Nerdlebrity apocalypse: Sons of Anarchy cast revolts over non-payment at Space City Comic Con

201605310401.jpg
We’ve reported on many “When a con is crap” moments over the years, but this weekends Space City Comic Con in Houston seems to have combined the biggest ripoffs with the biggest stars for a planned Sons of Anarchy reunion that…well, it didn’t quite pan out, as someone named Ava Jade reports:

300x600.jpeg

While talking with Mr. Coones, it became clear that many of the reports on social media were correct. I refused to report on any of it, until I had information directly from a source.  Upon arriving at their hotel, the cast was told that the credit card provided by the promoter would not be accepted, it would be cash only for their rooms. When they arrived at the convention, Charlie had it out with the promoter to get to the bottom of it. He took his check to the bank to cash it, because he knew something was up. There he found out that the check that was given to him was written from an account that had been CLOSED. This happened to the entire cast. Many of the actors went to the promotors office to demand payment, where the promotor ended up calling the cops because he was “being held hostage”. WTF right? The panel schedule was completely jacked up, the cast was not given the correct times for photo ops and for panels. The Friday panel was canceled due to the AVI team refusing to allow anyone onstage until they were paid. They were promised payment upfront, instead they weren’t paid and pulled the plug on the event.

So just to recap there, the show, did not pay for the hotel rooms, and the cast, including Charlie Hunnam and Ron Perelman revolted. And when the complained to the promoter, the promoter called the cops on them. And the result was this:

I’ve also seen social media reports (not confirmed) that one of the con’s co-owners was escorted off the premises by police on Sunday afternoon. Whether true or not, you can see it was evidently an exciting weekend!

This was not a small, rinky-dink operation, but a show big enough to draw Valiant, IDW and the Stan Lee Foundation as sponsors. These entities have been through many a rodeo, and they would not sign up for a fly by night operation. Indeed, there were also good times t be had at the show, including a proposal in the Valiant booth!

https://twitter.com/ValiantComics/status/736679505679527936

There was also severe disappointment among fans who had paid good money to see celebrities who left in a huff. And I can’t say that I blame the nerdlebrities OR the fans. Here’s an account from the comments on the Jade post:

But let’s take a step back and assess the actions of Mr. Hunnam. Supposedly after finding out that he was not going to get the money that he was promised in pre-sale tickets Mr. Charlie Hunnam decided after Saturday had concluded to leave the convention and head home. Regarding the situation with my wife and I; we had to save up for a while to purchase the pre-sale autograph tickets for Mr Hunnam and of course the rest of the SOA cast members and photo-op with Mr. Hunnam. We are from Dallas and didn’t have the money for the 3 day pass or to stay in Houston for the 3 days. Nor we couldn’t leave work to attend the full 3 days. So we decided to leave early on Sunday morning and we got there at 1100 am right when the convention opened for the 3rd and final day. Once we arrived we were told by one of the volunteers who were honest and knowledgeable that not only the 12 pre-paid autograph tickets were not being honored but Charlie Hunnam was not there. We were told about the whole fiasco situation and of course were confirmed by others at the convention. With what little money we did have in our account we did purchase some autograph tickets but we couldn’t buy all what we originally had because the money had already been spent for the pre-paid tickets. So we had to pick and choose who we got to see, unfortunately with my wife being a huge SOA fan and a bigger Charlie Hunnam fan. She was totally disappointed with Charlie Hunnam not being there for autographs or the photo-op that we were going to do as well on Sunday.

Me I am just pissed … I get the convention royally screwed over Mr Hunnam, I totally get that but when you screw over your fans and punish your fans because of it well to me that’s totally unacceptable. I heard stories from several attendees who flew from New Zealand, Canada, Mexico and even Australia that they were coming to see SOA cast and in particular Charlie Hunnam. I heard other stories of people who were there Saturday in line for 5 hours for an autograph for Mr. Hunnam and never got the opportunity to see him that day with all the delays. So they just came back the next day thinking they will just get his autograph or his photo-op on Sunday only to be told that he packed his things and left Saturday night to go home.

Obvously there is a lot more to this story. It’s understandable that fans would be disappointed when expensive autograph opportunities don’t come to fruition, but the show apparently has a good rep before that. Space City Comic Con launches in 2012 and has regularly hosted major celebs and comics creators since, as the shows bio claims:

Space City Con is about “bringing fans together.” Launched in August 2012, Space City Con (www.spacecitycon.com), thrilled more than 2,000 fans with its first show. By summer 2013, the convention had grown by a factor of six, filling its Houston-area venue to capacity with more than 11,000 eager fans attending over three days. The Festival’s vendor and exhibit hall grew 50 percent and the number of celebrity guests skyrocketed.

On July 31, 2013, organizers provided the celebrity guests for the historic unveiling of the original Star Trek™ series scale prop, the Galileo shuttlecraft, at Space Center Houston, with a VIP dignitary tour of the NASA Johnson Space Center. Space City Con 2013 also received the honor of the world premiere of the completed Lucasfilm-blessed Star Wars™ fan film “The Pink Five Saga,” hosting the international leadership of The 501st Legion professional Star Wars costuming charity organization.

Maybe they just grew too fast?

We’ve been writing for a while that there are simply too many comics and pop culture events in North America right now. Debacles like this may point up the need to be extra cautious about dealing with reputable promoters. While informal networks of bookers and exhibitors share information on which shows are crap, perhaps the time has come for some kind of accrediting organization or other oversight to protect both fans and nerdlebrities.

Comments

  1. Torsten Adair says

    Don’t forget the previous Con Wars:
    http://www.chron.com/business/article/Judge-refuses-to-stop-show-7361787.php
    “The hearing was the latest development in the dispute between Space City Comic Con, a three-day festival scheduled for NRG Center over the Memorial Day weekend, and the convention and visitors bureau, which has a 50 percent take in a rival pop culture event, Comicpalooza, scheduled for the George R. Brown Convention Center in mid-June. The convention bureau sued Space City Comic Con and its owner, George Comits, for trademark infringement earlier this year.”

    Attendance in 2014: about 30,000.

    The bigger problem, especially for the organizers, will be refunds for the VIP tickets.
    At best, they take a hit in the pocket book. At worst, they get hit with a class-action lawsuit.

    Meanwhile, in Houston, will be
    Amazing Houston Comic Con (Sept 9-11, 2016)
    Comicpalooza (June 17-19, 2016)

    Meanwhile, in Orlando, MegaCon (now part of Informa, which runs Fan Expo) expanded to four days, and not much happened. (I wonder if they’ve evolved past their comics-centric origins?)

  2. entitledmuch? says

    “I totally get that but when you screw over your fans and punish your fans because of it well to me that’s totally unacceptable.”

    He didn’t screw over his fans. The promoters did.

    If you show up to work and your boss decides not to pay you that day, do you owe it to your customers to still work your shift? No.

    The Sons Of Anarchy don’t own anybody anything.

  3. says

    100% of the blame is on the promoter. If Hunnam were to stick around, he’s basically rewarding the con for unacceptable behaviour. I suppose he could have gone to a Denny’s or somewhere and tweeted that he’d be there for a few hours to sign, but even then, he was there to sign for money.

    This whole paying for autographs and photos is still a baffling business to me. Charging for an autograph itself seems like punishing your fans.

  4. says

    Some of this is true, some of it is false. I will openly state this – the Sons actors did NOT “revolt” by not doing the panels. The AVI business that was brought in was not paid on the first panel. The “reunion” panel that had 4 actors was canceled, then on then canceled then a few actors were told it was on or to go or not. One actor I spoke with thought it was a joke but decided to double check because of all the lies and misinformation, and he arrived halfway through the 4 person panel.

    On Sunday, all the actors but Charlie (who had left the night previously) and Ryan Hurst (who was downstairs signing autographs), attended a shortened panel, despite being on their 3rd day, without pay – shoved into a tiny room, where half the cast had to literally stand on their feet behind the other 8 chairs wedged on this tiny stage.

    I am Mary Peterson and I’m spokesperson and co-admin of the Facebook group of disgruntled VIPs who were so readily screwed while the actors profusely apologized to us and treated us like royalty. I couldn’t say enough especially about how awesome and apologetic Kim Coates, Michael Beach, Chris Reid, Danny Trejo, and even the twins parents were to us and more, knowing how screwed we were. Feel free to message me on Facebook if you have any questions.

  5. Nathan says

    The SOA cast didn’t punish their fans, the convention organizers did. Remember that many of the guests are still active in the industry. That means it’s on the Space City Comic Con organizers to make it worth their while to attend. If these people arrive only to find that the con is suddenly not going to pay them, THEY DO NOT HAVE SHOW UP! The SOA cast had every right to demand payment, and the promoters had taken on the responsibility of doing so. I get that there were SOA fans who went there to see their favorite actors from the show, and I can understand how frustrating it is to learn that the cast wasn’t going to be there, but the only way to keep the fans happy is to run a tight ship on the business end of things, something the SCCC people failed to do.

  6. Heather says

    I went to a rally in Newton, Iowa several years ago to meet Charlie Hunnam. The event was mismanged and people including myself waited over 8 hours in line even with wristbands. After we were the last group to get in and there were still about 200 left outside promoter was trying to shut things down and turn them away Charlie sat with no break and made sure all those fans were let in. He was charming (no pun intended) and saw all his fans were treated well. If he left this event there was a good reason I’m sure.

  7. Breandan says

    “but the show apparently has a good rep before that.”

    No, they didn’t, but no one reported on it. At the Galveston event in ’14 they failed to pay guests and Moody Gardens, screwed over their investors, and had to change names and legal stakeholders to The Houston Con to avoid lawsuits. George Comits has a storied history of this sort of behaviour if you dig into it, I’ve seen some of it firsthand.

  8. Kent says

    The Cast didn’t screw over the fans, THE PROMOTER DID. The Cast deserved to be paid for their time, the same as anyone else. These huys do care about their fans, but you cannot expect them to work for free. The only ones who deserved to be tarred and feathered or the unscrupulous promoters. YOU DON’T !@@#$# WITH SAMCRO!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *