NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Actors from the show “The Walking Dead” are telling their fans that they will not be at a Walker Stalker Convention in Atlanta next year.
In a very strong statement, actor Khary Payton said that it is “time to shut this sh-t down.”
I’m not coming. Norman’s not coming. Melissa’s not coming. Danai’s not coming. Cooper’s not coming. Confirming more...Time to shut this shit down. #sickofit #WSC@bigbaldhead @mcbridemelissa @DanaiGurira @smugo https://t.co/P1PVM6HwkY— Khary Payton (@kharypayton) October 28, 2019
“Given the amount of negative press that occurred yesterday because of this tweet, Mr. DeVault has suspended ticket sales at this time,” said Robyn Householder, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau.
Eric Chadwick's 14-year-old son saved up $700 for a VIP ticket to the Walker Stalker event in Portland.
The company’s CEO, James Frazier, also stepped down since News4 first aired the story in July. In addition, the company announced it will temporarily suspend all ticket sales for future events.
The Better Business Bureau said it has now had 95 complaints about the company.
“We’re really excited to see that some of the lead actors of the program have tweeted out that they’re no longer going to be apart of this event, because they’re quite frankly really tired of seeing their fans being taken advantage of,” Householder said.
News4 first reported problems Walking Dead fans were having with tickets in July. Since then, News4 has spoken with several people upset over Walker Stalker Con, saying that they were not getting refunds, finding out actors were not attending or hearing that events were cancelled at the last minute.
“I feel like I’ve been swindled, just tricked and you know, I feel stupid,” Marcy Grace Keriko told News4 earlier this year.
Fans bought tickets to a Nashville event from a company the Better Business Bureau said has a history of problems.
According to the Better Business Bureau, fans in 21 states and six countries have been affected by Walker Stalker Con.
There have been 15 events “held” in four countries with 95 complaints and thousand of dollars have “vanished.” The BBB also said an event was held in Atlanta, but not as advertised, and people who paid for photo ops were not given money back when people did not show.
The most recent show in Nashville was to be held at the Opryland Convention Center on Aug. 21.
That event was canceled on Aug. 10 and a new event is planned on Jan. 4, 2020, with no notification.
James Frazier, who has run conventions for the past six years, resigned as CEO on Oct. 23, three days after the end of a problematic Atlanta convention.
The new interim CEO is Michael DeVault. He posted a statement on Walker Stalker’s Facebook page saying they are suspending ticket sales for future Walker Stalker Con and Fan Fest events, adding “We have a path forward” and that their “future is bright one.”
News4 called DeVault. He declined to go on camera with our station, saying he did not like our past stories about his company.
DeVault released the following statement.
Earlier this week, I made the decision to suspend temporarily ticket sales for all future Fan Fest Events. This step enables the new management to compile a complete picture of the company as we negotiate with multiple investors. Until those negotiations are complete, I will have no further comment.
Even with the new changes in management, the BBB said it remains skeptical.
“From BBB’s perspective, that doesn’t necessarily solve the problem. Simply because we’re aware of Mr. DeVault’s background in terms of other events that he’s been involved with that have also had similar problems.” Householder said. “One of the things that we saw happened in the past with Galacticon is that particular celebrities were promoted to be participating in the event, which of course is what drives consumers to buy those tickets and then at the last minute, those actors were canceled.”
News4 also reached out the the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office. It has also heard complaints from residents. A spokesperson says there have been 15 complaints against Walker Stalker. They added that they are concerned about the nature of the complaints and have been looking into it.
This is good advise. If @WalkrStalkrCon had the means to pay these debts, I believe they would have done so by now. Good luck, everyone. I’m sorry you were taken advantage of. We all were. https://t.co/40WydVnQeX— Khary Payton (@kharypayton) October 28, 2019
The Better Business Bureau has offered tips on what you can do in the future before attending events:
- Educate Yourself: Search online for the name of the festival and make sure the name advertised match the website.
- Search Online: Check out BBB.org/scamtracker and search the festival website has a phone number, physical address and email address.
- Check for (working) contact information: Be sure the festival website has a phone number physical address and email address.
- Prices too good to be true: There is no way a festival can offer tickets at extremely low prices without losing money.
- Claims too good to be true: Do a little online sleuthing to see if claims add up. If a music festival offers top entertainment, check out those bands’ actual touring schedule. See what other users or new outlets have said about the festival in the past.
- Pay with a credit card: You can dispute the charges if the business doesn’t come through. Be wary of online sellers that don’t accept credit cards.