Statement of MAC Board About a Fake MAC Event in Stockholm
Miss Africa Crown (MAC) is an annual event which has, in the past, been organized in Sweden by five MAC founders led by a Board in cooperation with a registered company. Last year, Axcap, a Swedish company, represented by Peder Armitage, was given the responsibility of organizing the event in conjunction with the MAC Board. Unfortunately, after the event ended, it came to light that Peder, who was also a member of the Organising committee, made a number of key decisions without the knowledge of Board members, withheld all the earnings from Miss Africa Crown 2013 and refused to be transparent on financial transactions.
As if that was not enough, Axcap refused to pay core workers who had contributed their labour towards the event. A meeting between Peder Armitage, who posed as the representative of Axcap, and the MAC Board worked out a formula on how the workers could be paid. The agreement was for Board members to forego their personal cash in-puts (over SEK 20.000) during the preparation of the event so that all cash realized during the event could be used to pay the outstanding bills and sort out all workers. Although some workers got only part of their pay from this deal, others (like the film crew) were left empty handed. This situation resulted in an uneasy working relationship of the Committee and Peder, together with his wife Huda, resigned from the organizing Committee after a Board meeting this year. Their resignation was accepted by the MAC Board and a decision was made to the effect that MAC would take a break in 2013 in order to re-organize itself and hold the event in 2014.
As the payment issues remained pending, the Board sought ways of dealing with the unpaid bills left by Axcap and as the Board moved to evaluate the general conduct of Peder, it soon came to the attention of the MAC Board that someone had mutilated the website of MAC (missafricacrown.com) which was under Peder’s control. The site was cleaned of previous content without the Board’s permission. Subsequently, emails were disabled and passwords changed for all online MAC representations.
Further, Board members who were administrators of MAC’s Facebook page, were removed and password (for FB) changed, effectively shutting out key Board members from all online MAC websites. In the meantime, the sites could not be updated with last year’s MAC event as the issue of non-payment of bills by Axcap also went public. This was in November last year. Noticing that something was seriously amiss, the MAC Board set up a fresh website (missafricacrown.info) as it prepared to deal with the emergent and unexpected situation.
In May this year, a new Facebook page for Miss African Crown surfaced while an imposter website (www.africacrown.com) purporting to organize the event this year, also surfaced. The old MAC website (missafricacrown.com) had effectively been taken over and the imposter website linked to the old site. The image which the imposters were seeking to project to the public was that it was “business as usual” even though a serious problem existed.
Since Miss Africa Crown is officially registered as a Trademark in Sweden, Facebook quickly pulled down the fake Facebook page following notification. Those involved in the violation then began setting up several fake Facebook pages which were subsequently pulled down. In total, 7 illegal pages have been pulled down. The official MAC’s Facebook page is facebook.com/MissAfricaCrown while the official website remains missafricacrown.info.
Because of the on-going violation perpetrated by persons bent on hijacking the Miss Africa Crown brand name for personal gain and without consideration of the time and financial resources used by other members to build the Miss Africa Crown brand, the remaining MAC members and Board contacted the Swedish authorities on how best to handle a case in which a Trademark violation was in progress by unauthorized persons, acting individually or in concert. According to the Patent Registration Office, any violation of any registered Trademark in Sweden has to be reported to police. Under the circumstances, the MAC Board filed a police report as MAC Lawyers took charge of the case.
The MAC Board would like to inform everybody currently involved with the illegal MAC event (with or without their knowledge) that the MAC Board has not authorized anybody or any Company to organize the event this year. Under the circumstances, anybody participating in the organization of the event in Sweden is participating in an illegal activity. Likewise, the Board would like to warn the general public that it is not collecting any money or selling any tickets for any MAC event this year. The Board will not therefore be responsible for any lost revenues as a result of any tickets sold anywhere by anybody or any institution.
The Board is taking this early opportunity to inform anybody working with the event that the MAC Board will not be responsible or answerable in any way to anything related to the illegal event. Instead, the Board is working closely with the Swedish authorities to stop the on-going Trademark violation and to cancel the fake event before any further damage can be done.
Under the circumstances, anybody claiming to be selling tickets for the event is participating in an illegal activity because as far as the Board is concerned, there will be no MAC event in 2013 in Sweden if the Swedish law is allowed to take its rightful course. The matter is currently being handled legally and any further developments will be communicated to concerned parties accordingly by the MAC Board.
MAC Media and Information Officer,
22nd August 2013