The chief executive of Dragon Con, the massive science fiction convention that draws some 50,000 attendees to Atlanta annually, said in a statement on behalf of the conference Thursday that it considers the religious freedom legislation “discriminatory.”
Dragon Con President Pat Henry* said his team, which has called the capital city home for nearly three decades, had begun lobbying the general assembly, in concert with the convention trade association’s efforts, to freeze the bill.
“Legislation that hurts one of us, hurts all of us,” Henry said in a statement provided to Tipsheet. “Should this bill become law, we will seek written assurances from all of our business partners that they will not participate in any discriminatory behavior on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other point of identification.
“We have no intention now or in the future of supporting a business partner that discriminates.”
Original post follows.
Georgia’s convention bureau clearinghouse warned Republican lawmakers in a letter this week that the state could lose in excess of $15 million in convention revenue if a controversial religious freedom bill clears the legislature.
In a letter to the members of the House Judiciary Committee, the Georgia Association of Convention and Visitors Bureaus warned that the perception of the legislation as anti-gay will poison the convention well and in turn chase millions in revenue from the state.
“We know that the current version closely models the federal law … ,” the letter reads. “However, no matter what the language, perception is reality for our customers and we don’t want them to go elsewhere. …
“As of today we know of at least $15 million in convention business that has stated that they will cancel their conventions should this bill pass.”
It’s not just Georgia grappling with the threat of convention displacement as a consequence of new religious freedom legislation.
In Indiana, where Republican Gov. Mike Pence is expected to sign a similar bill today over the objections of the some in business community, organizers of the state’s largest annual convention, gamer confab Gen Con, are threatening to pull up stakes in future years. According to a letter its chief executive sent this week to Pence, the convention has an annual economic impact of $50 million for the state.
Here in Georgia, the convention bureaus estimate the long-term negative economic impact will amount to “hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue.”