The Walking Dead stars are permanently pulling out of Walker Stalker Con, the formerly worldwide Walking Dead-themed convention that recently announced it will be exclusive to Atlanta, Georgia, after 2020. In a tweet published Monday, star Khary Payton said it’s “time to shut this sh-t down,” confirming co-stars Norman Reedus, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride and Cooper Andrews are “not coming” when the convention returns over Halloween weekend in 2020. The exodus comes days after Walker Stalker creator James Frazier resigned as CEO in the wake of a “problematic” Walker Stalker Atlanta 2019, where TWD star Angel Theory was reportedly “verbally assaulted” by a member of the convention’s security staff.
“I’m not coming. Norman’s not coming. Melissa’s not coming. Danai’s not coming. Cooper’s not coming. Confirming more... Time to shut this shit down,” Payton tweeted Monday, adding the hashtag “sick of it.”
I’m not coming.— Khary Payton (@kharypayton) October 28, 2019
Norman’s not coming.
Melissa’s not coming.
Danai’s not coming.
Cooper’s not coming.
Time to shut this shit down. #sickofit #WSC@bigbaldhead @mcbridemelissa @DanaiGurira @smugo https://t.co/P1PVM6HwkY
“Hard to believe something that started off so well could end up this sideways,” Payton wrote in a subsequent tweet. “We’ll figure out a new conduit to see you guys but this has to stop.”
In response to Payton’s declaration, Andrews tweeted, “I’m not coming.”
In June, both Payton and Andrews announced they would be pulling out of all Walker Stalker and FanFest conventions.
“After a lot of consideration, I’ve decided to no longer attend Walker Stalker/FanFest conventions. I’m sure we’ll have opportunities to meet each other at different events but at this time, I think it’s best to take a bow and walk away,” Payton wrote in a post published to Instagram. “I have met some great people through WSC and I can’t wait to find you out in the world soon. My unlimited love to you all.”
Andrews said in a separate post Walker Stalker and Fan Fest shows are “not the best place” for the star to interact with TWD fans.
“I’m also pulling out of ALL Walker Stalker/FanFest shows for the foreseeable future. I LOVE meeting all of you, but as far as I’m concerned, Walker Stalker is not the best place for me to do that,” Andrews wrote. “I don’t write this easily, but I’ve been listening to my gut for as long as I remember and I’m not gonna start ignoring it now. I’ll see you all in other conventions! And of course, there will be cobbler.”
Taking to Instagram live over the summer, Theory said Andrews is “not the only one that feels some type of way about Walker Stalker.” Theory said the convention failed to pay its talent.
“One thing I can say is I genuinely enjoyed my time doing it, I love getting to engage with the fans and talk to you guys and get to meet y’all and take goofy, silly photos, it’s supposed to be a fun thing. It’s supposed to be fun for the both of us — for the fans and for the actors themselves,” Theory said. “However, it is not fun when it comes to not getting paid from the Walker Stalker company, what is owed to the actors. Just like you guys, y’all not getting y’all refunds back, the actors are not getting paid.”
When announcing his resignation, Frazier said maintaining the conventions “became too much and beyond my capabilities.”
“Today, I’m turning it over to new leadership and stepping down. I will no longer have any decisions in the direction of the company and it’s daily management,” Frazier wrote in a social media post (via AJC). “I will make sure that they are up to speed on each and every issue and make myself available to assist them in any way that would help them succeed.”
Interim CEO Michael DeVault subsequently told AJC “rumors of this company’s demise are greatly exaggerated,” adding “there is a tremendous future in store for Fan Fest events.”
TWD star Nadine Marissa detailed Theory’s problematic experience at Walker Stalker Con Atlanta earlier this month, claiming Frazier failed to deescalate Theory’s “very disturbing” situation after a security guard sparked an altercation over Theory’s service dog. Marissa also criticized the convention for not providing Theory, a member of the deaf/hard-of-hearing community, with an American Sign Language interpreter.