The shocking murder of The Voice contestant and Youtube star Christina Grimmie on Friday night at the hands of a deranged fan has prompted drastic changes to security procedures at the biggest gathering of online video creators and fans. VidCon, the six-year old convention held in Anaheim bringing together video viewers, creators, and industry reps today announced increased undercover police presence, limited access to attending video creators and other professionals, and a fenced off perimeter as well as mandatory metal detectors and baggage checks.
“As you might expect, security at VidCon will be different this year and we wanted to let you know what that means for you,” the convention said in a statement posted to its official Tumblr account. Citing Grimmie, as well as the horrific Orlando shootings Saturday night of patrons at an Orlando LGBTQ nightclub in what is being called the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, the convention apologized for the measures. But it insisted “you can’t have fun without being safe, and the VidCon Team is committed to making sure that everyone’s safety is the number one priority.”
The most drastic change is that attendees will no longer be able to approach creators and other panel participants. “Previously, after panels many fans have come up to give creators gifts or letters or to ask questions and talk,” the convention said. “This will no longer be a thing. Creators won’t be able to linger after panels and the audience will not be allowed to approach the panelists. This sucks; obviously, we don’t want to build a wall between creators and their communities, but it is unfortunately necessary.”
As in previous years, VidCon will post security guards to all signing lines. In addition, it has now also implemented heightened security screening, adding metal detectors and mandatory bag checks to the Twitter Meet and Tweet Hall, as well as random bag checks throughout the event. In addition, the official convention spaces will now be fenced off, with registered attendees only permitted to access the event via designated entrances and exits. The fence will encompass the entire Anaheim Convention Center as well as VidCon associated events like the AwesomenessTV Festival.
Finally, VidCon has doubled the number of undercover police patrolling the event, with more than 450 scheduled to attend. A dramatic change from previous years, but so far, fans planning to attend the convention aren’t resisting. Many have taken to twitter to express approval of the new safety measures and to thank the convention for taking these steps. Time will tell if that changes.
Vidcon happens at the Anaheim Convention Center June 23-25.