Just read this, amazing what happens:
Sir Ian McKellen has warned fans of an impersonator who has been deceiving autograph hunters.
The perpetrator had worn a cap and a mask over his face to disguise himself as the Lord of the Rings star at an “official signing” that swindled 400 fans out of money.
It is reported that fans had paid between £75 and £100 to have their possessions autographed by McKellen in Canary Wharf.
Organisers of the signing event were made to wait outside while the ersatz McKellen signed the items, which were then given the official “Beckett” stamp of authenticity and shipped to fans.
However, fans noticed something awry with the penmanship and started complaining to the event’s organisers, Smugglers Entertainments Ltd.
After the real McKellen was contacted, he issued a statement on Twitter to fans confirming that the event was a hoax.
“I have been made aware that a man impersonating me and two women posing as my representatives have recently approached a promoter in Kent with the offer of a ‘private signing’ by Ian McKellen,” he said.
“I am very sorry for anyone who has sent in photos and items to be signed by this fraudulent impersonator.”
He added that the promoter had offered to make refunds to the fans who had been defrauded “as soon as possible”.
“To be clear, I have never attended paid signings,” McKellen continued. “I do sign for charity and individuals who submit items directly to me.”
The actor’s Twitter bio has also now been updated to read: “Beware of imposters who try to gain confidence.”
As one of the victims of this charade, I can attest that it is becoming more and more clear that the hoaxer was the promoter himself; the impersonator story appears to have been a cover for the promoter once customers began to deem the "signed" items as fraudulent and proceeded to demand refunds. While some refunds have been granted, the larger issuer is that many high value items, incl. multi-signed posters, were sent in for this signing and were subsequently ruined with bogus signatures The promoter, i.e. Smuggler's, is claiming that he is out of money and unable to return packages, concocting various stories as to the extended delays. In my case, in order to throw off the scent for a while, he forwarded a tracking number that turned out to be for a package sent to a different address that I dutifully followed for a week! More to come.
I won’t make any accusations, but the story about an impersonator showing up disguised in a hat and doing the signing sounded absurd on the face of it.
Such a shame and so sorry it's happened as it will make people think twice in future. How they thought they would get away with it without anyone asking questions is bizarre
I would like to get a better understanding of how and why Beckett certified these. Was the Beckett rep waiting outside the venue?
I'm sure the Beckett reps will speak to their role in due time. For now, the story was that there was no Beckett witness on hand. The promoter had sent an update prior to the signing day that due to social distancing there would only a skeleton crew of one handling the event, with no photos allowed. A red flag right there, but too late in the game with items already shipped. Anyway, after the items were "signed" the images were scanned to Beckett for review. Once approved, the promoter then had a volunteer to affix the authentication labels. My understanding is that Beckett has taken steps to remove the item numbers from their database, but there is no way to verify to what extent this has been accomplished. Those that were returned to customers are certainly out there. I'm attaching a pic of a "signed" photo from the event here.
I agree, not a good look, you are supposed to have faith that all are witnessed before they affix the sticker etc
Why Ian McKellen? It looks like whoever signed the items didn’t even spell his name correctly.
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