In the latest development of the ongoing dispute, MAGFest and the six volunteer boards of directors have resigned. The news comes directly from a statement on the official MAGFest website. The new update is a result of concerns raised against the organization since November 2020. Below we have the full history and history of developments.
In a serious statement, the official website updated its community on the evolving controversy at MAGFest. In force, all six volunteer boards of directors immediately resigned from MAGFest. The organization has voted on three new boards of directors and promises much more information very soon. MAGFest said it would begin with “healing some deep wounds, introducing new leadership and transparency regarding everything that is moving forward”
Recognizing the “systemic problems” within MAGFest, the Board of Directors concluded that transferring leadership by introducing a “new community perspective” was the best course of action. All three new members have participated in MAGFest over the years. The new board of directors consists of:
- Carrie Snyder – Chairman of the Board, Advisory Working Group and Head of Arcade.
- Cody Wilson – Board Cashier and Member of the Finance Task Force, as well as a former Mega Man-a-Thon / magFAST showrunner.
- Jason Williams – Board Member, Advisory Working Group and Head of Console Department.
The three members were transparent, acknowledging that they were assigned the job. The new council said it would begin by reactivating a safe and frank conversation. The Council also acknowledged that MAGFest left its success to “blind” it to the concerns of its community. The organization asked for the support and patience of the fans, as it works to correct internal and external problems. The statement ended with a positive note that MAGFest 2022 will be better than ever.
MAGFest Chronology of controversy
On November 19, 2020, a website organization composed of regular MAGFest employees and volunteers, called Friends of MAGFest, went public. The purpose of this website was to “inform the community that MAGFest is facing an unprecedented, existential threat – the Board of Directors and the Executive Director of MAGFest”. According to the site, the charges have been filed privately many times before. The website expressed its concerns to the Board of Directors and the Executive Director as follows:
- Abuse of power by the board of directors and the executive director.
- Financial neglect of the organization.
- Poor management of the CEO by the board.
- Poor management of the organization by the executive director and the board.
- Verbal and emotional abuse by the CEO.
- Repeated and frank disregard for the wishes and desires of the community.
- Increasing the harmful environment without accountability.
- Rejection of all concerns raised privately.
- Revenge against those who have filed complaints.
Among the calls for action, the website called for the immediate removal of CEO Paul Birtel and three board members: Joel Athanasio, Jack Boyd and Eli Courtright. Shortly after it became public, the Board of Directors of MAGFest reached the website to reach a decision. Friends of MAGFest said that the Council listened sincerely and worked together to bring all parties to the best possible result.
As a result of these events, the MAGFest dispute escalated. Birtel CEO fired the event director and three other staff members, all of whom were members of Friends of MAGFest. Occurred on 28 December 2020, this decision divided the Council in terms of support. Therefore, MAGFest canceled its virtual event less than a month before it happened. The latest update is the resignation of the Board of Directors. Friends of MAGFest expressed their true support from the new members of the Management Board.
The Music and Games Festival (MAGFest) is an annual convention held in the Washington, DC area. In recent years, the organization has branched out to organize similar events in many places, such as MAGClassic, MAGWest and MAGLabs. We will keep our readers informed of future developments.