2020 Atlanta Walker Stalker sales suspended after ‘Walking Dead’ actor tweets several colleagues won’t go

Khary Payton says Melissa McBride, Danai Gurira, Norman Reedus not going
Khary Payton as Ezekiel, Danai Gurira as Michonne - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 16 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Khary Payton as Ezekiel, Danai Gurira as Michonne - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 16 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Originally posted Monday, October 28, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV talk blog

Khary Payton, who plays King Ezekiel on "The Walking Dead," posted a Tweet today that confirmed he is not coming to the Walker Stalker "Walking Dead" 2020 convention in Atlanta.

He also threw out other names:

Norman Reedus (Daryl), who has been a cash cow for the convention over the years and was at Walker Stalker earlier this month in Atlanta.

Danai Gurira (Michonne). Danai, who has a burgeoning film career, is leaving the show this season.

Melissa McBride (Carol). Along with Norman, Atlanta-based Melissa is one of just two originals from season one still on the show.

Cooper Andrews (Jerry). That's Khary's sidekick on the show and a personal friend. They also share the same agent.

Payton and other actors (including Andrews) were not paid for appearing at a Walker Stalker London convention earlier this year.

Andrews it the only one who has confirmed he is not coming back. The others have not said anything yet publicly.

In response to a fan who enjoyed past Walker Stalker conventions, Payton wrote: “It makes me sad too. Hard to believe something that started off so well could end up this sideways. We’ll figure out a new conduit to see you guys but this has to stop.”

While co-creator and Walker Stalker LLC/Fan Fest owner James Frazier last week questioned whether he'd bring back Walker Stalker again, new management has come in and decided to give it a try anyway. Tickets are on sale now for Halloween, 2020. No celebrity guests have been announced yet.

Michael DeVault, interim CEO, took over day-to-day operations last week after Frazier suddenly stepped down. Soon after Payton posted at about 12:33 p.m. EST about not coming back to Walker Stalker, DeVault in a text said he would get back to me to talk about what Payton said.

UPDATE: Later in the evening, DeVault posted on social media that ticket sales for all future Fan Fest and Walker Stalker conventions were suspended “in order to give myself and our management team the time we need to answer several pressing questions and to plot our path forward.” He said he hopes to resume sales by Friday.

In an interview Tuesday, DeVault said he is “distressed to read Khary’s statements months after he made his first one. It hurts me to think he is still bitter and upset. I’m still trying to move forward with the show and hope it will include Khary.”

Through Payton’s agent, I am also seeking additional comments from the actor.

Frazier still owns Walker Stalker but has been seeking an investor to buy part or all of it. To date, he has resisted filing for bankruptcy protection despite being in considerable debt to vendors and actors. The show’s rapidly waning popularity badly impacted his bottom line and he had to cancel two conventions last year in Portland and Phoenix and postpone one in Nashville until January , 2020.