'The Office' actor returns $110,000 to fans who donated to never (yet!) made Stanley spinoff
No, it wasn't a scam.
Remember Stanley from “The Office”? The hilariously cantankerous sales rep at Dunder Mifflin who could send you into a laughing fit with just one deadpan look to camera? The guy whose unbridled enthusiasm for Pretzel Day still reminds us to savor life’s simple pleasures?
Well, it turns out that this fan favorite character very nearly got his own spin-off.Back in 2020, Leslie David Baker, who played Stanley, launched a viral Kickstarter campaign for an independent series titled “Uncle Stan,” which would show the no-nonsense crossword aficionado being thrust out of retirement in Florida to help his nephew with his struggling motorcycle/flower shop business. Cue ho-hum hijinks.
Depending on the donation, investors would receive Stanley-themed “perks,” such as exclusive t-shirts and posters, a copy of the show’s theme song, a customized thank-you video, etc.
Thousands of backers collectively pledged $336,450 to bring the project to life, exceeding the campaign’s original $300,000 goal to create a pilot episode.
An image from Baker's Kickstarter campaign
However, in an Instagram post created on Aug 1, Baker said that he would be returning $110,629.81 to the donation backers, which he explained was the actual amount of money donated (as some backers lowered or dropped their pledge amounts).
In other words, the campaign was indeed fully refunded. And Baker no doubt posted this clarification partially as a result of some social media backlash accusing the actor of “scamming” people out of money with a promised series that was never intended to see the light of day.
In truth, the project had initially been delayed because of the COVID-19 lockdown and is stalled now again due to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Baker noted that while he and the “Uncle Stan” team plan to resume work on the series once an agreement has been reached, “in light of the current economic situation, we felt that this was the best course of action.”
Those who did donate will not only receive a refund but will also still receive their perks.
"You will receive a message notifying you of your refund as soon as it is issued, and you can expect to receive it over the following weeks. We will also be contacting Kickstarter to facilitate expediting this matter. We have remained in constant communication with our backers via direct messaging, and rewards have continued to be fulfilled during this time,” Baker wrote.
The news is definitely a bummer to Stanley fans, but it was a thoughtful move on Baker’s part. Kickstarter is not required to offer refunds, making them entirely at the discretion of the project creator. Granted, Baker being a recognizable face might have made the need for recompense a little greater, but he’s clearly showing appreciation for those who donated by continuing to honor their reward fulfillment.
While his character’s catchphrase might be “DO NOT CARE,” it at least doesn’t seem to be the case in real life.