Did Harry Knowles Fleece His Fans with His Kickstarter?

It's his prop and you can look but don't touch

It’s his prop and you can look but don’t touch

On September 5, 2013, Harry Knowles successfully funded his Kickstarter campaign to pay for a second season of his web series movie review show, Ain’t It Cool with Harry Knowles. Harry is the founder of Ain’t It Cool News, a movie news, gossip and review site and he was given season one of the show as part of Nerdist’s then-new channel with YouTube. The show never got very good viewership (over a year later, the majority of episodes have less than 20,000 views). Harry is an awkward interviewer who used the show to frequently brag about props and guests but also presented an off-putting show that played like Pee Wee’s Playhouse but with vulgar language. It was all over the place.

While some of Nerdist’s lesser-viewed shows currently get 30,000 or so views, those have much lower production costs. And many of their shows get more than 1 million views. So Harry’s show was canceled (or not renewed, if we want to be nice). Harry was determined to keep doing his show despite critics and fans alike not really liking it. He offered a Kickstarter with some pretty terrible rewards and it floundered for a full month. In the last week, Harry called in favors from film directors Rian Johnson, Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro who made videos and reached out to social media to ask their fans to support Harry. He crossed the goal line at the last minute. It’s been over half a year – has he fulfilled his obligations? Well, we’ll list the facts and let you draw your own conclusions.

THE FACTS:

#1 There have been no updates to the Kickstarter campaign since it was successfully completed

You can check it out for yourself by clicking here. Neither Harry nor anyone on his team have put any kind of official update up on the status of the project. That’s not very encouraging. You can also look at the Comments section and see a lot of people asking what’s up. There are a few replies but nothing concrete on when people can expect to see what they paid for. One reply says they’ve finished 7 episodes but there are no official updates to back this up. This is even more frustrating for the backers who were promised exclusive updates about the status. According to many on both the Kickstarter page and in various forums, they’ve received no such updates.

Harry shows off all the cool STUFF he has

Harry shows off all the cool STUFF he has

#2 There have been no updates on the site or social media

Harry hasn’t posted a single thing to his website, Twitter account, or Instagram about the status of the show. If he’s working on something that takes up so much time, why no mention anywhere about what he’s creating?

Harry requires a massive crew to film him in closeup talking about what he's up to

Harry requires a massive crew to film him in closeup talking about what he’s up to

#3 According to the Hollywood Reporter, Harry Knowles owed $300K in back taxes

If you read this article, you’ll see that Harry has not been wise about managing his finances. Harry claims to have paid off that debt but can his fans who backed his Kickstarter campaign know that for sure? He hasn’t released any records to back the claim up. To make matters worse, the Kickstarter campaign never broke down where any of the funding went specifically. He asked for $100,000 from his fans to make some web episodes. Why can excellent web series/review shows like Red Letter Media and Angry Video Game Nerd produce top-notch shows for free and Harry needs $100,000? It’s not addressed. If I funded his campaign, I’d want to see the accounting.

I don't know what he's doing here

I don’t know what he’s doing here

#4 Harry bought himself a new car

Harry mostly only posts about movies he’s seen, but in December, he posted this tweet about buying a new car estimated at $24-28K. He sure is okay with throwing his money around when he’s being watched. Maybe that’s a good sign. But he should probably consider explaining why he can afford a new car but not afford his own web show.

He never moves

He never moves

#5 Rewards still haven’t been distributed

According to people in updates to the Kickstarter page, talkbackers on Harry’s site and supporters talking about the project in this Kickstarter forum about fraud, many people haven’t been given their backer rewards yet. They were due, at the latest, last December.

What a fun set - a dank basement!

What a fun set – a dank basement!

All in all, things don’t look good for those who supported this project. As soon as it was about to be funded, Harry changed the project by announcing it would air on Austin, TX’s local PBS station. That wasn’t quite what people thought they were funding and the legality of it is iffy. But even so, you’d think that would help drive things forward. Harry already had his set and he claimed to have several interviews in the bag. When people like Red Letter Media can make two shows on a roughly weekly schedule, both about half an hour each, reviewing films – why can’t Harry get even one episode done over 6 months later with $100,000?


  • Skewed_View

    I’m sure everything is on the up and up. Everything I’ve ever heard about Harry makes him sound like a really stand-up guy, chalk full of business ethics and morals.

  • http://www.doubledumbassonyou.com doubledumbass

    Harry lives so loudly on the Internet bragging about his collections and interactions with directors and stars but for him to be completely silent about this Kickstarter campaign is highly suspicious. I’ve been following this closely for a while now and while the Talkbackers have never been truly kind to Harry but I am definitely starting to lean on the side of “he fleeced everyone”.

  • Dracula

    Harry Knowles is as duplicitous and greedy as he is fat and revolting. Harsh but true. The second season of his show will NOT appear and the money donated will go to more of the garbage he raves about and to his legal fees, which are only going to continue to mount when this Kickstarter fraud situation goes unanswered.

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  • JonSnowBalls

    Last I saw they said something about submitting it to their local PBS for approval. Will this no longer be put on Youtube? It doesn’t cost anything to upload to Youtube so I do not understand that decision, if that’s the case. I don’t see how this guy isn’t facing charges.

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  • Queefer Sutherland

    I laugh at those foolish enough to donate.

  • CancellingtheApocalypse

    those interviews already in the bag are going to be dated as hell. I like how Harry has a typo on his twitter about dealorship when it is spelled dealership. 5 comments on this article? Wow, aintitcool has way more in their talk back. This article is hilarious and spot on but maybe envious of Harry’s 100 plus comments per article to this pages average of 4 comments per article

  • AL Swrgn

    BECAUSE HE’S FAT. FAT IN THE BRAIN. FAT IN THE SOUL. WEAKLING LIKE HIS FATHER.

  • http://www.fuckyouyounosybastard.com HapHazzard

    Jon, he’s not facing charges because it’s not a criminal matter yet, if it ever will be. You know this. Stating it’s a fraud when you have no proof either way at the moment doesn’t make it so.
    Harry is a jerk, and irresponsible, and in terms of ethics and morals, well, I’m sure he’s heard of the concepts but he never signed up to them apparently. This we all know. And I fully suspect that only a portion of the money funded is being used to make the show, which it looks like he’s cobbling together at the last minute on the very cheap if the pics he’s released are anything to go by. But until you actually have the detailed bank accounts showing where the money went, you’ve got no proof in terms of a criminal complaint. All it is right now is a breach of kickstarter conditions for his failures to update and fulfill, and at best there’s some scope for civil action from those who donated. But until all of that’s been explored fully, the police won’t touch it. It’s the nature of the beast.

  • XXXZOOM!

    Over a year latter and still nothing has changed.

  • Monroville

    (Sigh) If someone stole/ borrowed/ was involved with the “disappearance” of $100,000+ that would be considered a crime. Now before one can be CHARGED with a crime, an investigation would need to be done to determine if fraud was committed.

    So to say there is no proof is usually where investigations start: you have a suspicion due to suspicious activity.. you then get things like warrants to search locations or audit bank accounts and records, whereupon you then move step-by-step to determine if a crime has been committed, and then if an indictment should be issued.

    Kickstarter is a charity. People contributed for a charity. If Harold spent the money on anything OTHER than the specified charity, that is fraud. How will one know if Harold did that? By the same exact methods police have been using to investigate financial fraud for a few decades to close to a century.

  • Chuck Tatum, Nightrider!

    I was very vocal about this for sometime on AICN, At first I only asked legitimate questions on the status of the kickstarter show
    and asked for some updates, things got heated very fast as I was attacked by Harry & staff using alias Disqus accounts
    only to end up getting permanently banned & all my posts deleted.

    I never got a single answer to any question, so if this is all on the up & up, why shut me me up?
    and erase the entire history of my questions?

    There was a post a few months ago on the Kickstarter site, stating that the show’s official site was updated
    with a preview of the second series, but this was not true!
    Everything on the site is old & from the first season, photos, a video & news, all old & not a single update.
    so just more lies.

  • Chuck Tatum, Nightrider!

    Has anyone contacted PBS to see if they in fact, really do intend to air the show?

  • http://www.fuckyouyounosybastard.com HapHazzard

    (Sigh). Someone doesn’t know how police deal with reports, evidently. If it was a straight out deal, a person fleeced a bunch of people directly for 100 grand, yeah the police would take it as a fraud and investigate soon as reported. This isn’t that. This is a “potential” fraud that was done via a third party organization that has civil remedies for resolving disputes BEFORE authorities become involved. You take this to the police and say it’s a kickstarter “fraud”, first questions they’ll ask will revolve around whether it has been reported to kickstarters own dispute resolution administration. If the answer is no, that’s what they’ll tell you to do before they can investigate it as a fraud. IF you’ve already done that and there’s been no information or resolution that’s satisfactory from the “suspect”, that’s when the police will take it as a crime report and look into it. Next time you want to sound so informed and condescending, actually have a clue about what you’re talking about. One of us works in this field, and it isn’t you I can very clearly tell.

  • SlamDancer, P.I.

    I posted this on AICN last night, it was deleted a few minutes later & I was banned from the website the next day!
    I guess Harry Knowles really doesn’t want people to know this.

    “I have been following this freak show for a while now & can’t help but see red flags everywhere.
    If the AICN show (season two) with Harry is finished & in the can, why is it not listed on the IMDb page, he did with season one?
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt21

    Harry has repeatedly said he has no connection with “Ain’t We Cool Productions, LLC” & the Kickstarter project
    outside of being on camera talent, then why is he the first person mentioned in the Kickstarter Bio
    of “Ain’t We Cool Productions, LLC”
    https://www.kickstarter.com/pr
    be sure to click on the full bio for production staff credits.

    An April 19th 2014 update on the Kickstarter page stated:

    “Creator Ain’t We Cool Productions, LLC
    on April 19, 2014

    Dear Supporters,
    We have nearly 6 episodes in the can as promised.
    And we’ve been posting numerous set photos, clips and other news on our websites with more official updates to follow.
    Thank you again & again for your incredible support & please stay tuned.
    Much Love,
    AICwHK”

    So where are those updates? the only one I could find was:

    Ain’t It Cool with Harry Knowles shared a link from his facebook account on March 12 2014 “Beau Willimon Excerpt AICwHK”

    “March 12
    Here is a sneak peek at one of our brand new episodes, where Harry got to
    sit down with the creator/writer of, “House of Cards.” Pretty cool,
    huh?”

    But this interview with “Beau Willimon” is old unused footage from season one & you can clearly see the old basement set
    from season one, so Harry posting this as a preview of season two is being disingenuous to say the least!

    I could find no other updates, photos or videos posted anywhere & the official AICNwHK show website has not been updated
    with any season two photos etc. it only shows old pics from season one.

    Harry has also said the show is done & set to air on PBS Austin before the end of 2014
    so what are the projected airdates? this is just a little more then two months away.

    Can anyone in Harry’s camp, please just answer these questions?
    because just what the fuck are you doing?”

  • http://tysonatthemovies.blogspot.com/ Paul and Michael Jordan

    Don’t fuck with harry he is my friend.

  • http://tysonatthemovies.blogspot.com/ Paul and Michael Jordan

    That’s a comment full of lies.

  • http://tysonatthemovies.blogspot.com/ Paul and Michael Jordan

    Look dude, Harry is in the right you are just jealous.

  • http://tysonatthemovies.blogspot.com/ Paul and Michael Jordan

    Don’t sigh again.

  • http://tysonatthemovies.blogspot.com/ Paul and Michael Jordan

    Don’t Be MEAN.

  • http://tysonatthemovies.blogspot.com/ Paul and Michael Jordan

    Yeah right dude.

  • http://tysonatthemovies.blogspot.com/ Paul and Michael Jordan

    Foolish for liking some one? You are inhuman.

  • http://tysonatthemovies.blogspot.com/ Paul and Michael Jordan

    Goodwood

  • Queefer Sutherland

    I make one little comment and you classify me as INHUMAN? Your standards are inhuman.

  • SlamDancer, P.I.

    Don’t call me dude.

  • http://tysonatthemovies.blogspot.com/ Paul and Michael Jordan

    I think you can be a good time to time and money. You are currently in a while. How are you going to be a good. I have a great day. It is a good day at the end, and I am sorry to hear about the same. The only one who can make it to the top right corner of your choice. I have a good idea.

  • http://tysonatthemovies.blogspot.com/ Paul and Michael Jordan

    Ok dude. I am a very long time, but I am sorry to hear about your business. We will be by to see you there is a good day, I am a big difference. If I had to be in the future of the most important thing in the world. The first one is not an intended for a long time. I have a good day, I am not a big difference between a rock star hotel is unable to find out if they are going through the use of this tag is a good time for me. However.

  • http://www.doubledumbassonyou.com doubledumbass

    If you take criticizing Harry for his lack of transparency about his Kirkstarter which was fully funded OVER A YEAR AGO without making good on his promises as “fucking with him” … then yes I will continue to fuck with him.

  • Queefer Sutherland

    Exactly!

  • http://tysonatthemovies.blogspot.com/ Paul and Michael Jordan

    I think you should have been a while, but I don’t think I have to work tonight and tomorrow. I will be by to pick up the good old days, the first place. I will be by 84. I will call.

  • http://tysonatthemovies.blogspot.com/ Paul and Michael Jordan

    I am a beautiful person. I have a great day. I have a great day, I was just as the best of all the time. It was a great day.

  • http://tysonatthemovies.blogspot.com/ Paul and Michael Jordan

    I think I 5th grade and a half years, the only one that has been the same. If you want me to.

  • Queefer Sutherland

    Again, I couldn’t agree with you more.

  • http://tysonatthemovies.blogspot.com/ Paul and Michael Jordan

    Oh stop it!

  • Queefer Sutherland

    No, YOU stop it!

  • http://tysonatthemovies.blogspot.com/ Paul and Michael Jordan

    We might be a good. I am a beautiful person. I was a good idea. I am sorry for the first time in the future.

  • Queefer Sutherland

    I accept your apology.