Organizer of Harry Potter "scam" events in Canada responds to backlash (VIDEO)
The owner of LOL Event Group, a company that drew the wrath of Harry Potter fans over a lacklustre event in Montreal last month, is defending himself against accusations that he scammed attendees.
Dylan Vanas posted a video to YouTube on Wednesday where he apologizes for the disappointing event and announces he’ll donate $2,000 of the profits to J.K. Rowling’s Charity. But not before likening angry event guests to “Death Eaters” and saying he won’t be issuing refunds.
LOL Event Group threw a wizard-themed party at Montreal’s Rialto Theatre on November 15, but the specialty drinks, food, magic wands, and entertainment promised in the event’s description didn’t materialize.
Disappointed guests posted photos of the chopsticks meant to be magic wants and grocery store appetizers to social media, and the story was picked up by international media.
A YouTuber accused LOL Event Group of scamming her, and other angry guests formed a Facebook group to vent and swap tips for getting refunds. When many had trouble receiving refunds, it fuelled sentiment that LOL Event Group had cheated them.
“Some people have even threatened me and my family,” Vanas said in the YouTube video.
He goes on to admit the event had shortcomings, though he blames them on “extenuating circumstances.”
In the end, he says he has $2,000 worth of “profit available” he’s donating to Lumos Foundation. It’s a charity started by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling that helps orphaned children.
Vanas says he’s not able to offer refunds because he already paid for the venue and vendors. He explains the charitable donation is simpler than offering refunds because it would be “impossible to decide who would and who wouldn’t get one.”
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But some YouTube commenters who attended the Montreal event aren’t having any of it.
“I can’t believe you’re still blaming ‘our expectations’ of the event. My only expectations were to have exactly what was promised in the event description,” Karina Cesta wrote.
“The decorations, drinks and ‘entertainment’ was less than what you’d see at a monthly high school dance,” wrote Steven Hayes.
LOL Event Group is still planning further events, including an arcade-themed bar night in Vancouver on January 18.