Blippi, the YouTube star who regularly garners millions of views teaching kids about fire trucks and tractors, just announced a tour across the U.S. However, after purchasing tickets, many parents realized that the tour will actually only include a Blippi impersonator, not the actor seen on YouTube adorned in an orange bow tie and suspenders. Now, they’re requesting refunds.
With over five million subscribers, Blippi has become a fun source of entertainment for kids on YouTube. Parents can let their kids have time on their tablets or computer to watch Blippi and actually learn a thing or two; Blippi’s videos range from go karts and helicopters to colors and science experiments. His videos are viewed about 20 million times on average, while some, like the “Learn Colors and Numbers for Children” video, racking up over 170 million views.
Blippi’s live tour was announced this past Tuesday on the Blippi Facebook page, and instantly, parents began to vie for tickets. Thirty shows went on sale, ranging from $26 to $70, with the option to add a meet and greet with the actor after the show. Right after purchasing, however, parents found out that Stevin John, the creator and actor behind the videos, would not actually be on tour. Instead, an actor, who is yet to be announced, will take on the role as the Blippi “character.”
While there was a disclaimer noting that John would not be participating in the tour, it was easy to miss. On Ticketmaster’s site, there was a note that Blippi was going to be played by another actor, but ticket purchasers wouldn’t be able to see the full statement without clicking “more.” The statement goes on to note that “Now that Blippi has evolved as a character he is excited that a dynamic stage performer has been cast as Blippi to entertain and thrill audiences across all of the tour markets.”
The disclaimer could also be found on the Blippi website, but only after visiting the FAQ page under the tab “Will Stevin John be in the live show?”
Parents are not happy with the situation and feel as though they’ve been cheated. One parent, who spend $400 on three 6th row tickets and two meet and greet tickets for the Toronto show, told Buzzfeed that they’re “livid” and are trying to get a refund. Another ticketholder said that she only saw that John wouldn’t be in the show after she purchased tickets, but Ticketmaster “refused” to give her a refund.
Others expressed their dismay on Twitter:
I’m so disappointed in @BlippiOfficial today. I was willing to spend money I really don’t have to take my four year old son to see #BlippiLive. The presale email was misleading. It’s not even #Blippi on tour. Really? After all the money you’ve made after countless hours on my tv? pic.twitter.com/yQVp7eBAnj
— No Me Importa (@NikkiThumbz) October 9, 2019
I almost bought tickets for this yesterday but something told me not to – I was skeptical that Blippi would actually there. I was imaging some sort of skit but a pretend Blippi is worse! Becca would definitely be able to tell the difference. https://t.co/ffCPvdp3Ld
— kristen day (@kris10_day) October 10, 2019
@blippi Seriously shows a lack of integrity to sell “meet and greet” options to your tour then send an actor instead of being there yourself. We will not be attending “your” Atlanta show.
— Amber (@Amber84775269) October 9, 2019
“Now that Blippi has evolved as a character he is excited that a dynamic stage performer has been cast as Blippi to entertain and thrill audiences across all of the tour markets.” If a @wwe event was portrayed by locals it would be ok? BC the “character” is still there? #Bullshit
— Jimmy Kane (@JustPlainJimmy) October 9, 2019
@BlippiOfficial a tour!!!… without Stevin Jon?! Wtf blippi?! When I pay $400 for tickets I expect you to show up, not an impersonator! Outraged fans are ripping you apart on fb. If I paid to see Seinfeld then I am seeing Jerry friggin Seinfeld on stage!
— Euan Petrie (@EuanPetrie) October 8, 2019
When the tour was announced, John told Billboard that he would not be on the road but would still be “extremely involved with the whole process.”
“Blippi is a character and I’m the creative force behind it, but since YouTube is a monster and all of these platforms are really crazy I can’t go on the road for many weeks or months at a time,” he said.
The producer and promoter of the Blippi Live show, Stephen Shaw, told Buzzfeed in an email that they thought it was clear John would not be appearing in the live show.
“We felt we made the announcement abundantly clear in the Billboard Exclusive Announcement that Stevin would not be going on tour and playing the role of Blippi in the live stage show,” he said, noting that they will be sending a letter to ticket holders to clarify.
Ticketmaster will now be issuing refunds upon request.