An Exercise in Machismo

This past weekend I attended Comic Con International’s smaller must-visit comic and pop-culture media con: WonderCon. It was debuting two things: a new venue in sunny downtown Los Angeles at the LA Convention Center and a new badge checking system based on proximity cards and badge swipe stations.

But all that flash wasn’t what drew my eye. At about 7:35 on the evening of March 26th, a CSC security staffer loudly confronted another member of the public in a very aggressive manner, enticing the person to challenge his authority. The whole display was quickly quelled by a nearby cosplayer who tried to de-escalate the situation. My own event security team members, attending the convention as “civilians”, observed the situation unfolding and took in lack of professionalism and procedure as the situation quickly destabilized and this particular CSC staffer lost control.

I do not have details of the event in question that led to this unprofessional outburst in public, but I do have a few points of criticism on the CSC staffer’s part that contributed to the loss of situational control on his part.

The staffer yelled loudly about having the offending member “step up” to him. The staffer got in this person’s face and made machismo-type aggressive actions against the offending member of the public. At no time did the staffer try to call for back up or de-escalate the situation. He quickly lost track of his offending member of the public, and those people fled the scene well before other security personnel and police arrived. His childish display of machismo rather than controlled de-escalation caused him to have nothing to show for his actions when supervisors, other security personnel and police finally arrived.

I’m frankly surprised that CSC would allow their staff to perform in such a display of blatant machismo and power-trip. It was embarrassing to witness. I would certainly take the staffer in for reprimand and reinforcement of proper training to handling situations. The situation didn’t seem like it was going to erupt into something physical. The whole tense situation sprouted solely from that CSC staffer. I would have reprimanded and retrained, and then let go if they can’t understand that power trips are not allowed.

I teach my team de-escalation. We teach no-touch rules. We do not create confrontational situations, and we certainly do not serve to escalate, intimidate or aggravate situations. It just further proved to me that CSC may be in over their heads in a rapidly changing industry. But they have their niche market, and I have mine.

We strive not to be assholes to your attendees.