picture with two girls dressed as Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy, but the moment had passed."

Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner were on hand with other cast members from "The Avengers: Age of Ultron," including Samuel L. Jackson and Colbie Smulders.

Their footage kicked off with the superhero team attempting to pick up Thor's mighty hammer before launching into a barrage of action-packed imagery, including Hulk battling a giant Iron Man robot and a close-up of Captain America's split shield.

The cast was joined by newcomers Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Paul Bettany and James Spader, who personifies the villainous Ultron.

* "Guardians of the Galaxy" hasn't opened in theaters yet, but a sequel is already in the works.

Director James Gunn and star Chris Pratt announced the planned sequel Saturday during Marvel Studios' presentation.

* Batman and Superman engaged in an epic staring contest at Comic-Con.

The first footage from the Warner Bros. superhero mash-up "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" was unmasked Saturday.

"It's a little teaser," director Zack Snyder told a crowd of 6,500. "It's a teeny little thing."

Doesn't Superman have heat vision? Ouch.

TATTBITS

* Bizarre situation at the Johnny Rockets on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls:

According to her spokesperson, Aretha Franklin allegedly ordered a hamburger after performing a sold-out show. A server then screamed at the Queen of Soul, saying she couldn't sit down to eat because she ordered takeout.

Franklin said in a statement that the worker was "very rude, unprofessional and nasty."

A Johnny Rockets spokeswoman says that the franchise owner is sorry for the actions of "a new and very young employee."

A tip-off should have been, "Aretha who?"

* Now that their four children have grown and moved out, Ron Howard and his wife, Cheryl, have sold their estate straddling Armonk, N.Y., and Greenwich, Conn., for $27.5 million.

The couple bought the Conyers Farm in 1991 and spent years on construction.

The main house is more than 17,000 square feet and has six bedrooms, a swimming pool and a home theater. There's also a 2,500-square-foot guesthouse, a "sports barn" with a tennis court and actual barns for horses.

Ya done well, Opie. Ya done well.

* Artists in Manhattan painted the bodies of 40 nude models on Saturday, turning Columbus Circle into an outdoor celebration of the human form.

Artist Andy Golub said that New York was the only city in the country that would allow his inaugural Bodypainting Day. And that only happened after a legal battle.

Golub and a model were arrested in 2011 during a body-painting project in Times Square.

The city paid model Zoe West a $15,000 settlement after she sued over the arrest. Public nudity is legal in NYC if it's part of a performance, exhibition or show.

Golub's event Saturday included a post-painting march down Broadway and a return to Times Square for a photo shoot.

The irony, of course, is that the models, who did appear to be only topless, could walk one of the busiest and most touristy streets in the world, but couldn't be shown in the lamestream media without censorship bars.

* We're embarrassed to admit that we missed this when the Hollywood Reporter reported it a few days ago, but "Twist" legend Chubby Checker has settled his lawsuit with Hewlett-Packard, whose app store sold a penis-measuring app called the Chubby Checker.

No idea what the settlement was but we're guessing Checker hoped it would be bigger.

- Daily News wire services

contributed to this report.


Email: gensleh@phillynews.com

Phone: 215-854-5678

On Twitter: @DNTattle

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