Recently I watched a video by Melonie Mac, embedded above, and was made aware that an employee(Zelu1984 on Instagram) of Square Enix was being told to stop making custom action figures. Now, Melonie's video is titled "Square Enix Threatens to Fire Employee Over Fanart" but I have seen no indication that was the case. Zelu1984 may have been threatened with a demotion or fine of some sort, which is still wrong on Square Enix's part, and not being let go. In fact, Square Enix may have jut asked Zelu1984 to not make any public posts of his work and instead keep it all private.
|Zelu1984's statement, note the lack of "or I will be fired"|
This could mean he is in contact and often handles negotiations with companies that create Square Enix merchandise, including but not limited to action figures. This may very well be the reason Square Enix asked Zelu1984 to stop posting his custom action figure work as it would undermine the work their product creators do as well as possibly influence people to not purchase officially licensed products but seek out independently created ones.
|Zelu1984 selling custom Poison Ivy head sculpts|
In no way am I endorsing Square Enix's actions. Far from it. I am simply trying to come to a reasonable explanation for why they would feel justified in taking such actions. Which unfortunately brings me to my next point, Zelu1984 has sold custom action figures and parts in the past. So, while he did tell Melonie that he wasn't selling the Laura Croft figures he has sold figures and figure parts in the past. Again, I am not saying this to excuse Square Enix but to give you all a full and complete picture of the situation at hand.
With that out of the way, it needs to be said that someone at Square Enix was aware of Zelu1984's hobby of customizing figures as Zelu1984 was a moderator of the now defunct fan forum, FinalFantasyMerchandise.com. I know this because Zelu1984 was featured on the official Square Enix website. Zelu1984 was featured a bit over one year before he was hired by Square Enix and could have very well been offered a job due to his custom created action figures and awesome fan art.
There is definitely more to this story than meets the eye, but as of now this is all I was able to come up with without revealing Zelu1984's identity. I did reach out to both Square Enix and Zelu1984 and as of yet received no comment from either party. If either party responds to my request for a coment I will be sure to let you all know what they say. So, what do you guys think? Should Square Enix worry about one of their employees making custom action figures on his own time? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.