Cosplayover Cramp

An entertainment satire site's claim that cosplay was to be made illegal in five states was mistaken by many enthusiasts for genuine news.

Claim: Cosplay has been made illegal in five states.


Example: [Collected via e-mail, January 2016]

There is a rumor going around that cosplay (the act of costume building and public performance as a fictional character), has become illegal in five states. Is that true, and is it true that any states are trying to make it illegal?

Today, 01-22-16, I read an article on the Supreme Court deciding the legality of cosplay and whether cosplayers can be sued by the creating company for copying a characters design. I did a quick Google search and came up with several articles on the topic but none were from what I would consider a credible news source, CNN, Fox, CBS, etc. can you look in to this and let me know if it is valid or not?

Origin:On 25 April 2015, the web site The Studio Exec published an article reporting that the hobby of cosplay was to be outlatwed in five states (an article which for indeterminate reasons began circulating widely in January 2016):

SAN DIEGO — The increasingly popular hobby of Cosplay — short for 'costume play' and involving adults gathering to wear costumes inspired by their favorite films and TV shows — has been made illegal in five states: Colorado, Ohio, Delaware, Kansas and New Mexico.

Although the motivations given for the cosplay bans have been varied and include issues of public health and decency, the main argument seems to be that — in the words of New Mexico's governor Susana Martinez — 'grown adults dressing up as Captain Jack Sparrow and Padme from the Phantom Menace is f**king retarded'.

Cosplay enthusiasts have responded with anger. Mark Jerkins of the Cosplay Association of America commented:

We are adults who enjoy dressing up in fancy dress-like costume and immersing ourselves in a fictional world, often with a kinky slant. And we demand respect.

The tone of the article was something of a giveaway to its satirical nature, especially the "quote" attributed to New Mexico's governor. Skeptical readers might also have noticed that there is no "Cosplay Association of America" (nor, therefore a chairperson of such named "Mark Jerkins").

Readers who scrolled to the bottom of the page could find a (very tiny) "About" link in which the Studio Exec explained their satirical nature:

Established in 2012, the Studio Exec is a satirical movie based website, publishing spoof news, reviews and comedy masterpieces.

Our work has been reported internationally and we have been directly responsible for three marital breakups, the sacking of fifteen copy editors and the devaluation of the word 'satire.'

We do use profanity so if you’re under 18 go away.

If you wish to advertise with us or give us free money the email address is [address] and if you wish to contribute ideas, articles or give us free money the email address is [address] but if you wish to sue us or otherwise try to hurt us then the email address is

Although the Studio Exec bears a profile lower than that of other known satirical sites (such as The Onion for straight news, Duffel Blog for military satire, and GOMER Blog for humorous takes on medicine), it focuses on poking fun at the entertainment industry at large rather than deliberately attempting to dupe its readers. The large interval between the piece's publication and its viral popularity further suggests that the item was intended to be an in-joke which eventually escaped its humorous context through social media.

Last updated: 25 January 2016

Originally published: 25 January 2016

Kim LaCapria is a New York-based content manager and longtime message board participant. Although she was investigated and found to be "probably false" by in early 2002, Kim later began writing for the site due to an executive order unilaterally passed by President Obama during a secret, late-night session (without the approval of Congress). Click like and share if you think this is an egregious example of legislative overreach.