UcconX: How debts, cancellations and disorganization impacted the event in SP | Pop & Art

When it started being promoted to journalists and the public in October 2021, UcconX promised to be “the biggest pop culture festival in Latin America”. As soon as it started last Wednesday (27) in São Paulo (SP), the event was the subject of accusations of labor debts, had the presence of two of its main guests canceled and went viral on Twitter for images of an empty place and with few attractions.

To g1, five people, who worked on organizing the convention before the sale to the current owners, and a consultant reported months of back pay – with amounts ranging from R$20,000 to R$129,000 – and empty promises to the company. team and the public.

Among the basic problems for a fair of this type was the difficulty in getting big attractions. According to them, in January there was still no name to be announced – something different from when some of them joined the project.

Hugo Melo says he moved from Recife (PE) to the capital of São Paulo to work at the organization and started in July 2021. “They made a lot of promises. They said that they even had a contract closed with Chris Hemsworth”, he says, about the actor who once again plays the Norse god of Marvel in “Thor: Love and Thunder” (2022).

The former employees entered the company at different times as legal entities (PJs), all between June 2021 and January 2022, and now file lawsuits to receive back wages.

They say they were attracted by the chance to enter the pop culture field. Therefore, they continued to work “with no time to leave”, even after wages stopped being paid in November.

“The recurring excuse is that the money was in a fund at Safra and they couldn’t withdraw”, says Melo.

UcconX kept the plan to split into six parts in the Anhembi Complex — Photo: Disclosure

November was also the month of another sign that things were going wrong. The organization insisted on opening a pre-sale, before any attractions were hired or the sales site was ready.

Six tickets were sold. “The structure was not ready. So there was a problem in each of the sales”, says Rafaela Guerra, who was hired for the social media position in the same month and, therefore, did not receive a single salary.

After many promises that payments would come, the situation changed at a meeting in January 2022 called by the owners of the event organizer. In its membership, UcconX Marketing Ltda. has Luciano Martinez and brothers Wagner Gustavo Gonçalves Ventura and Nivaldo Gomes Ventura Junior.

At the meeting, the then employees say that they heard from their bosses that they were not a priority for receiving salaries. With that, they left the company without an official breach of contract.

“At this meeting, they basically told us to continue working for love. They wanted us to continue generating content, but without content to produce”, says illustrator Derick Guilherme, who uses the stage name “DerickRed”.

One employee, who asked not to be identified, says she spent months charging Martinez directly. The messages exchanged by the two were shown to g1.

The g1 contacted Martinez, who did not respond until the publication of this report.

With so many problems, the partners sold the event to BBL, a group in the games and eSports market. According to the UcconX event advisor, the acquisition took place in November – the same month in which the former employees stopped receiving their salaries –, but “began operating in February”.

Guilherme was one of those who received contact from a BBL representative months after leaving. He says that he had criticized the organization on social media, and that other people with similar behavior were also remembered.

The idea was that the company would mediate an agreement with the previous owners. According to him, the amount was well below what he should receive, but he decided to accept it. The first of the four installments was paid, he erased his criticisms, and then he received nothing more.

The former employee says the same thing happened to her. A value far below the original contract and payment of only the first installment. “They’re gone,” she says.

Asked if there was an explanation for the purchase to have taken place in the same month that the employees stopped receiving, the press office responded only with the official statement about the debts and agreements.

“BBL, a one-stop-shop company that has been operating in the games and esports market since 2018, as soon as it became aware of the situation of non-payment, made itself available to former employees to intermediate agreements with the former owners, but always leaving Of course, it had no responsibility related to the former administration.Some agreements were even negotiated, but at no time did BBL appear as a party.

It is worth noting that the purchase operation was limited only to the brand, which means that the company acquired the intellectual property of UcconX (Universal Creators Conference Experience) plus the rights related to the relevant contracts with Anhembi. BBL has no responsibility regarding the former management of the event.”

Reviews and cancellations

Millie Bobby Brown in a scene from the fourth season of ‘Stranger Things’ – Photo: Disclosure

From January until the beginning of the first edition of UcconX, some of the former employees criticized the organization on social networks, but they only started to receive greater attention from this Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, the event announced that “Stranger Things” actress Millie Bobby Brown and “Star Trek” star George Takei would no longer be coming to the country. Even the announcement of the cancellation of the attractions suffered disagreements.

First, it was reported that they both had Covid. The ad was deleted shortly afterwards. In a video posted by partners from the event throughout the afternoon, the actor stated that it was actually her husband who had been diagnosed with the disease and regretted the situation.

Only at the end of the day, the organization said that Brown would not come because of “professional commitments” and that there had been “a mistake”.

Anyone who had a ticket to an event with one of these actors, such as taking a picture with them, would automatically be transferred to another attraction. The event also stated that it would be possible to request a refund.

Tickets are sold for between R$ 125 (half, on the first day) and R$ 5,400. Among the attractions that have not canceled are actors Ian Somerhalder (“Vampire Diaries”), who was at the fair on Thursday and Friday, and Dacre Montgomery (“Stranger Things”) and Rupert Grint (“Harry Potter”), scheduled for Saturday. (30) and Sunday (31).

Procon determined that the company needs to inform, until August 5, “how many tickets were sold and for what reasons the event with the actors was cancelled”. The entity also requested evidence of when the organizers became aware of the impossibility of the actors’ participation.

The Artists’ Alley at UcconX — Photo: Luiz Henrique Albuquerque/Personal Collection

UcconX didn’t just have problems with its main attractions. The event also struggled to populate its Artists’ Alley, a traditional area for this type of convention that brings together illustrators and other artists. There, they can exhibit and sell their products, in addition to getting closer to the public.

In Complexo do Anhembi, where the fair takes place, the space had 32 tables. According to artists who have been there since Wednesday, the number of exhibitors has never exceeded seven.

Many veteran artists were not particularly attracted to the upfront fee charged by the organization. In the beginning, the idea was for Artists’ Alley participants to pay R$800 per table and a fee of 30% of their income at the event.

After criticism, the rate dropped to 5%, but interest was still small. Illustrator Luiz Henrique Albuquerque says that this was still the price charged in May. He applied, but with no real interest.

This would be his Monday of its kind, but he still thought the price was high. The situation has only changed recently.

About a week before the start of UcconX, organizers warned that they would not charge the R$800 – but that artists should still use the convention’s wristband system to charge the public.

In this way, they must receive what they can collect, minus the 5%, within 60 days. This waiting period can be shortened to 5 days if they agree to pay a new 1.2% fee.

According to the press office, however, the amounts charged only go to the fair’s ticket office, FutebolCard, and “the event has no participation in these percentages”.

With the movement weak on the first day, Albuquerque says he only intends to return on the weekend, which is usually busier.

The illustrator Coralina Santos went to every day and says that the fifth had an even smaller audience, but that this Friday it got better.

“For me it’s worth it,” she says. “I managed to sell and people seem to be interested in our area, despite the structure not being as we imagined and having few artists.”

About Hrishikesh Bhardwaj

Tv specialist. Falls down a lot. Typical troublemaker. Hipster-friendly advocate. Food fan.

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