The creator of a Persona 5 fanzine has been kicked off the project after spending more than $21,000 USD in pre-order funds for their own personal use—some of which was spent on Genshin Impact.
"Ree, the previous head moderator of Showtime, has recently confessed she has spent the remaining Showtime funds of $27,625.10 CAD," reads a post the Showtime Twitter account published on Thursday. The post continues: "She has been lying to the moderation team, going so far as to reassure individual mods that nothing had been stolen and provide misleading and out of date banking screenshots to suggest all funds were available. Ree only confessed that she had spent the funds on personal use when she had entirely depleted the funds and could no longer fulfill the other moderators' requests for postage funds."
After one of the project contributors alleged the money had been spent on Genshin Impact, Ree confirmed to GamesRadar that she had spent some of the funds on the gacha game alongside food, rent, and other "frivolous products" like plushies and zines. Showtime stated that Ree paid back $3,000 CAD of the funds by taking out a loan.
The Showtime group's statement explained that it had shipped roughly half of the pre-ordered issues of the Zine up to this point, with 805 orders shipped and another 763 yet to be fulfilled. At that point, Showtime had exhausted the funds it needed to ship the remaining orders.
The remaining Showtime moderators quickly relaunched on a new site and held a fundraiser over the weekend, stating "proceeds will be used to fulfill fundraiser orders/all outstanding Etsy pre-orders, to reimburse project expenses mods have paid out-of-pocket (pro rata), and any other necessary project expenses. Any remaining funds will be divided among contributors as originally intended."
Apparently it went extremely well, bringing in another 750 zine orders and enough donations for the group to pay more contributors to help fulfill orders.
WE REACHED OUR GOAL! Thank you all so very much!The text only version of our announcement will be written below: pic.twitter.com/9a5NUT6lC6June 27, 2022
You can still snag a digital copy of the zine, alongside a range of buttons and stickers, on the Showtime Big Cartel shop until July 1st.