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  • Report: #1011624

Complaint Review: Rise Above Theatre Movement

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  • Submitted: Sat, February 09, 2013
  • Updated: Sat, May 25, 2013

  • Reported By: ExRatmo — La Palma California United States of America
Rise Above Theatre Movement
Los Angeles, California United States of America

Rise Above Theatre Movement ,RATMO, kg productions, Kenne Guillory, James Hart RATMO's owner lies and sexually harass his employees. Los Angeles, California

*Author of original report: New name new company

*Author of original report: Jason Main

*Author of original report: Screenshot of RATMO page

*Author of original report: Screen shot of RATMO page

*Author of original report: No falsehood possible misunderstanding. Let clear the air

*UPDATE Employee: Beware of the Falsehood of This Report

*Author of original report: New Name

*General Comment: sexual harassment

*Author of original report: RATMO is now Enhanced Theatre Experience

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Regarding LetItGo's "Rebuttal

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: OWNER CREATES FAKE IDENTITIES - DO NOT TRUST HIS "EXAMPLES"

*Author of original report: Mr.Nyman is wrong

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: How is it misrepresenting when it's true?

*UPDATE Employee: Continued Harassment; All Involved have been asked to be left Alone

*Consumer Comment: There is no "Rise Above Board" - it's just one person continuing to lie!

*Consumer Comment: "AS POSTED ON FACEBOOK" response was used out of context!!

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Mr. Guillory is a scam artist

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Mr. Guillory is a scam artist

*UPDATE Employee: As Posted on Facebook Page

*Author of original report: Owers rebuttal not ture

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Everything is true

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Rise Above's Response from Our Board

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Kenne has signed contracts with all of his actors from previous productions, stating that they would be paid a certain percentage of box office, and he did not fulfill a SINGLE ONE of those contracts. To my knowledge, he has never paid any of his actors a single cent of what he promised them (and I've been involved since his first production of "The Last Days of Judas Iscariot"). It's one thing if from the beginning he stated that no one would be paid, but he continues to dishonor every contract he puts together.

Kenne falsely claimed that the ticket company, Plays411, he used for his first production ("The Last Days of Judas Iscariot" in late 2011) went bankrupt, and that's why he was unable to pay anyone from that production (We have proof of this false claim in an email sent by Kenne to the "Judas" cast and crew). We were suspicious of the truth of what Kenne was telling us, so we contacted Plays411. [continued below]....
..... They emailed us, rather upset, saying that they had definitely NOT filed for bankruptcy, and that they had in fact issued a check to Kenne from the ticket proceeds (we have both emails, if you would like to see them).

Kenne falsely claimed that HE was bankrupt after his production of "A Few Good Men" in early 2012 to evade paying that cast and crew. Yet bankrupt individuals are unable to continue working in the industry, renting out theaters and signing contracts with new people (We have proof of his bankruptcy claim in an email sent by Kenne to the "A Few Good Men" cast and crew).

Kenne is THOUSANDS of dollars in debt. Yet somehow he continues to put on productions, most likely through false claims (We have proof of his debt in an email sent by his former Executive Director, Randall Gray)

Kenne was evicted from his previous theater on Lankershim in North Hollywood due to not paying rent for months. Search Case # 12B02778 at the following link: http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org/ civilcasesummary/ you can see the case that was filed against him as its public record on that site.

98% of Kenne's former actors and crew members have quit his company. This includes every former cast hes worked with that cannot be a coincidence!

Kenne did NOT secure or pay for the rights to put on the play, "A Few Good Men," during its 3- week extension until the cast forced him to. Most likely he was planning to put on the play for the last 3 weeks illegally. This occurred in April of last year. Most of the original cast had quit anyway (after finding out that he hadnt paid) so he had to recast the extension (We have proof of this in emails between him and the original cast members).

Kenne did not pay for the rights to his last play, "Take Me Out," until the week the show opened - after the second cast forced him to show proof that he actually had paid for them. He had his assistant director pay, promising he would pay him back, but he never did.

Kenne's entire second cast of "Take Me Out" quit 2 weeks into the show's 3-week run (he had a first cast but all but 2 of those cast members quit on him) because the rights were pulled from the show, yet Kenne still wanted to continue illegally. Kenne veered off the "Take Me Out" script so much that Dramatists pulled the rights. He planned to continue the show without the rights until the entire cast quit on him (We have proof of this in emails sent between cast members).

Dramatists has now flagged Kenne's name so that he will NEVER be able to secure rights to any plays handled by them again (as a result of his actions with "Take Me Out"). Kenne will claim otherwise, as he likes to create fake aliases to obtain rights, but you will never see the name "Kenne Guillory" on a license sent from Dramatists again.

Kenne was kicked off Actors Access (a casting site at www.actorsaccess.com) because former cast members reported his unethical actions. Im not sure if you found his casting notice on Actors Access or another site, but on Actors Access the name "Kenne Guillory" is never mentioned. The name James Hart is used. Kenne had to create a new ID to announce the play on that site as his name would not have been accepted (We have proof of him being kicked off the site in an email sent from an executive at Actors Access; We also have proof of the casting notices on this site that do not mention his name).

Kenne's former Executive Director quit Rise Above after he could no longer stand Kenne's behavior and the way he deluded his cast members. The former Executive Director was a yahoo.com theatre critic named Randall Gray. When he quit, he sent a resignation letter to the entire company disclosing ALL of the debt Kenne was in and the lies he had told (We have a copy of Randall's resignation letter - it's very thorough. It is attached.).

And if you think that's bad, here is the REALLY disturbing information:

Kenne created a fake female profile on Facebook to request nude pictures of many of his actors. During the run of "A Few Good Men" and while rehearsals were going on with his initial "Take Me Out" cast, many of the guys in both casts starting receiving friend requests from a pretty girl named

MELISSA JONES. Her profile was very limited, but she claimed she had either seen them in a show or was "recommended to them by a friend on facebook." "Melissa" then proceeded to flirt with them and request naked pictures of them. Some of the guys started uncovering aspects of "Melissa's" emails that contained exact format matches to texts sent by Kenne, leading to the assumption that it was a fake profile set up by Kenne. At first Kenne denied this, but he finally admitted he was indeed Melissa Jones during a rehearsal for "Take Me Out." He claimed he created the profile to "check allegiances to the company." As far as I know, asking for naked pictures of cast members does not have anything to do with allegiance to a company, nor was there any conspiracy going on that warranted this type of action. The day he admitted this was also the day all but 2 actors in his first "Take Me Out" cast quit the show (Multiple people can attest to Kenne's admittance of being Melissa Jones, and we have a copy of one of Melissa Jones' emails next to texts from Kenne so you can see they are written in almost the exact same format).

There was a warrant out for Kenne's arrest in April of 2012 with bail set for $10,000. This document was seen lying around in his office by people at the old Rise Above Theatre in Noho. We do not know what specifically it was for, but we can only imagine it has to do with evading some sort of financial payment or registration.

Kenne's former fiance had to file a restraining order against him because he was sending her menacing and threatening texts. Again, this document was seen in his office by people at the old Rise Above Theatre. It detailed the types of texts he sent (a quote from the "Saw" movies) and was very disturbing. Trust me, we couldn't make that up if we tried.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/09/2013 10:48 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Rise-Above-Theatre-Movement/Los-Angeles-California-/Rise-Above-Theatre-Movement-RATMO-kg-productions-Kenne-Guillory-James-Hart-RATMOs-own-1011624. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
9Author 12Consumer 1Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 Author of original report

New name new company

AUTHOR: Tired of lies - ()

Kenne Guillary now has a new name and a new company. He goes by the name James Kenneth and his new theatre company is "plus one productions",  "+1 productions", "plus one productions LA", and/or "+1 productions LA"

Website is http://plusoneproductionsla.com/home.html

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#2 Author of original report

Jason Main

AUTHOR: ExRatmo - ()

Jason Main is Kenne Guillory. Another one of Kennes fake Facebook profiles. Here is the Facebook address. Watch out if you get an add request from him. https://m.facebook.com/#!/jason.main.1848?__user=1479361092

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#3 Author of original report

Screenshot of RATMO page

AUTHOR: ExRatmo - ()

 Picture did not show up last time. Here is a screenshot of the RATMO Page with new names. 

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#4 Author of original report

Screen shot of RATMO page

AUTHOR: ExRatmo - ()

Here is a screen shot of the RATMO Page with new name. 

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#5 Author of original report

No falsehood possible misunderstanding. Let clear the air

AUTHOR: ExRatmo - ()

As you can read from this report Kenne has been known to lie and misrepresent himself. To clear the air it would be helpful to you and your credibility to provide an email, contact number, website, and Facebook account, so people who have your company confused with his are able to contact you. 

I'm sure if you really are concerned with your image this shouldn't be an issue for you to provide that information. Once that information is proven to be in error a rebuttal will be posted "to clear the air". 
 
If you feel the need you should contact Mr. Guillory and inform him that he needs to stop using your name. He is currently saying that is one of a few names being considered. (Still standing movement, CCM theatre movement, and Enhanced Theatre Movement on stage. 
 
Thank you for your cooperation. 
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#6 UPDATE Employee

Beware of the Falsehood of This Report

AUTHOR: Rudi Mullens - ()

I am a currently contracted employee, with Titan Remnant Group.  And I can assure you firsthand, we are not realted to or affiliated with Rise Above Theatre in any manner.    We (TTRG, LLC) are a LLC group, owned by a group of 2 men, and 3 women.  Rise Above Theatre closed its doors back in February, and has not produced since.   We are a new theatre group in Los Angeles, launching this fall in 2013.   Again, to reitterate, and clear the air, TTRG, LLC; is not afiliated in anyway with Rise Above Theatre.

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#7 Author of original report

New Name

AUTHOR: ExRatmo - ()

 "Titan Remnant Theater Company" is "Rise Above Theatre Companys" new name. Please, look out for it.

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#8 General Comment

sexual harassment

AUTHOR: Harrison - ()

The man behind this company offered me a part in a production. We had briefly talked about a year prior about another show I was considering auditioning for but ended up backing out of after getting a red flag. While the part in question required nudity, I was surprised that he expected first time auditioning actors to strip at the open call. I decided to go my separate way, but about year later, after reading some positive reviews of the show I would have auditioned for, I wondered if maybe I overreacted and should have taken the chance.

So about a year later I talked to founder of RATMO on G Chat for a second time and was told he liked a video submission I had sent a long while back of me performing a monologue, and he wanted to know if I was interested in a part for his upcoming production. Let me say that I'm of age but look relatively young. It's rare I get an opportunity to play a smart mature role when I'm usually cast younger. This part was young in age but a weighty role for an actor. I really wanted to do this show and I didn't care about making a dime. That's what made the future conversations with RATMO's founder so disappointing and discomforting. I was repeatedly asked for "candids" aka nude pictures which he claimed were necessary for a number of duvious reasons, including set design concerns of all things. I said I wasn't comfortable sending candid pictures online but he kept insisting and made me fear being rejected from the show. Then the requests over time became more lurid - asking for measurements of my penis. I backed out but not before he losing his cool on me and complaining that I was falsely accusing him of harassment when he's not even gay, currently engaged, etc. I replied that I didn't care if he was in to goats so long as he keeps it professional. I wanted to do this part so badly I ignored the signs until it became clear I was not going to be respected as an actor, but rather, toyed with unfairly. 

Reading up on these allegations of fraud now comes as little surprise. In a way I'm grateful this man exposed himself as sketchy before I made any financial decisions regarding my travel and participation in the play. 

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#9 Author of original report

RATMO is now Enhanced Theatre Experience

AUTHOR: ExRatmo - (United States of America)

Keep an eye out for "Enhanced Theatre Experience". Kenne is still the owner and liable for his actions with RATMO. He changed the name to hide from his past.
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#10 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Regarding LetItGo's "Rebuttal

AUTHOR: Anonymous - (United States of America)

The body of the rebuttal written by "LetItGo" was written by a former actor of Rise Above. At that point, the individual in question was dedicated and loyal to the company and to Kenne Guillory and was NOT aware of the full scope of the situation. 

It was written in ignorance of the truth. The individual in question has since cut all ties with RATMO and Guillory. 

Because stealing the intellectual property of playwrights is clearly not enough, Kenne Guillory is now also stealing the material of the actors who slaved away for him and using it falsify information!!!  NICE!!!

Here is rebuttal in question: 

" #4 Employee - As Posted on Facebook Page
AUTHOR: LetItGo - (United States of America)
SUBMITTED: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 

I can appreciate that you may feel slighted by events you feel were not fair to you. However, that is something one needs to address personally to those involved, and in a professional manner. I am not an "original cast member." This is my first production with the Rise Above Theatre, but I stand behind this company and this production. Yes, it is tough. 

This is still a new theatre company on the Los Angeles scene, and with new and unestablished there are bound to struggles and obstacles. It is not easy, I know. But this company is not malicious. This company is not some get-rich-quick scheme in an effort to scam actors out of money. Trust me, if anyone thinks there's easy money in independent theatre, they're in for a surprise! I got involved with the Rise Theatre Movement because I was actually very impressed by the repertoire and its dedication to artistic expression. This is an unestablished theatre company, with all the struggles that come along with that, but IT IS A COMPANY WITH HEART AND SOUL AND A PASSION. Based on the reviews the company has gotten, I'd say that it is worthwhile. Also, nobody has been asked to pay for anything. 

The Rise Above Theatre doesn't even take dues for company membership. I would also like to point out that I find it a odd that YOU keep creating new facebook profiles (and multiple reports on ehre that are obvious copy and paste) and you keep stalking this company and badmouthing it on the internet. Again, I am just an actress who JUST got involved with this company. I hold no stake in the company - to be perfectly frank, beyond the current production, the company's success or failure is of zero consequence to me (although I AM considering joining the company membership in the future). But I felt the need to speak up because what you are doing is unprofessional, bitter, and wrong"



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#11 UPDATE EX-employee responds

OWNER CREATES FAKE IDENTITIES - DO NOT TRUST HIS "EXAMPLES"

AUTHOR: Ididittopleaseyou - (United States of America)

All I need to say is this - if Kenne Guillory (a.k.a. Melissa Jones, James Hart, etc.) creates multiple fake aliases and profiles to get what he wants, how can we trust that the emails/examples he provided were created by anyone but him?  He constantly lies and creates new identities for himself, so nothing he says can be trusted.  He still has not addressed why:
 
1)  He created the profile of MELISSA JONES to solicit nude pictures from his own actors and to harass them
2)  He created the name JAMES HART to cast his show due to the name KENNE GUILLORY being kicked off so many sites and being associated with unprofessional conduct. 
 
I will vouch for EMAIL ONE being true - that former cast member quit because the person believed us and did not want to be part of such a mess. Why do we know this is what the person wrote?  Because it was emailed to us - the person trusted us over the owner of this company and wanted to keep us in the loop.
 
And I'll vouch for CURRENT CAST MEMBER #2's EMAIL - unfortunately this person was willing to turn a blind eye to everything going on considering he first emailed us revealing that the owner, Kenne Guillory, had also asked him for inappropriate pictures over facebook (see email above - this reinforces our former claims).  He even thanked us for the information we provided to him.  Then days later, after simply being asked why he decided to stay in such a toxic environment, he became overly hostile and made uncalled for threats.  This is the type of person you'll get to work with at Rise Above Theatre Company.

This is also my last response in this thread.  Obviously Kenne is going to continue lying and engaging in unprofessional conduct, so all I can do is provide all the info I have and HOPE that other actors will choose to stay away from this theatre company in the future.  This is in no way a personal vendetta - I truly don't want people to suffer through what I suffered through last year.
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#12 Author of original report

Mr.Nyman is wrong

AUTHOR: ExRatmo - (United States of America)

This will be my last rebuttal for this group. Mr. Guillory continues to lie and instead of addressing the issues with us he continues to play games.

Regarding the harassment of this cast, that is simply not true.

1. I would like to say that seven other ex RATMO members agreed to be CCed on the gmails.

2. We wanted to warn others of Kennes actions so we emailed each cast member the same information found on this report. If they did not reply, or told us not to contact them, we stopped.

3. We were given the email addresses from a cast member. I will not reveal that persons name because I told him/her I would keep it privet. In fact more then one cast member volunteered the information.

4. The "harassing" text messages that I sent were as follow "This is an attempt to collect a debt, any information used will be for that purpose. Please arrange a time and place for me to pick up my money for the amount of $600. Thank you". That's it. I sent it out once a day for about four days, as any bill collector would. Kenne relied with threats and more lies. I even offered to have him make payments or lower the amount.

4) Mr. Nyman, a member of his current cast, who wrote the rebuttal above completely left out why Mr. Emert contacted him in the first place. When we sent Mr. Nyman the same email we sent other cast members he replied with this:

"I wanted to take this time in thank you for the email that you had sent. And everything stated in your email does in fact make sense since I myself have in fact receive Facebook messages asking for questionable pictures that I refused to send. I had denied and refused to do due to the fact that I don't believe in constant nudity work makes good theater. HOWEVER after speaking with kenne we came up with compromises that worked for us both. The other reason I agreed to do the play was due to the fact that I am finally catching a break in my rent for the month of March. Which will give me the opportunity to actually do rehearsals and the time for the play. There for money isn't really an issue....but this is very disturbing information nonetheless. For training the lead in this play is very important to me and my career. I need to use this opportunity to show agency in casting directors that I am in fact a real actor. But if what you're saying means that THAT goal is NOT possible with these circumstances I have a lot to reconsider....

Either way thank you for the heads up. (Ex cast members name) is an old roommate and good friend of mine. Seeing his name attached let's me know the volume of severity in this situation.

Nyman"

After seeing Mr.Nyman was still part of the production Mr.Emert asked Mr.Nyman why he was still part of the company. Mr. Nyman, by reading the letter above, made it seemed he knew the "volume of severity [of] this situation". Mr. Nyman replied with hostility and threats.

I am going to close with this. Kenne and his destructive behavior need to come to a close. Everything said on this report can be backed up with proof, and will be shared with anyone who ask. There are more then just a handful of actors who have been harmed by him. It was every cast he has worked with.

We all want three results: 1) Kenne to get the help he needs. 2) STOP creating accounts and false identities to manipulate people. 3) Pay people back the money he owes them. Yes, we did it for the art. If he was ethical we would not care about our money, but we do not want our money to go to a company that is unethical and treats people like garbage.

Again, if you have any questions for want more information please contact me.
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#13 UPDATE EX-employee responds

How is it misrepresenting when it's true?

AUTHOR: zgoodrich - (United States of America)

Once again this fake "board" which is just Kenne Guillory replies with another false claim. He did not mention me by name which is great considering I have been one of these people that he has personally lied to and owes money to. I have countless emails from his past members which have thanked us for letting them know what this man is capable of. Once again this man is lying to feed his own agenda. Answer me this Mr Guillory. How is it misrepresenting your company when all we are saying is the truth? What lies do you tell your cast about owing every past cast member money? What lies do you tell about Melissa Jones the fake Facebook you created to sexually harass ex cast members? You have called us bitter ex members. You are damn right I'm bitter. You took theatre something that was dear to me and ruined it. You change the stories themselves. You do shows without the rights. You besmirch the good name of LA theatre. It's not harassment Kenne we are letting people know who you are and what you have done. I would be glad to let every single person know what kind of person you are.
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#14 UPDATE Employee

Continued Harassment; All Involved have been asked to be left Alone

AUTHOR: Rise Above Theatre Movement Board - (United States of America)

The board of Rise Above Theatre was asked to post the following, on behalf of the cast.

Mr. Emert, Mrs. Depangher, Ms. Mckay, and Mr. Johnson have continually been trying to bring down the current show season of Rise Above Theatre, but illegally obtaining emails of current cast members, sending inappropriate emails, and by continued harassment/stalking on facebook.  One recent facebook message to a cast member said:

"I'm sorry for the random message, but I have to ask - are you REALLY still doing Kenne's production? After everything we told you that he's done, you can look the other way and encourage him to keep doing what he's doing by participating? I'm very confused and disappointed, cause I thought you believed us. I was just shocked when I saw your pic on the Rise Above Page after everything we told you"

In addition, Mr. Guillory has even be receiving harassing texts from Mr. Johnson. The cast has met on the matter, and are in unity to please uphold the following message, and to please stop the harassment.  They Thank you for your concerns, but they have not experienced or had anything of the above-mentioned happen to them, as the company has grown and matured in two years.

From the owner, Kenne Guillory, again he would like to reiterate that he wishes nothing but the best and good thoughts to them in all their future endeavors. Also, Mr. Guillory would like to address the latest allegation about a "Cast who quit recently".  Yes, it is true, that many cast members quit, but it had nothing to do with the current status of Rise Above Theatre; it had to do with the concerns/drama being stirred and caused by the above mentioned individuals, as stated below.  As anybody reading this can see;  they all said they were here to work, not be part of "childish drama" - and so sought work elsewhere.  Below are a few expert quotes from the former cast:

EMAIL ONE
" Unfortunately I am going to have to bow out of the production as I am being bombarded with emails from past Rise Against actors claiming some disturbing things about the company's past, some very inappropriate on a personal level...I've been around the block enough to know that where there's smoke there is fire.  Best wishes to you all and remember that the play is, indeed, the thing to stay focused on" 

EMAIL TWO
I will have to exit this production, as well.  I agree with NAME OF CAST MEMBER that if the information doesn't seem to be true. I also have no care about anyone's personal life, so that's not a factor in my leaving the show.  What is a factor is that I am concerned that there could be more trouble caused by this group as we get closer to the show, as they won't seem to leave us alone.  I think it's a safe bet that they will try to do more and--call me crazy or just plain old worrisome--I don't like that feeling.  That's just my opinion.  I wish you the best as well as everyone else.  It saddens me to leave the fantastic role, but I must.  Take care all.

EMAIL THREE
How do I get them to stop harassing me with e-mails? (This person later quit because she received a total of six emails, from Mr. Johnson, Mr. Emert, and Ms. Depangher in a 24 hour period, one saying "How could you still be working with him after everything we told you about him. I know others have, so why won't you?"

CURRENT CAST MEMBER #1
I frankly don't appreciate the approach the people sending these e-mails have taken.  It was unsolicited and overwhelming, and I think they've gone too far.  The only thing that is clear is that there is a great deal of conflict surrounding Rise Above and this group of people at this moment in time.  However, that is not my concern, and can not wait for the show to open. The cast has been working so hard, and the show has developed so quickly in such a short period of time. They (As all actors should) save the drama for the stage and stay out of everyone else's business, it seems that the turmoil this entire situation has sown is unavoidable -- they are trying to get us involved by default, and that's not professional or something I want to deal with.  They need to stop.

CURRENT CAST MEMBER #2 - STATEMENT OF OVERALL CAST FEELING
This story is great and amazing and my cast is equally incredible and brave with this undertaking. Some actors AREN'T working for the money. I myself am working for the ART. And I encourage you and your band of whiners to do the same for the sake of being REAL struggling actors. Anyone who -as you claim- pressured for nude pics had the same ability to say NO. as I;m sure no one put a gun to your head and demanded it.  While (NAME REMOVED) and I are still to this day good friends and I DO trust him, we like all friends have had differences in opinions but no matter what, we have always shown RESPECT to one another regarding our choices. (you're an actor, look for the keywords in that paragraph)  I find it disturbing that at 8 am YOU had the balls to message me after stocking the RATMO Facebook page. I'm not sure what your groups' intentions are, however let it be known I GOT your point. And I'm going to be VERY forward and VERY frank. DO NOT HARASS me or my cast anymore. I met someone very special during this production's rehearsing and I met some of the bravest most outgoing cast members I have EVER had the PRIVILEGE of WORKING with and I would fight tooth and nail for each of them.  It's time to grow up and put this issue aside and let OTHER actors do the WORK that your band won't. Please forward this to the others in your party so they know how serious I am. I stand behind my director but more importantly I stand behind my CAST and I am not moving. These people are way more important to me than the opinions of those trying to ruin another group of actors' work.Good luck in pursuing YOUR dream. I hope no one ever comes along to belittle the strength ,courage, and talent that YOU have.

In closing, please email Rise Above at ratmov@gmail.com; with any questions or concerns you have, and we will be happy to address them on an individual basis.   Please do not let a small group of talent misrepresent the company, or your beliefs of; if you are reading this.   Rise Above is still going strong, and still around.  Thanks Again for your support, and we hope to see you at the show.

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#15 Consumer Comment

There is no "Rise Above Board" - it's just one person continuing to lie!

AUTHOR: Ididittopleaseyou - (United States of America)

Please ask Kenne Guillory who is on his "board" at Rise Above - there is NO board.  Why?  Because everyone who has ever done a production with him has either quit before the play even opened or right after the production.  The only reason he's addressing his rebuttal as from the "Rise Above Board" is so that he doesn't appear to be the only one defending himself.  But I ASSURE you he is. 

The Rise Above "Board's" responses to the accusations are again - more false claims and bending of the truth.  I hope anyone reading them can see that:

A)  The only reason he's speaking "kindly" about some of the people who filed complaints is to appear to be professional.  But there is absolutely NOTHING professional about Kenne Guillory or his theatre company.  I was part of one of his productions (before myself and the cast quit) and can assure you that everyone else in the show would agree that Kenne is anything BUT professional.  In addition, everyone I've met who has ever worked with Rise Above would claim the same thing.  This is around 30-40 people.

The question is - do you believe 30-40 actors who've worked with Kenne over the last two years, or one pathological liar trying to defend his immoral and unethical actions?

B) Kenne tiptoed his way around the "Members Quit" accusation (#5) - notice he only addresses what constitutes a "company member" and who fell under those requirements.  This is not what the accusation included - everyone who has ever done a show with Kenne has quit.  Simple as that.  When we were all part of his company, there was no board or official membership.  He was trying to set one up, but alas - no one would join or give him money to be included.  So however he crafts his response in regards to what "members" have officially quit - ask him how many of the actors he worked with a year ago and even a WEEK ago still have anything to do with him? 

C)  Kenne did not respond to the accusations of being kicked off Actors Access and having his Executive Director quit on him.  Why?  Because they are both true.  Kenne likes to create fake profiles and aliases to get what he wants - ask him why his current production of "Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love" was listed as being directed by "JAMES HART" on Actors Access?  Because he couldn't use his real name.  And we have a long, comprehensive letter from his former Executive DIrector explaining why he quit and basically backing up most of these accusations.  Again, why would all of these people be lying?

D)  If Bill Clinton can have his personal/sexual matters dragged out into the public while he was president, I think Kenne deserves to respond to the personal accusations against him too.  For instance, why are employers allowed to ask if their prospective employees have ever been convicted of a felony?  Because it speaks to the character of the person, and people deserve to know these things if they are going to dedicate their time and money to Rise Above Theatre.

But truthfully, Kenne doesn't have to respond to the "creating a fake female profile to solicit naked pictures from his actors" accusation.  Because there are countless former actors who can attest to this.  I am also one who was friend requested by "Melissa Jones."  But the scary part is that we've spoken with some of Kenne's most recent cast members and guess what?  A different "unknown female" has been harassing some of them for naked pictures.  That's just sick that a director would do this to his own actors!

And regarding the warrant out for his arrest and the restraining order from his ex-fiancee - again, these speak to Kenne's character and it is important to know this kind of stuff when looking for a theatre company to work with.

PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY - I can't bear to see any more innocent actors and crew members misled, harassed, sexually preyed upon and lied to by this guy.  The only way to stop him is to stop doing his productions.
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#16 Consumer Comment

"AS POSTED ON FACEBOOK" response was used out of context!!

AUTHOR: Ididittopleaseyou - (United States of America)

The entire post under "AS POSTED ON FACEBOOK" was used completely used out of context by the owner of Rise Above Theatre movement to make it appear as if there is actually someone who supports him and his unethical, unprofessional company.  This response was written weeks ago by one of his MANY former Assistant Directors and Cast Members on the Rise Above Theatre Movement's facebook page.  It has since been removed.  Why?  Because the person who wrote it has QUIT Kenne's company.  When this was written, she had just joined his company and didn't know the extent of his actions.  As soon as she was informed and learned for herself what this company was really about, she QUIT!  She removed this comment and wants nothing to do with Rise Above.  But Kenne decided to cut and paste this old comment from weeks ago onto this report to make it look as if it was still valid.  It isn't!  I can get you in contact with the person who wrote this if you need proof - she will definitely verify that this was taken out of context.

THIS IS EXACTLY THE TYPE OF FALSE, MISLEADING INFORMATION THAT KENNE GUILLORY CONTINUOUSLY PRESENTS AND CLAIMS TO PERSUADE PEOPLE INTO DOING HIS PRODUCTIONS.  PLEASE JUST STOP ALREADY, KENNE!
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#17 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Mr. Guillory is a scam artist

AUTHOR: Wontsettlegirl - (United States of America)

The Owner's Rebuttal is absurdly false and misleading. I worked with the company on several productions. I was aware that the company was in debt (I was, and still am, owed several hundred dollars). However, when I discovered that Mr. Guillory had been stealing money for his own personal use, I quit the company (along with every single other member).

While I can verify every single accusation against Mr. Guillory, I want to highlight a few:

#2: He DID claim false bankruptcy. I was informed by him directly that he had filed (not that he was intending to, but that he already had) filed for bankruptcy. As he admits above, this was a blatant lie.

#6/7: When he attempted to stage Richard Greenberg's "Take Me Out," his ENTIRE cast quit. He recasted and attempted to proceed with the production. He had NOT obtained the rights, and the show was shut down. Several of the original actors who had quit because of Mr. Guillory's unethical actions expressed a desire to stage the production independently. I had the honor of co-directing this production. However, we were shocked when we went to apply for the rights and were informed that because Mr. Guillory had butchered the script so badly, and put on such a horrendous production, Greenberg had decided to withdraw the rights from the entire La area. We were able (just barely) to get permission from Mr. Greenberg for a special exemption to be given to us.

The fact that Mr. Guillory staged something so terrible that the rights were withdrawn from all of Los angeles is reason alone to stay far away from him. But sadly he also has a plethora of illegal, immoral, and unethical actions arrayed against him as well.
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#18 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Mr. Guillory is a scam artist

AUTHOR: Wontsettlegirl - (United States of America)

The Owner's Rebuttal is absurdly false and misleading. I worked with the company on several productions. I was aware that the company was in debt (I was, and still am, owed several hundred dollars). However, when I discovered that Mr. Guillory had been stealing money for his own personal use, I quit the company (along with every single other member).
While I can verify every single accusation against Mr. Guillory, I want to highlight a few:

#2: He DID claim false bankruptcy. I was informed by him directly that he had filed (not that he was intending to, but that he already had) filed for bankruptcy. As he admits above, this was a blatant lie.

#6/7: When he attempted to stage Richard Greenberg's "Take Me Out," his ENTIRE cast quit. He recasted and attempted to proceed with the production. He had NOT obtained the rights, and the show was shut down. Several of the original actors who had quit because of Mr. Guillory's unethical actions expressed a desire to stage the production independently. I had the honor of co-directing this production. However, we were shocked when we went to apply for the rights and were informed that because Mr. Guillory had butchered the script so badly, and put on such a horrendous production, Greenberg had decided to withdraw the rights from the entire La area. We were able (just barely) to get permission from Mr. Greenberg for a special exemption to be given to us.
The fact that Mr. Guillory staged something so terrible that the rights were withdrawn from all of Los angeles is reason alone to stay far away from him. But sadly he also has a plethora of illegal, immoral, and unethical actions arrayed against him as well.
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#19 UPDATE Employee

As Posted on Facebook Page

AUTHOR: LetItGo - (United States of America)

 I can appreciate that you may feel slighted by events you feel were not fair to you. However, that is something one needs to address personally to those involved, and in a professional manner. I am not an "original cast member." This is my first production with the Rise Above Theatre, but I stand behind this company and this production. Yes, it is tough.

This is still a new theatre company on the Los Angeles scene, and with new and unestablished there are bound to struggles and obstacles. It is not easy, I know. But this company is not malicious. This company is not some get-rich-quick scheme in an effort to scam actors out of money. Trust me, if anyone thinks there's easy money in independent theatre, they're in for a surprise! I got involved with the Rise Theatre Movement because I was actually very impressed by the repertoire and its dedication to artistic expression. This is an unestablished theatre company, with all the struggles that come along with that, but IT IS A COMPANY WITH HEART AND SOUL AND A PASSION. Based on the reviews the company has gotten, I'd say that it is worthwhile. Also, nobody has been asked to pay for anything.

The Rise Above Theatre doesn't even take dues for company membership. I would also like to point out that I find it a odd that YOU keep creating new facebook profiles (and multiple reports on ehre that are obvious copy and paste) and you keep stalking this company and badmouthing it on the internet. Again, I am just an actress who JUST got involved with this company. I hold no stake in the company - to be perfectly frank, beyond the current production, the company's success or failure is of zero consequence to me (although I AM considering joining the company membership in the future). But I felt the need to speak up because what you are doing is unprofessional, bitter, and wrong
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#20 Author of original report

Owers rebuttal not ture

AUTHOR: ExRatmo - (United States of America)

Kennes "Accusation" rebuttals are false. Please read below for more information:

Rebuttal ACCUSATION ONE: In Kennes rebuttal he says that people are slowly being paid back. That means that means not everyone has been paid back. Yet, in an email sent out to his current cast he says everyone has been paid. Which one is it Kenne? I can tell you, NO ONE. I have the email if anyone wants to see it.

Rebuttal ACCUSATION TWO: Mr. Johnson did not say anything about the company closing their doors. I, like everyone else, found out in an email that Rise Above Theatre Movement was going bankrupt and that no one will get paid. After more research it was found out that was false and neither Kenne nor the company has filed for bankruptcy. I have the bankruptcy email if anyone wants to see it.

Rebuttal ACCUSATION THREE: The debt of the company is something we knew going into a young company. What is wrong with his debt is he mismanaged money and stole from his actors. If he was open about finances and not used the company money for personal use, he would truly be 2/3 the way paying people off. Every former cast member I have talk to has not been paid back and he continues to misuse founds. 

Rebuttal ACCUSATION FOUR: His eviction was a result of mismanagement of funds as stated above. Also, he stole and sold equipment in the theatre. The owner has sued him over that. 

Rebuttal ACCUSATION FIVE: From Judas to Take Me Out his first full set of cast members have up and quit on him. I was his AD for AFGM and was constantly trying to keep the cast together, as well as, auditioning for new cast members in the middle of a run. Comment reason for quitting 1)Kenne is unprofessional 2) They feel as if Kenne is Melissa Jones 3)The money does not add up 4)Misuse of funds by Kenne. I have all these emails and resignation letters from these cast members. I can send them to  you with the exception of their names unless I receive permission to show you. 

Rebuttal ACCUSATION SIX, SEVEN: What can I say its all a lie. I have an email tread from his cast of Take Me Out, saying that Dramatist took the rights to his show away. If the cast didnt quit he would have still tried to put on the show. Again, I have the email if anyone wants to see it.

Rebuttal ACCUSATION TWELEVE, THIRTEEN, FOURTEEN: I will only be writing about the Facebook profiles. All of the Facebook profiles started with Melissa Jones. I have emails and text from people saying that he continues to create fake profiles to get pictures from his Male actors. One guy quit over it and was harassed by this girl for a long time after. 

If you are still reading this and still think you want to be a part of this company then there is nothing else I can say. Kenne has a way of manipulation and making things seem like rainbows and unicorns. They are not. Follow your gut on this guy and stay far away. Every actor put in so much time and money into making his and our dreams come true. Yes, at first we
thought that it was a new company and Kenne has a lot to learn. We began to learn that Kenne was just using us and all of our work was to benefit him. We worked hard to make his company a success. I personally had a strain with my
relationship and friends, because I put so much of myself into this company. I believed in what the company could be. I wanted to be a part of making people a success and having a community where can network and try out projects. I wanted
to learn from other actors and teach others what I know. I tried to stay as long as I could and at some points was naive to think things would get better. I sincerely hope you reconsider joining this company. It sounds like a great opportunity,
but like the saying goes, its too good to be true. 


 







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#21 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Everything is true

AUTHOR: zgoodrich - (United States of America)

I was personally involved in a show with this company and I confirm EVERYTHING the original report claims. Rise above is a gigantic scam. I signed a contract with the company promising me % of ticket sales and a 100 dollar gas stipend. I have yet to see a single cent of any of that money. Not to mention I was the person who cracked the whole Melissa Jones scandal seeing as how Kenne's ip address matched those coming from Melissa Jones' emails.

I don't care if that's a personal matter or whatever the owner claims. If the owner of the company sexually harasses male members pretending to be a female to receive nude pictures, that alone should make you go running for the hills. Why be a part of this sick man's agenda?

Rise above is a term everyone in this company should do. Rise above the owner's sick scams and find a better company.
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#22 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Rise Above's Response from Our Board

AUTHOR: Rise Above Theatre Movement Board - (United States of America)

This is the official response to Mr. Garrett Johnsons,  Ms. Katherine Depanghers, Mr. Matthew Emerts , and Ms. Melinda McKays comments:

 Melinda, Katherine and Garrett were pleasures to work with during the two productions they each performed as talent with Rise Above Theatre.   While Matts involvement was more limited, and he never moved passed the rehearsal process due to internal
company matters created by others, we were looking forward to showcasing his
talent as well.  We deeply are sorry that the  parting of ways with these four, has
turned out bitter and sour as this is.  While this is their stance and freedom to continue to warn people through this site (copy and pasting multiple reports of the EXACT same wording), continuing FaceBook postings, and the emails they have been sendingto current company members;  no- one in the Rise Above Family, including the founder, Kenne Guillory, holds any ill-will towards them; as everybody is entitled to their own opinions.

 We would also like to state that the allegations of this report, while some are 100% true (and others are false) doesnt not reflectwhat the company is now (see below for item by item explanation).   Every company when they first come into existence has their struggles.  Everything company related mentioned in this report are from the first 8 months of the existence of Rise Above.
Now to address these issues on an individual basis:

ACCUSATION ONE: 
Plays 411 Ticket Unfortunately, this is true.   This is the one thing that Mr. Guillory wishes he could take back, and do different.  Simply put, he panicked when the production costs ran above what was made, and at the time, and could not pay his actors on time; as originally hoped for.  Judas was the first production for RATMO, and it was a learning experience.  Since this time, actors are slowly being paid for their services through box receipts of the success of other shows. Records are available.

 ACCUSATION TWO:
False Bankruptcy In April 2012, The formed ED of Rise Above suggested to file bankruptcy and restructure the company with a new name and vision to launch after strategic planning.  
Because of continuing multiple emails, texts, and the like a day by Mr. Johnson; Mr. Guillory jumped the gun and announced that the company would be shutting the doors.  However, in late April 2012, a new vision emerged from advisers. The consensus was after Take Me Out went up, to cancel the rest of the 2012 season, take some time to rethink, and reorganize, and launch again strong in 2013.  This is what Rise Above is currently in the midst of.

ACCUSATION THREE:
Debt Yes, sadly RATMO is still in debt after two years.  However, the debt now for the company is two-thirds less then after the first production closed.   This is in part to the huge success of our Spring show last year.  As with most people know, any new company is in debt, and on average, takes 3-5 years to start turning profit.  Mr. Guillory was fully prepared to take this endeavor on knowing this, and is glad things are going well.

ACCUSATION FOUR:
Eviction Due to the rough time RATMO was having in April/May last year, with the resignation of the ED, and the major cast over haul from the mistakes of Judas, Our production of Take Me Out was less than a blockbuster (as our other productions had), and we were unable to make rent for a two month span.  RATMO tried to surrender the property, but unfortunately, the landlord would not let RATMO break the lease, so we waited for the Eviction.

 ACCUSATION FIVE:
Members Quit  - Because of the guidelines and stipulations set up by Rise Above, there have been no company members until recently. As the guidelines/bylaws (even posted on our website) clearly state everyone is a feature performer until having completed two full shows (including rehearsals).   Of the three that went from Judas to AFGM, those actors, did, unfortunately decline membership, with the exception of Mr. Johnson. He was the only one of the original season that signed paperwork to be a member of the Rise Above Family.   We have several people working on our Sophomore season that have worked on past
Rise Above productions.

 ACCUSATION SIX, SEVEN:
RIGHTS This is always an ongoing struggle with the theatre companies, as information on these rights are private, so they are not always displayed.  However, RATMO also realizes the seriousness of putting on a show without the rights.  We have never been shut down for not having rights for a show, because we always have.  When this report first surfaced,
we immediately posted a public version of the stock agreement on our facebook page of the two shows in question.  If you go to that page, and scroll down to May 2012, you will clearly see this; we even addressed it on that page.

 ACCUSATION EIGHT:
TMO SCRIPT We merged two characters into the show as one, in a dire situation for a weekend when a cast member was unavailable.  

 ACCUSATION NINE:
DRAMATIST To Rise Aboves knowledge we are notFlagged.  We do, however have a hold on rights from them until we finish paying off the rights for Judas which Dramatists is the licensing company for.  Once these royalty fees are paid, we will beable to work from Dramatists again, and look forward to the summer, so we can Infact, we have a Dramatist
licensed play on our slated season.

ACCUSATION TEN, ELEVEN:
These have been addressed in the above

 ACCUSATION TWELEVE, THIRTEEN, FOURTEEN:
Facebook Profile; Warrant, Ex-Fiance
These are personal manners, and while these are not all true, we will not be addressing them as it has nothing to do with the business, as previously stated.  The members of Rise Above have never mixed business and pleasure before, and will not now.  Everybody has skeletons in their closet, that they are not proud of; including Ms. McKay, Mr. Johnson, Ms. Depangher, and Mr. Emert, even everyone who reads this report.

 In conclusion, Rise Above apologiezes for you having to read this report online, and have to go through some panic by some former talent of the company.  As a compensation for the hassel, please email us and mention the code word "Ripoff", and you recieve two 100% complimentary tickets to a show, so you may expierence what critics call A Force to Reckon with and A company Redefining blackbox daily  for yourself; and will be able to see exactly what Rise Above is truly about - a Company for the talent, by the talent. It will show you how the company has grown from it's first year; and how this report doesnt reflect what Rise Above is at all.  For any further information, or any personal concerns, please contact us via email ratmov@gmail.com.  See you at a show soon.
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