Persona 5 fan zine founder syphons roughly $21,000 of raised funds – allegedly into Genshin Impact

The team behind Showtime – a popular fan zine based on Persona 5 have released a statement announcing that a now-former member of the team has allegedly syphoned $27,625 CAD (roughly $21,303 USD) project funds into personal purchases. These purchases, according to one project member on Twitter, were for Genshin Impact.

Showtime is a fan Zine (basically a smaller, independent form of magazine) that started back in 2020 and sold 1,517 copies of the product over Etsy to global fans of the popular Atlus RPG. It has since become a project that 28 illustrators, five merch artists, and six writers all contributed to. The member of staff – Ree – who seems to have taken the money was the founder of the zine, and had previous experience with other similar projects.

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While the remaining members of the team have sought legal counsel on the matter, it appears that there’s little hope to regain lost funds due to a variety of reasons. According to the official statement released via the SHOWTIME twitter account, “We immediately sought legal counsel and received the last correspondence from an attorney just last night, June 22, and are unfortunately unable to take legal action against her to recoup the funds; like all zines, the moderators do not hold formal contracts with Ree, and all money was processed directly through Ree’s Etsy and bank accounts”.

They do, however, state on Twitter via their official account that “The customers, however, are owed a product and if Ree, the sole proprietor, cannot fulfil that, customers may seek legal action against Ree.” Individual “customer legal counsel” is also suggested in the official statement.

One attached to the project – Zoe (Twitter user Zubatzo) – claimed that this money was spent on Genshin Impact. We reached out to ask how they knew this information, and whether the entirety was spent on the Gacha RPG, but as of publishing they did not respond.

As for the current state of SHOWTIME, another member of staff have taken the reins for handling the zine’s finances. They are currently unable to process refunds to those still waiting for their orders on Etsy, and have prompted those looking for their money back to email Ree directly and request their money back. They’re also running a fundraiser to try and recoup the lost funds.

The reaction from fans and spectators is a mix of sympathy and confusion – both at why no legal documents were written up for SHOWTIME as well as how exactly someone could spend so much money on Genshin Impact. In response to anger at why no contracts were in play – Zoe stated that “I’m so mad these 17-25 year olds didn’t draft a legally binding and internationally enforceable contract for my yaoi fan book!” – making light of the perspective.

We also reached out to Ree via email for comment, to which we have recieved no reply as of the time of writing.

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