Fifteen minutes into what would be my 2 hour commute to LA I got the text from my E3 Sponsor ” Something happened.” which is ALWAYS never a good thing.
During the duration of my train ride I got minute to minute updates about the security lockdown at the expo. He reported that during doors opening, several “Assuies” tried to “bum rush” into E3. And people working for Game Stop that bought their badges via craigslist or carried forged ones were caught.
By the time I arrived into the Los Angeles Convention center, there was a line on each of the exhibit hall entrances and the whole floor swarmed with security dressed in “Men in Black” get up scanning one by one badges and questioning people, creating a massive backup.
My friends, colleagues and sponsors explained that this years E3’s security heightened. Security will now need to scan your badges and ask for your ID. If you don’t have your ID handy with you security can have the option of confiscating your badge.
Several unfortunate and legit attendees suffered this type of unfair treatment. Last year’s E3 did not need them to have their government ID handy, just their badges. Most of the attendees are either from out of state or from another country that left their passports at their hotel rooms, often several miles from the convention center. I spoke to a pair, who was rudely turned away. “But this is me.” She protested. She was wearing obviously her company shirt logo and they seem to be media attendees as her partner was carrying heavy camera gear. They left their passports and ID at their hotel since they have to carry gear around and did not want to risk losing their valuables around the chaos. But they were denied access.
I went straight to the information booth at the South Exhibit Hall were the lady explained to me what my sponsors just confirmed. Several teens counterfeited badges earlier in the day. Several badges were confiscated and people were asked to leave.
I explained that many of us left our personal info at the hotel and she directed us to look for a Show Manager to help us resolve our issues.
Looking around I also noticed that some security personnel were tracking down certain “suspicious” people and keeping eye on kids loitering outside the convention center.
People all around can be heard lamenting the sudden security crackdown at the expo. This became HUGE inconvenience especially for those who left their ID’s back in their hotels or could not speak the language and explain their case to the guards.
However things really got out of hand while I was on the phone with my colleagues, I saw how one door guard grabbed a man in a business suit by the collar. This was at the South Hallway. . Another had their badge over their shoulder, and the guard yanked it so hard that it hit the guy in the face.
I returned to general Information and said to them, that if any of the guards dare touch an attendee that would be grounds for assault and harassment. She can only promise me that she would pass down what I reported to a manager.
As much as I appreciate an exclusive expo like E3 to have great security, I felt that E3’s hired personnel could have handled things differently without having legitimate attendees suffer the inconveniences caused by few gate crashers.
And NO ONE unless personal safety is concerned should a guard or any E3 employee lay their hands at any attendees.
We have one more day left for E3. Hoping that this drama will blow over by tomorrow.