Last night the creative team behind made a long awaited fan persona 5 anthology zine announced that his project lead had confessed to spending $27,600 CAD (approximately $21,300 USD) of the zine’s “personal use” funds. The money was originally intended for printing and shipping unofficial art and merchandise to customers. One of the fanzine’s performers claimed that the lead organizer, who goes on Ree’s lever, spent the embezzled money playing Genshin impact†
Show Time is an unofficial zine featuring the characters Joker and Crow from Atlus’ hit RPG persona 5† In response to the alleged embezzlement, the project’s five remaining employees removed Ree from the moderator team (meaning “management team” in the sense-world). However, they said they can’t take legal action like everyone else Show Time pre-order funds were processed through Ree’s personal account, and the team never signed any contracts with her. The mods plan to organize a fundraiser to fulfill pending pre-orders.
Kotaku contacted the staff of Show Timewho declined to comment. Kotaku also contacted Ree, but could not get an answer at the time of publishing.
The fanzine claims Ree lied to her teammates and forged screenshots for months, concealing evidence of financial embezzlement. However, the project had been in trouble for some time.
In January, Show Time tweeted that the dispatch moderator had contracted coronavirusbut the comments under the tweet be aware that customers had not received transparent communication about the shipment status of the zine for months.
On May 2, Ree taken a step back from sending orders, but retained full control of the project’s finances. The graphic designer Aryll acknowledged customer concerns about the financial situation of the sentence, and Show Time released his financial spreadsheet one day later. By May 15, the project had cost nearly $90,000 CAD (~$69,600 USD).
After news of the alleged embezzlement emerged yesterday, Zubatzo, one of the zine’s contributing page artists, said: tweeted that the moderators Ree . trusted because she had previously moderated five successful zine projects. In now-protected tweets, based on a message Ree sent to other moderators, she claimed that Ree had spent the money on Genshin impact and Takeaway Food†
Kotaku was unable to independently verify these claims, but Ree told GamesRadar what she spent the money on Genshin and things like stuffed animals, zines, and daily bills. Anyway, the mention of HoYoverse’s great mobile RPG started important discussion about the dangers of gacha games† Some Twitter users have be aware that it is mathematically unlikely to spend the entire amount embezzled Genshinand others have blamed the general unprofessionalism and lack of story in zine projects.
Here’s what we do know: Fan-produced zine projects like: Show Time his risky creative endeavors. IP law means that: companies can decide to sue artists who create fan content, especially if this content is sold or otherwise monetized. The risk is even greater for queer artists who want to create LGBTQ content with official characters.
The legal gray environment of fan communities can foster creative expression, but it also means creators usually don’t sign enforceable contracts with another. And customers have no easy recourse when their promised merchandise doesn’t ship for months. As such, we can Show Time incident, in part as a deplorable result of how fan communities are being forced by IP-holding media companies to essentially operate in the shadows.
According to his statement Show Time‘s remaining moderators spoke to a lawyer on June 22, but were told they cannot take legal action against Ree. The Show Time team promised to provide a new financial statement as they attempt to collect postage to fulfill the remaining pre-orders.
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