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Cheated out of Payment from Civilized

Danielle | February 10, 2020 | 9 3
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Media is a hard industry, and no one in media is treated worse than the content creators who scour the earth to bring you something interesting to read while you sit on the loo and ponder the rest of your day/life. Now imagine all of the bullshit of media paired with all of the fuckery of cannabis and you have one really tough road to travel if you are a journalist. The gigs are limited, the rates are stagnant, and worst of all: at least two publications a year have attempted to stiff me out of those hard earned and low paying rates. Yes, everyone from the most trusted name in cannabis to the new flashy fonted marketplaces have assigned, accepted, and published work that came from my brain, and then tried to ignore me when the bill came.

However, io Siciliana, and I always get what is owed to me if just by being an enormous pain in the ass. This time— I’m done playing email chess while ineffective business people live off of my efforts. Despite having a rare nurturing editorial experience under Civilized’s awesome editor, payment was abhorrently late on the regular. Two weeks after turning in some invoices for pieces where I asked for more money due to the intensity of the reporting (which was denied, fine), the staff was laid off and my emails about payment were left unanswered through all of November 2019 and the entire holiday season. I contacted the ‘new owner’ New Frontier Data’s CEO on LinkedIn, Civilized’s CEO on LinkedIn, Chelsea Handler (an investor) on Instagram and Neighbor or whatever that weird texting app is, no answer.

Finally, after tracking down the CEO and President and their assistant’s direct emails, I was told, “I’m sorry you feel ignored” despite going three months with no contact. They agreed to late fees to keep me from blowing up their spot, then did not answer for another month. Not a word. Now, feeling like they just wanted to shut me up and have no intentions of paying the now FOUR late fees (versus eight that they actually incurred) I demanded written or verbal confirmation from the purchasing party (New Frontier Data) that these fees would be paid. No answer for a week after the demand was made. The deadline passes. I call Terri, the president, leave her a message, no answer, no response. I have since let my union representative know about the situation and in addition to contacting legal representation, am sharing this story because enough is enough. How many times do writers and content creators who make the internet go round have to put up with this shit before we take action? How many jerkoffs move to LA on their investment dollars and lead a lifestyle that relies on the theft of other’s labor?

I’m sharing this because I can’t walk away from the money, I need it to pay my fucking bills. It must be nice to get to play suit in the C-suite, complete with the robber baron mentality that all of these founders seem to share, but most of us could never even get in the CHAT ROOM ON LINKED IN with these investors, let alone the board room. The last story I wrote for them was about the mafia’s influence in cannabis, ironically. Maybe it should have been about founders poisoned by capitalism who navel gaze their way into the 1% at the expense of dozens, hundreds, and thousands of real human beings. Pay me my money, Civilized or New Frontier Data or whoever the hell you are, in full and promptly.


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    Feb 12, 2020, 01:31 AM  Reply

    Wow - didn't know Chelsea Handler was an investor. Canndescent paid a lot of money to Civilized for their vape launch in which Chelsea and Adrian had a fireside chat where Adrian Masturbated with his brush with fame. I digress. As a writer, let's create a boycott with all creative talent and freelancers that do work with Civilized. I am done acting like these cannabis companies are at the professional level of traditional business. They need to start acting like real business people if they want to be respected and if this industry is ever going to be respected. Also, to all the media outlets -- stop pitching us to buy your crappy, low circulation rags with ZERO verified documents that show your circulation...MG for example. Who the hell sells media with zero backing? Oh, the cannabis industry. Listen, I get it is emerging...than be honest and tell us that. And, let's all stop giving High Times money in coolers to pay for their events. Who does that? Time to grow up and rise to professionalism, respect yourself and you will be respected. Over and out.

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    Feb 13, 2020, 09:56 AM  Reply

    Green Market Report always pays its writers quickly. It’s not much $$ but the payment is hassle free. We appreciate all our writers. Not all cannabis media is sketchy. Good luck out there.

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    Feb 13, 2020, 02:28 PM  Reply

    This is so appalling. So they had millions to blow on acquiring the 420 Games but nothing left to pay writers....those founders should be ashamed to show their faces in public.

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    Feb 13, 2020, 03:35 PM  Reply

    Wow I feel your pain. We are on the boat ride with them! We did stuff for them in June and we are still after them to get paid. Here's the last email I got from Terri Riedle Co-founder & President. Thank you for the patience you’ve afforded Civilized over the last few months. As you may be aware, Civilized is in the process of being acquired by New Frontier Data. As a follow-up to their October announcement to that effect, we’re continuing to work in partnership with them and other advisors on a shared strategic and capital plan for 2020. I wanted to give you a heads-up today that the acquisition due diligence process has led us to the joint conclusion that the best path forward is to suspend Civilized’s day-to-day operations until January 2020. This is news you may catch in the media in the coming weeks. By hitting pause, we’re minimizing costs while we work with New Frontier Data to move into the new year with the resources we need in order to achieve our goals, including honouring our commitments to you. We regret that our vendors are in a difficult position and want to assure you that despite the delays, New Frontier Data prioritizes these important relationships and will be in a position to remedy the situation with vendors as soon as possible. We expect to re-launch a stronger and more powerful media company in a few weeks and appreciate this is an uncomfortable, even if necessary, transition for all. If you have any questions or wish to get in touch with me or New Frontier Data to discuss, we’re available to you.

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    Feb 16, 2020, 09:02 PM  Reply

    She’s so shady she makes Trump look honest.

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    Feb 20, 2020, 01:39 AM  Reply

    When I met a crew from Civilized at a trade show a while back they became rude when they discovered I was from PotTV, as if 20 years of fighting the drug war with a camera wasn't legit, wasn't civilized. As long as people are still in jail for pot, still being victimized by the drug war, the job isn't the typical overly-produced fake-news establishment pro-prohibition media BS. It's a call for freedom, first and foremost. It's civil disobedience. Cannabis isn't new, and neither is cannabis broadcasting. Roots matter. Warning to creators looking for a pot media payday with seedling start-ups: If you don't trust their editorial staff, why would you trust their payroll? If they don't rep for the heads, can you expect anything other than a headache? If they aren't committed to fighting literal armies with their art, why jump in the trenches with them? The rastas, sadhus, hippies and hashashins have always known the truth. If you're afraid of the smoke, you're full of hot air.

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    Feb 20, 2020, 11:47 PM  Reply

    Another slimy cannabis pub is MG Magazine. No media kit with circulation numbers and just overall ick. Wants big bucks for little to know evidence that people read the rag.

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    Mar 14, 2020, 07:29 PM  Reply

    Out of curiosity - did you eventually get paid? NFD also owns me money.

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    Apr 07, 2020, 12:54 AM  Reply

    Now they gone hocking hand sanitizer on IG. and their website. Wtf is wrong with these folk? Gotta b new frontier fell out and they desperate. Karma is real, fam. They took investor money and paid for “private Jet Chelsea” to fly around and get paid. Real good use of funds. All y’all writers aren’t getting paid cause they thought Handler would make em cannabis celebrities. You can’t buy cool, but cool will sure take your Benjamin’s with a smile!!

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    Mar 26, 2021, 10:39 AM  Reply

    Did anyone ever get paid? They've gone seemingly completely dark.

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