On May 2, Houston, Texas based anime convention Anime Matsuri announced that Dreamcatcher would be a featured guest at the event. The seven-member group will have a special concert as well has have their own panel on July 28 and 29.
We are kicking off the #AM2022 weekend with @hf_dreamcatcher !
Join us for Kpop with Live Concert, Photo-Ops, Autographs and a Fan Panel as we celebrate this phenomenal group. Don't miss it!
Tickets go on sale this Friday, May 6 at 1pm CST. pic.twitter.com/4Sz0hbZmAb
— Anime Matsuri (@AnimeMatsuri) May 3, 2022
Numerous InSomnias were pleasantly surprised at this news, especially since Texas was not announced as one of the locations for the group’s upcoming “Apocalypse: Save Us” 2022 world tour.
So… Dreamcatcher will make an appearance at Anime Matsuri??😭 Houston inSomnia (dc fans) will have an opportunity to see them in a panel & get a photo op with the group?!!😭😭😭 It’s expensive but this is a once in lifetime opportunity guys. All the way in Houston😭😭😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/sYOPSq4le4
— c prk • Jihyo’s Creased Dunk (@lividramen) May 2, 2022
Is there a limit on how many VIP tickets you’ll be selling? SUPER EXCITEDDDDDDDDDDDD!!!! pic.twitter.com/SJWhVgNuka
— KTwinz React | 66 Days till Dreamcatcher! (@KtwinzReact) May 3, 2022
However, not everyone is excited. A growing number of InSomnias are raising concern over Anime Matsuri’s treatment of guests in the past, particularly the lack of payment and protection towards presenters and performing artists.
If you dare to mistreat dreamcatcher or if you don’t pay them, you will hear us
Dreamcatcher is a kpop group, and they have fans, you know how it work ?
If you mistreat them you will never forget us(their fans), we will make sure to cancel you and all the employees
— BOOM | DREAMCATCHER 2nd WIN 🏆 (@signiexsiyeon) May 3, 2022
the tweets i’ve been seeing about anime matsuri say everything we need to know to NOT want deukae there. keep spreading the info, @BoycottMatsuri is of great help with it. they can’t block us all for speaking up
— mila 🌱⁷ (@carrotminji) May 3, 2022
In 2021, Japanese cosplayer and media personality Shibuya Kaho, who was a guest presenter at the convention, detailed her experience of labor without pay and lack of logistical support as reasons why she would never return to future Anime Matsuri events.
Up til 4am, Anime Matsuri had me, only JP guest there, be their iPad stand & interpreter on a 3hr zoom call to build a 1/1 figure. My team even helped. I’ve asked about compensation for our time then got ignored. Considering there were many issues besides this, we won’t return.
In the convention’s second year in 2008, Japanese EDM duo, BESPA KUMAMERO, was never paid for their performance.
Their only option was to reach out online in order to get in touch with the founders and co-directors, John Leigh and Deneice Leigh.
In addition to compensation issues, Anime Matsuri co-director, John Leigh, has faced multiple sexual harassment allegations in the past from fashion model guests and attendees at the convention, sparking another wave of concern for InSomnia.
I noticed he had a nervous way of telling me. …It was odd how he was acting. He’s like, ‘I want you to act like you’re going to perform a sexual oral act on the male subject in the car’. I told him I was very uncomfortable with the idea… I kept telling him ‘No. No I don’t want to’, he tried to guilt trip me into it…
—Anime Matsuri guest’s allegation towards John Leigh, shared in an interview with the Houston Press
InSomnias, other K-Pop fandoms, and convention goers have sent emails to Dreamcatcher’s label, Dreamcatcher Company, asking for the group to back out of their appearance at the event.
[MASS EMAIL NOTICE]
Here is the link to the ENG & KOR email template regarding our concerns for the Anime Matsuri Con.
**If there are any errors/inaccuracies in the KOR translations please send us a DM and let us know. pic.twitter.com/L05L0ix0Hv
— Deukae Social 🏆🏆 | #Dreamcatcher2ndWin (@DeukaeSocial) May 3, 2022
Not all of the featured guest experiences at Anime Matsuri have gone sour, however. In 2019, Apink had a concert and a Q&A panel as the first K-Pop group to perform at the convention.
The group appeared to have high-quality staff and translation support during their panel and performance.
Both Apink and the audience seemed content throughout the duration of their events.
While Dreamcatcher is still slated to perform at the 2022 Anime Matsuri, as concerns continue to grow, the convention has yet to release a statement addressing the issue.