FannibalFest Scam Report
In 2017, a woman named Norma "Betsy" Craig decided to make a kickstarter to raise money for the first ever (and only) North American Hannibal only convention. This was definitely just code for "hannigram" only but she didn't phrase it that way. The convention had a rough start from the beginning when it was first proposed.
They started by saying that only artists were allowed to join and attend the convention. Fandom artists. They also were going to have to prove they had a "large body of work" behind them to gain "membership". When the fandom called them out on it for being elitist and, quite frankly, stupid, they changed their minds. They declared anyone who bought a ticket was allowed to go, regardless if they made art or not. At the same time, Betsy was claiming that she was intent on filing as a 501c7 which is the filing for a non-profit social club. In reality she filed for a 501c3 which is a non-profit charity filing. Seeing as how FannibalFest is definitely a social club and not a charity (and she absolutely refuses to address why she filed as a 501c3 instead of what she promised) no one knows why this was done. It's one of the many reasons it's shady and suspected as a scam. Since they are filed as a 501c3 the documents are public record and easy enough to look up for yourself.
Soon enough, people were complaining about ticket prices. Tickets, just to get in the door, started at $160 dollars. They went up, in amount, and included some minor additional perks for more money. Still, they did not include other fun activities like the dinner with Janice Poon or the bus tour which seemed to be the only reasons to actually attend the convention. An actual attendee who wishes to remain anonymous stated that the whole convention seemed like an excuse to talk about Hannigram and nothing else. That the autograph prices on the website (FannibalFest.com) were misleading and double that amount unless you were a "member" (and no, they never clarified what being a member actually was or how you get to be one) and one of the guests, Ellen Muth, didn't attend. They never addressed her absence and no one complained about this either.
It also seemed clear, from this attendee, that they did not use money on some of the things they promised, like hiring a security firm to work private security, or professionally made signs and banners. They said that the signs were all just cheap computer print outs and the Hannibal "prop" display looked like it had some effort put into it but was underwhelming. It also wasn't worth the price of the $160 dollar ticket to get in. The guests were only appearing for limited times, and days, and there was also a limited window of when you could meet them to get an autograph. Pictures and Autographs were separate costs as well. Only around 100 people attended, at most, despite FannibalFest claiming that 500 people would attend, which was a lie from the start seeing as how the room they booked at the hotel they purchased could not even hold that many people legally. They also projected more men attending when the gender ratio seemed to be about 99% women to 1% men. Not 50-50.
They made the claim that on year two, tickets would be much cheaper and they'd need less money because they'd already be established. Except, they asked for more money the second time, the "regular ticket" price went up 10 dollars, and their guest lineup is a lot worse than it was the year before. Here are some many unanswered questions, which will get you blocked if you ask them:
- How did you afford 7 guests on a budget of 4 thousand dollars in year one?
- Why do tickets cost the same for year two if your kickstarter made 40 thousand dollars?
- Why are you registered as a legal charity instead of a social club and why will you not address this, preferring to say you are a private business instead of any of these things?
- Why did it cost you over $1000 dollars to host your website on WIX.com?
- Why did your logo cost $150 dollars when you are allegedly a group of artists putting this together?
- Why did one of your directors randomly drop out before the first convention and vanish?
- Where are you getting the money to cover most (or all) of these guests?
- Why should anyone pay $170 to meet hair and makeup people?
The list goes on and on, and you absolutely cannot ask them about this or else you get accused of being me, trolling them on a sockpuppet account, even though literally everyone has these questions. The fandom as a whole blasted them for doing this and there are a very limited amount of people who even think this is a good idea. Especially since there's a much better run, funded, and produced Red Dragon Convention going on, that has been going on for 4 years now and is allegedly about to have a 5th year. If you want to read more you can follow the evidence and sources below to see it for yourself.
Documents that prove they are indeed filed as a 501c3 and not a 501c7
FannibalFest claiming they are a private business and not a non-profit or charity (even though that's a lie) which they have since deleted.
Above is a post detailing why they will no longer take questions from anyone because they think everyone that has a problem with them is me on a fake account...great business practice, yeah? (Link To Full Post)
Details on how much they claim things will cost (like domain and web hosting) and how much they actually cost.
A video breakdown about their FannibalFest promotional video for 2018 pointing out how they covered things up and hid a lot of who was attending and how many people attended.
A video breakdown of their expenses and why they don't really seem to make any sense given that a lot better conventions with a lot better options are a lot cheaper (even small and start up conventions cost a third as much as their own)
A sponsor my event post which greatly misrepresents how many people they expect to attend (in 2017)
More information to come as this is currently an ongoing event with information updated from time to time to add.