Webtickets tells TVwithThinus that it has now halted all ticket sales for the controversial International Women in Media Conference 2018 organised by the 21st Century Group that saw Bonang Matheba bail after Taraji P. Henson slammed the event that listed her inclusion as fake and false advertising, and with Halle Berry also disappearing after her initial top billing talent inclusion.
The Women in Media Conference 2018 that announced Bonang Matheba, the Empire star Taraji P. Henson, Halle Berry, Amanda du Pont, Connie Ferguson, Ashanti, Carte Blanche’s Claire Mawisa, Salamina Mosese and Thabile Ngwato as some of the headliners for the 2-day event purported to take place on 5 and 6 September at the Sandton Convention Centre, imploded on Wednesday following Taraji P. Henson's shocking revelation that she doesn't have any knowledge of the event.
Taraji P. Henson, who visited South Africa previously as part of a publicity blitz in mid-2016 for Fox Networks Group UK & Africa's FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131 / Cell C black 201) channel, said that she is working on Empire, isn't part of the conference, and wants her name and likeness removed from it.
Taraji P. Henson on social media said "False! I will not be there. Never heard of this event and was never invited. Please remove my name from this event because it is false," and that "I am working on Empire. It is impossible for me to be there. I hate that this organisation is misleading my fans."
She said her "team would never agree to anything on my behalf without me knowing. That is not how I run my business."
Amidts growing public embarrassment, the organisers then removed Taraji P. Henson's name, followed by Halle Berry’s disappearance without any explanation.
Bonang Matheba then pulled out, saying she "had been attracted by the event's apparent women's empowerment principles" but that "as there has been no official feedback or clarity from the organisers following today's allegations", she will no longer be participating.
Tickets with an eye-watering price of R1250 went on sale for the conference that said it want to help women in the business of film and TV production, the art of acting and presenting and "how to make it in Hollywood", with M-Net's 1Magic (DStv 103) channel listed as the event's official "media partner".
With the Sandton Convention Centre’s events calendar that by Thursday afternoon showed no entries on 5 and 6 September for the conference, Webtickets continued to list the event by Thursday afternoon on its website as including "international media mogul Taraji P. Henson".
While 21st Century Group in a statement late Wednesday night said "no tickets were sold, and no tickets will be sold, it's strictly by invitation", several people said they had already bought the expensive tickets.
On Thursday Webtickets told TVwithThinus that "sales have been closed in the interim".
Webtickets didn't want to say how many tickets had already been sold and said "we cannot disclose this information as it is confidential between us and our client".
Asked why Webtickets continues to list and include Taraji P. Henson's name and if Webtickets is going to remove her name, Webtickets said "this will be removed upon client confirmation of the scheduled attendees and keynote speakers".
Asked what happens if someone buys a ticket and an event turns out to be a scam or if it doesn't take place, Webtickets said "our policy in the event of cancellation of the event is to provide all purchasing customers with full refunds of their tickets purchased. In the event in question, we also operate under client instruction".
M-Net's 1Magic was asked about its involvement as official media partner of the event but referred enquiries to the 21st Century Group.
On Thursday morning 21st Century Group in a statement posted on Twitter said "Superstar Agency is the agency that booked Taraji P. Henson through her management, which is 42West PR. The engagement contract was signed by Susan Bymel on behalf of Superstar Agency. We also have a contract that was signed by John on behalf of 42West (Taraji's management) confirming the booking. A deposit payment of $120 000 was paid to Superstar Agency."
21st Century Group said that "a legal lawsuit" has now been lodged against Superstar Agency and Henson's 42West management "to be able to verify who has misled 21stst Century Group in confirming that the booking was made".
An internet search on Wednesday and Thursday couldn't find a website for Superstar Agency.