Over the years, a number of lies about Axanar have been promoted by a small but vocal group of detractors who call themselves Axamonitor. This group of toxic fans have bullied, harassed, stalked and even assaulted Alec Peters and Crysstal Hubbard in public. Their leader for a time, Shawn O’Halloran, was even found guilty of stalking in a Georgia court and a protective order was issued against him.
Clearly behavior like this has no place in fandom, or even civilized society, but this group’s worst offense has been spreading lies in a vain attempt to destroy Axanar and see that no more Axanar is made.
In the Star Trek The next Generation episode “The First Duty”, we learn from Captain Picard, that the first duty of any Starfleet officer is to the truth, and so we are writing this article to debunk five BIG LIES toxic fans use to attack Axanar.
1) Axanar was sued because it tried to make money on Star Trek
THE TRUTH: Axanar was sued for only one reason, it was too good.
When CBS and Paramount sued Axanar and Alec Peters in 2015, it was for one reason only; a reason CBS and Paramount lawyers stated in settlement talks, in depositions, and to a Federal Judge. CBS and Paramount claimed they sued Axanar because it was “Too good”. In fact, Jonathan Anschel, the General Counsel of CBS at the time, was asked why they sued Axanar, when Star Trek Continues and Star Trek New Voyages, were violating way more CBS IP, including using characters, costumes, sets, music and basically imitating Star Trek The Original Series down to the tiniest detail! Why sue Axanar? Jonathan Anschel’s answer was “No one is going to confuse them for real Star Trek.” He went on to say that our product was so good that they felt that people would confuse it with an official CBS product.
But you can’t sue someone for being “too good”. So they sued us for copyright infringement. They then settled with Axanar in 2017.
2) Axanar tried to make a for-profit studio with donor money.
THE TRUTH: Axanar never tried to make a for-profit studio.
When our team decided to rent a building and build sets, we looked for months for the right building, finally deciding on one in Valencia, CA, about 30 minutes north of Hollywood. We had to sign a 3 year lease on the building, so it was hoped that after we finished Axanar, we could rent out the studio to pay the rent, and continue to make fan film projects. So we built the studio to a standard that would allow us to rent the building out. There was never any intention of making a profit from any Star Trek IP, or use Donor money for anything other than what it would take to make Axanar.
In fact now, Ares Studios is a 501(c)3 public charity focused on film maker education and animal rescue!
3) Money was misappropriated or used for personal expenses
THE TRUTH: All $1.4M raised for Axanar was accounted for in detailed financials approved by two sets of accountants, our attorneys and an independent financial review committee.
Alec Peters didn’t take any reimbursements for any expenses and in fact has put in over $200,000 of his own money to keep this project alive. In addition, when former director Robert Meyer Burnett took over $30,000 of donor funds and refused to pay it back, Alec Peters covered this theft of donor money himself, so donors were not affected.
4) Nothing has been accomplished since the lawsuit was settled.
THE TRUTH: The only people saying this are either haven’t followed the progress of the team since the lawsuit was settled or are lying.
Since the lawsuit was settled in February 2017, the team has:
1. Moved our studio across the country.
2. Finished our bridge set.
3. Shot 5 days worth of footage on Axanar with 10 different cast members.
4. Established an online web store to aid in distribution of perks for donors and merchandise for fans.
5. Fulfilled 2/3 of the perks due donors.
6. Established a 501(c)3 charity and established a relationship with Atlanta high schools allowing students to film on our sets.
We are constantly updating our website and YouTube and using social media to get out the news on Axanar.
5) Axanar will never be made.
THE TRUTH: With over 5 shoot days already in the can, and 4 more planned, Axanar should be ready for release in 2023.
1. The Axanar team has about 40% of the footage it needs already in the can.
2. One of the top VFX teams in Hollywood has volunteered to do all backgrounds and compositing for Axanar for free.
3. A total of 14 actors are a part of the next two episodes of Axanar.
4. We will be releasing two 15 minute episodes, in the format of Prelude to Axanar, in compliance with the CBS/Paramount Settlement Agreement.
5. The next two episodes will be every bit as good as Prelude to Axanar and finish the story of Garth of Izar.
One of the biggest problems we face is uninformed fans. While our loyal fans read our website, Follow our Facebook page, Follow our Twitter, watch our YouTube channel and read our Axanar Newsletter regularly, most fans do not, and so they sometimes believe whatever they read online (NEVER a good idea!). So please follow us on your social media platform of choice for all the latest news as it comes available!