Booth Babe Protesters:
Quite a stir was made before E3 when the ESA announced they were changing the rules to add teeth to their booth babe policies. Bikinis were out. Violators could be fined up to $3000.
Well, imagine our surprise when we found women in semi-skimpy clothing outside the E3 Convention center protesting the decision with signs that read, "Booth Babe Protest: I am rated "E" for Everyone."
Imagine our even greater surprise when E3 security showed up during our interview to force them off the premises.
Not for being in skimpy clothing, but for being protesters. In skimpy clothing.
"We want to have fun, too," said Niki Nicholson, one of the protesters, when we asked about the meaning behind their sign. "It's a good thing to hear a girl say that it is not a big deal to wear a bikini. It's an adults only convention."
Niki and her co-protester, Roisin Taylor, were not spontaneous protesters, but were actually hired by intellivisiongear.com to promote their after E3 party. The signs were a joint idea between them and their company to help attract attention.
It worked. Part way through our interview, "The Man" showed up in the form of a female security officer insisting that the women leave the premises. Ironically, GamesFirst happened to have a camera out and ready to take a picture for our interview, and got a perfect series of images to document the event.
When the women asked why they were being asked to leave, the security officer refused to answer, simply replying, "You have to leave the premises."
She then repeated this every time the booth babes asked the question.
You are not required to have any sort of permit to protest in the United States if you're not causing a disruption.
We took it upon ourselves to intervene.
After snapping a few pictures of the ladies being chased off, making sure the security officer knew she was front and center, we then repeated their exact same question. Except we added our credentials at the beginning and ended it with, "Mind answering their question if we're the ones who are asking instead of them?"
The combination of camera and press credential seemed to be enough to stem the tide of cultural rejection; after talking to us and finding out that the women were sponsored by one of the E3 companies, the security officer called her manager and requested verification.
"We just saw them on the security cameras," she said, in explanation. "I was just asked to clear them out." After the initial encounter, she was much more polite.
By the time things looked like they would be settled, the girls had already wandered down the road. Since our photo shoot had been interrupted by the authorities, we had to chase them down for our final picture.
Just so you know, the protesting booth babes will be back on Thursday, tomorrow, this time with materials advertising the E3 after-party. Stop by and say hello.
Anyone who is a part of a Booth Babe Protest earns themselves a little extra credit, and a lot of street credit, just for paying attention to the industry they're promoting.