"We’ve always been aware we’ve had crazy fans, they dress up in Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared costumes and go to Comic Con," Becky Sloan, one half of filmmaking duo Becky & Joe, explains. "But we never thought anybody would be that bothered to see more episodes, to put £35,000 of other’s people’s money into it."
But when you add a 12-year-old hacker into the mix, all bets are off. The ex-Dazed Visionaries had launched a Kickstarter page to raise £100,000 to continue their wildly popular viral video series, but were stuck hovering at a little over half of their Kickstarter goal with ten days to go. On her way out to Field Day, Sloan checked the Kickstarter page and "temporarily had a heart attack". Seven new bids had come in, totalling £35,000 in funding. They'd hit their goal with £5,000 to spare.
"Joe was like, 'Hang on something’s gone wrong here, it’s all under different names and made-up languages,'" Sloan remembers. Bids were coming in from users called "fg fg" and "gg gg". Then one of the first £5,000 backers fessed up in a private message: he'd found some hacked credit card numbers on a fraud site and used them to donate the funds.
"For 24 hours, we were in a bit of a panic," Sloan says. "We didn’t know whether to grass up this little boy in America." After some Twitter sleuthing, they uncovered his profile. "He just looks like a nerdy little kid, glasses and a hoodie on – he looked about 12."
Kickstarter ended up removing the fradulent donations. Becky & Joe don't plan on pursuing the pre-teen film mogul, who has since disappeared online and deleted all his dummy Kickstarter accounts. "He could have spent that money on anything, and he choose to put it to four weird puppet films," Sloan says. "In a way, it’s nice he wanted to see it that much – but it did cause a lot of trouble."
And since Don't Hug Me I'm Scared Kickstarter has only just reached its goal, there aren't any hard feelings. Although Sloan isn't averse to saying hi to their would-be Harvey Weinstein: "It'd be quite funny to meet him. Where are you, we'd like you to come forward – we'll even give you a t-shirt!"
Follow Zing Tsjeng on Twitter here @misszing