After activating his fan base and getting them to donate money via a Kickstarter campaign, Leslie David Baker, a cast member of the popular sitcom “The Office” has decided to return the cash. The goal of the campaign was $300,000, but only a third will be distributed to his supporters.
In 2020, thousands of fans donated to the artist’s crowdfunding campaign to fund a potential spinoff project based on his character, Stanley Hudson. Baker said he will be giving back $110,629.81 to fans.
The Stanley Hudson character starred in all nine seasons of NBC’s popular sitcom “The Office.” The spinoff from the hit NBC show was to be called “Uncle Stan.”
The focal point of the show revolved around Stanley’s departure from retirement in Florida, his journey to Los Angeles, and his mission to assist his nephew in rescuing a nascent business that combined motorcycles and a flower shop.
Baker hoped to garner the support of the public, and through their contributions create a pilot and pitch assets. Through 1,640 donors, the campaign seemingly earned $336,450.
After not seeing any movement, some fans started to murmur. One person took to Twitter and called him a scammer.
“I learned today the actor that played Stanley on the office scammed people $300,00 with a promise of a spin-off featuring his character. I’ll never leave this site whatever it’s called,” the person tweeted.
In response to these allegations, Baker released a prepared statement on his Instagram.
“We apologize about the delay in updates. We have been working behind the scenes to get everything on track and rewards fulfilled,” he wrote.
“We are just as excited as all of you to get this project out and truly appreciate all of your patience and support,” Baker continued. “The project took longer than anticipated due to circumstances beyond our control.”
“Initial delays were caused because of the COVID lockdowns and pushed us back further than expected,” he explained. “As things started returning to normal and we commenced reward fulfillment and preproduction, the WGA strike was announced, causing us to put things on hold again. As you are all aware, SAG is now on strike, and we will continue to be on hold indefinitely until an agreement is reached. We stand in solidarity with those in the entertainment industry and will do our part in supporting WGA and SAG during these times.”
The actor also clarified the issue of how much the campaign raised.
“FYI, although the total funded amount shown on our Kickstarter campaign page was stated as $336,450.53, that was not the actual final amount we received,” Baker said. “A large portion of backers’ pledges were lowered or completely dropped and never collected once the campaign was completed. The final amount that we received from Kickstarter was exactly $110,629.81.”
Baker plans to proceed with the show and give the donors the promised perks after resolving the strikes, but for now, he’s opting to reimburse the backers while the project remains on indefinite hold.