COMING OUT SWINGING He was once Axanar producer Alec Peters’ closest advisor; now former PR director Mike Bawden calls out Peters for his legal attacks on former director Robert Meyer Burnett. Graphic/Shawn O’Halloran

APRIL 20, 2019 | 5 MIN READ

Suing Burnett Creates Battle Lines Among Axanar Loyalists

Peters’ closest advisor and former girlfriend leave the fold and come out swinging

Alec Peters’ legal dispute with former Axanar director Rob Burnett is leading to both very public and some private breaks by former loyalists with their one-time leader.

Telltale Evidence

Alongside an April 12 letter from Burnett’s attorney to Peters’ lawyer were exhibits that paint a portrait of friends and colleagues who feel betrayed by Axanar’s producer.

Stalwart defender: Most prominent among the exhibits is a February 26 email from Peters’ former advisor and Axanar PR director Mike Bawden. Once Peters’ most stalwart defender, Bawden says Peters’ stubborn threats and decision to sue Burnett drove him away:

« Something tells me the real hope here is that you’ll spook Rob enough to get him to just sign a settlement deal and bring this to a close before he’s financially ruined. … There’s just one problem with that plan: I won’t let it happen. » — Former Axanar PR director Mike Bawden

DOWNLOAD AND READ the letter from Robert Meyer Burnett’s attorney to Alec Peters and, especially, the exhibits featuring emails from former PR director Mike Bawden and Peters’ former girlfriend, Diana Kingsbury. ( 1.3 MB)

Bullying Burnett

Bawden calls out Peters for picking on his loyal director while foregoing legal action against actual enemies:

Compared to what you’ve threatened and refused to do with [former tech chief] Terry McIntosh, [AxaMonitor editor] Carlos Pedraza, [Alpha Waves Radio host] Michael Hinman, [ardent Facebook critic] Sean O’Halloran, [former Axanar director] Christan Gossett and an unending list of people who have said bad things about you … [it] looks like you’ve decided to file suit against the one guy you were sure didn’t have the financial resources to fight you in court.

‘Opportunistic Bully’

Bawden calls out Peters for “suing the guy who stood beside you and had your back through the entire lawsuit with CBS and Paramount. This is the guy you valued so much, that when it was clear Axanar Productions wasn’t going to make the feature film, you refused to end his engagement with the production and, instead, continued to claim he was your director.”

Peters Owes Money, Too

Despite producing no evidence his payments to Burnett were loans rather than payments, Peters himself owes money Bawden observes isn’t getting paid either.

Alec Peters

Peters Owes Bawden

Bawden says, “You also need to respond to my requests for a payment schedule on the outstanding, personal financial obligation you have to me. You are now three weeks late. … I understand you may have been holding off in the hope we could settle things between you and Rob and that I’d forgive the debt you have to me. That no longer appears to be the case.”

Peters Owes Diana Kingsbury

She is Axanar’s former director of fulfillment, charged with delivering perks to donors. In an email to Bawden, she indicates her frustration with Peters’ seeking repayment from Burnett when Peters still owes her money.

Diana Kingsbury

‘Less Rosy’ for Peters Kingsbury continues, “I need to start getting paid back for all of [my] deferred wages (besides the remainder of the personal loans) immediately, or things will become considerably less rosy for Alec than they are now.”

‘Exploding Point’ Kingsbury, also Peters’ former girlfriend, is frustrated by “Alec’s public comments about his actions compared to Rob’s actions have gotten me this close to the exploding point. … Alec has/continues to treat me in the exact same way he claims Rob is treating him.”

Refusing Counsel

Despite knowing Peters won’t take his advice, Bawden continues to urge Peters to focus instead on completing the two Axanar short films:

You’ve filed suit. And now you can either finish things off (serve the suit and see how hard the shit hits the fan), or you can drop it and we can work on getting you the footage you need to produce the two, 15-minute segments [of Axanar.]

Missing Hard Drives

Kingsbury’s email also notes that Burnett had in fact turned over Axanar’s digital assets almost two years ago in hard drives that languished in Peters’ California warehouse: “I definitely remember both of them telling me that the hard drives were, in fact, in Alec’s office,” prior to Axanar’s move to Georgia.

Why it Matters

The more his colleagues abandon him in the face of his treatment of others, the greater tension around Axanar escalates. For her part, Kingsbury has never publicly rebuked Peters before. And Bawden warns Peters: “Know this. If battle lines get drawn on this thing, we won’t be on the same side.”

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