Performers and ticket buyers of the inaugural Chicago Ex-Fest found out shortly before showtime on Friday that the entire festival, which was launched to provide a "safe" home for those no longer interested in working with alleged assaulter Brian Posen at Stage 773, had been canceled. EX Fest organizer Matthew Payne made the announcement in a Facebook post:
“This all happened very fast. We all have unanswered questions and we were supposed to come together to celebrate safety...I am aware of the recent allegations made against me, but no one has been able to give me more information than that at this time. I am not guilty of sexual misconduct. I wish there were more information available, but with so much uncertainty and so little time, I think it is best to cancel this year's Chicago EX Fest.”
Purchased tickets have been refunded and Payne stated on Facebook that he still intends to pay some of the performers - only those, however, that had not departed the festival prior to its cancellation. As the allegations spread last week, several performers dropped out of the festival. The Crowd Theatre remained dark through the weekend.
As of Tuesday, January 16th, the website and Facebook pages for the festival have been removed.