It's definitely a sad day for collectors and fans of the Star Wars franchise. Like Jared mentioned, I'm embarrassed to be associated with this hobby right now, and will likely be cancelling my Hyperspace subscription as well. There's just no way I feel morally right supporting anything that has to do with businessman extraordinaire, Phillip Wise, which obviously covers his mindless lapdog Dustin.
Josh, I think you're missing a number of key points with this thing, and it looks like you missed some very valid points while you were away today as well. First and foremost now, is the fact that Dustin probably shouldn't have even been eligible for the contest based on the rules set forth (official affiliates of LFL, etc...). Obviously we all know that he works for RS and TFn, which as Phillip himself pointed out today, are both affiliates of SWS.com, and other official SW licensees, but even moreso, Dustin has worked for Official Pix on at least several occasions, and they're pretty damned affiliated at this point, most folks think. For Phillip to suggest that Dustin "only volunteers at RS/TFn and isn't even involved with Official Pix" is as much a joke as Phillip reiterating ad nauseum that the whole contest is "just for fun". What a complete ******* liar that guy is, and it's sad to watch him bury himself deeper and deeper every time he repeats it (like he did a couple more times this afternoon). Anyway, that was a very big point that the RS members were addressing, even moreso when Phillip flat-out admitted that they were affiliated, and that he was also getting a financial cut from all the subscriptions Dustin "sold" (like most of us already knew).
Obviously, the other huge question is WTF ever happend to USCwannabe? Some type of official announcement would certainly help matters, and the lack thereof just adds fuel to the fire, in that everyone's assuming even moreso that Phillip started throwing his weight around when the election results didn't go his way (as we all knew he would). Again, he's completely lied about not doing that either. What a joke.
Hell, maybe USCwannabe did cheat somehow, or didn't pass one of the background/history checks. Who knows? We'll probably never know, though pretty much all of us knew this entire scenario was a foregone conclusion as soon as we realized the Final Results were never going to get posted. Heck, I pretty much knew the moment that RS went tight-lipped on the whole matter, closing the various threads, and hiding most of the evidence of Dustin's running after he "lost". Prior to that, they were all throwing total shitfits about how crooked the whole thing was (especially Myatt). Then, all of the sudden, every last trace of Dustin's running disappeared. I have a feeling they'd already arranged the outcome way back then, hence the sudden silence, and lack of further complaining and diatribes. Yep, sure looks "un-crooked" now, no doubt. Of course Phillip totally lied again, by saying that they were just as in the dark all along as everyone else was. Heh.
Did Dustin run a better campaign? Probably. At least from what we could see publicly. Obviously everyone's already pointed out that the enormous resources available to him made for a very unfair advantage over any other candidates. Sure they did. Not necessarily their fault though. I concur that Dustin's devoted a fair amount of time, energy, and SW knowledge to get to where he is in the hobby today, so kudos to him for that. But another big thing that I take issue with is that Dustin was probably going to be down at Comic Con anyway, working for Phillip at Official Pix (on Phillip's dime too, probably, like when he went down to Dallas). Dustin's probably one of the last people who needs some freebie comped Star Wars collectibles as well. So this all expenses paid trip, with free swag, is going to someone who was probably already going to get a free trip to SDCC, and already gets plenty of goodies as it is. Instead, all this cool free stuff should've been going to someone who would REALLY appreciate it, and likely not get it otherwise, and not just take it all for granted. It's kinda like a millionaire winning the lottery, instead of a poor family who needs it 1000x more.
Furthermore, and another huge point that most people seem to be missing, is the INTENTIONS that Phillip has for his (Dustin's) Fan Club Presidency. Do you honestly think they're just going to roll over and accept the several token freebies, and honorary title and one-time Insider column, and that's it? HELL NO!!! Phillip was going to milk this thing for everything it was worth. Anyone who's saying "well, it's not like Dustin/Phillip are even getting much out of this meaningless title anyway" sure doesn't know Phillip Wise too well. He's had big plans on what he was going to do with Dustin's presidency since the day they (he) decided to run for it, no doubt at all. Anyone who suggests otherwise is absolutely kidding themselves. Hell, they were essentially bribing people with "free" $40 posters for an Insider subscription, or free front page advertising on RS just for pimping Dustin's campaign anywhere else on the net. They practically stopped posting news altogether at RS for a couple months, just to focus primarily on winning the campaign. This is big business for Phillip, and he's wanted nothing more than to have that "Fan Club President" title attached to his websites.
Which brings us to the most problematic issue of all: That an arrogant, hypocritical, demeaning, greedy, pompous businessman is taking more and more control of our hobby, when he's one of the last people who deserves it. Hell, if he hadn't completely swindled the forums away from Mike, he'd never be anywhere remotely close to where he is now to begin with! The guy's a liar, a cheat, and a completely deceitful man who has no business turning Star Wars into his
business. That should be left for George Lucas. What sucks is that there's not a whole lot that the average fan or collector can do about it, aside from staying away from his sites, and goods. Of course, if you state any objections about anything over there, or about Phillip (or Dustin), he'll quickly point out that it's "his way, or the highway", and if you're lucky, he'll even throw in a nice little "get a life" comment as he boots you the hell out the door.
As for Dustin, I know some people think he's an ok, upstanding guy. Hell, I even used to think he was up until a little over a year ago. But for some of us, namely anyone associated with JediDefender, we now know otherwise. This is a guy who summarily, and inexplicably (at Phillip's request, no doubt) starting banning from RS anyone who had anything to do with this site - staff members, forum members, or otherwise. Phillip started seeing JD as a threat, so he laid down the law over there, and had Dustin personally impose it for him. Phillp's very own version of Rick McCallum, if you will. Dustin may only be the puppet, but he shares equally in much of the blame for their idiocy over there. There used to be one, large, relatively happy online collecting community, but thanks to Phillip's sterling and greedy efforts, it's now been essentially fragmented into 3 seperate pieces.
Who the hell wants a Fan Club president who doesn't allow members of another (competing) site at their own? As far as I know, Phillip and Dustin are the only ones who have ever imposed such a sanction at any collecting site online. So I'm half expecting Dustin to start banning any and all fans of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, or any other Sci-Fi franchise or movie property from the Star Wars Fan Club membership. He (and Phillip) are just petty and stupid enough to pull some nonsense like that. Speaking of petty, ever heard of someone closing a feedback thread with 100 posts in it since "the member was banned"? I thought not. That's the kind of special treatment I get from Dustin, who has still refused to ever provide any reasoning for our bannings over there (though we're all well aware of why). Funny, but no other banned members have ever had their feedback threads closed over there. Go figure.
Anyway, the issues here are far more in depth than just "Dustin (Phillip) seems to have stolen away the victory". They probably shouldn't have ever been in the running in the first place, not to mention that they don't deserve it, don't need it, and don't represent true Star Wars fans, or the leadership thereof. This is nothing more than an arrogant, greedy businessman throwing his weight around, and his pathetically mindless puppet performing all the actions. Nothing more.
But hey, "it's all in good fun", right?
I'm just happy his true colors were shown to all of us once and for all and I hope the SW community remembers it for a long, long time....
Actually, Phillip has shown his true colors a number of times in the past few years, but most people at RS are too new to have known of most of his prior transgressions. My favorite of all time was when he spammed his entire RS membership via e-mail with some unwanted TRU midnight madness advertisement, then told everyone to shut the hell up, get a life, and move along, when they all got upset about it, and then HE proceeded to throw an equally large shitfit when one of the other collecting sites administrators sent HIM an e-mail that he felt was worthless and wasted his time. The guy is as big a hypocrite and liar as they come, no doubt.
BTW, welcome aboard to the new guys. I'm sure you'll enjoy it here (assuming you're not a fan of post-padding, spamming, trolling, immaturity, and any other number of RS attributes).