Welcome back everyone, and welcome to any new subscribers!
Well, as I'm sure many of you noticed it has been 4 months since our last proper email update - there was an update in December but for various reasons this was stopped halfway through sending and it seems only a handful of people got it - I don't even have an archive copy of it for reasons stated below. I am extrememly sorry for this. In many ways being quiet for so long is not good enough and I owe everyone an apology for not being more transparent. However, this has been necessary for the future of the project and the safety of everyone's tokens, as I shall explain.
I am very aware that a good amount of people have believed in the project and spent their ETH to buy 7ype coins, and I feel a lot of pressure to make sure I don't let anybody down, and I use the Eth wisely. I feel like the last 4 months have been extremely productive and the future of the company is a strong one. It has been very hard for me to remain silent on social media whilst continuing to work but we were advised it was the best thing to do, for various reasons below.
The crypto space recently has been very volatile with many scam icos, fake "companies" pulling of exit scams, the fall of high profile ponzis and the like. I hope that most people feel like they know enough about me and my career and intentions to know that this was never the case with 7ype. Indeed - we are one of the first ICOs to have a real, working product. Our first film is being released (finally) in just a few days, and we have a new film release scheduled for every month of this year and beyond, which is very exciting!
There are 2 major things to cover to get everyone up to speed.
1) Why we have been silent for a while, and
2) What we've done behind the scenes and what is now happenning.
I shall split these into 2 separate 7ypegeist emails, as the second one is so much more interesting and exicting and I want to concentrate on positive things moving forward. But in this email it is important to be transparent as to why we went quiet for a while, to reassure anyone worried, and to offer some context.
This first one is going to be a pretty long slog, and mostly depressing. If you are only interested in films being released and company progress moving forward, please feel free to skip all this "drama". I wouldn't blame you at all!
Some of you will recall that I previously recieved some rather nasty, threatenning messages from people puporting to be from one of the major companies I previously worked for, saying I had somehow broken their NDA agreements with the 7ype project. I believed these accusations were baseless at the time, and it was probably an internet troll trying to scare me. This proved to be right, as the person subsequently asked for me to send them 50 ETH in order to be an "advisor" on the project, and implied that unless I made the payment, they would get me in to trouble with said company. This is a company I have worked for many years for and I told them I did not need such an advisor and I had already talked with said company about the matter. Sadly, this was not the last time someone would try and extort me for 7ype funds.
I'm sure many of you have heard about the recent complete upheaval of the Hollywood system, after the fallout from the revelations about many producers, directors and actors abusing their positions of power. I have been very strongly advised to not mention any specifics or names but needless to say that I have worked with many of the people under fire, either directly or indirectly, and have heard many horror stories over the years from my colleagues and friends. I consider any kind of abuse of power to be completely abhorent and also never tollerate any kind of sexual harassment or abuse on any of my projects.
It is, of course, well known that many film producers, directors and stars like to play fast an loose with the women who work under them. Affairs in this industry are very common, and the old cliche of the "casting couch" is definitely unfortunately still a thing, in this day and age. I count myself incredibly lucky to have been a happily married man for 16 years with two wonderful kids, and this side of the industry has never interested me. Whilst of course I have acted in sex scenes, kissed many actresses etc, this is all part of the job and I have never once wanted to behave in such a way OFF camera. I have always strived to ensure that any film set that I am in charge of is one where people feel safe and comfortable.
There have been times when I have worked on some pretty big "Hollywood" films, and been very excited to be on set. But after I have heard revalations from colleagues that the director, producer or star has abused their position of power and caused friends of mine to be uncomfortable, I have asked that I am not named or credited on these movies, and have chosen never to work on other films with the same offenders again. You could argue that this has harmed my career prospects in the short term, but now that this is all coming out in the news I feel glad that I chose not to assist in the career of people who clearly did not deserve their fame, success or power, and that some of them are starting to reap the kharmic returns.
There are a handful of people in the industry who are being called out as part of the #metoo revelations, who I have worked with on several occasions in the past. In all but one case, I had never heard any of these stories, and of course it is always heart-breaking to hear someone speak badly about people that you know. None of these people are connected to 7ype or any of our films, but of course, I have been hounded by various members of the press, and a few very loud and persistant people on social media to make statements about them, or implying that somehow I was complicit simply by knowing the people involved. Lawsuits are pending and although none of this reflects on me directly (of course, no allegations about ME, just to be clear) I have been advised both by lawyers and friends in the industry that it is safer to remain completely silent on this matter in the meantime. Whether they are guilty or not guilty, no matter what I say there is a chance I will accidentally cause someone pain. It is important that victims always feel that they will be believed. It is also important that people are not tried without jury. I've seen some major Hollywood names be heavily criticised for using the phrases "witch hunt" and "trial by social media" but sadly this whole situation has become a big messy boiling pot where it is hard to remain level headed and be fair to everyone, and literally everyone in the entertainment industry is sacred of being accused of things, even if they have nothing in their past to worry about.
Once again, I abhor any kind of abuse of power, or anything that would give anyone pause to feel they are at a disadvantage simply because of their sex, gender, body type, age, race, religion, sexuality, country of origin or any other thing that they have little to no control over. I actively have used 7ype funds to support writers, directors and actors who are female, BAME, LGBTQ+, or any other minoirty that may traditionally be felt is a "barrier to entry". Also, 7ype are sponsoring various charity events and even a women's football team (more on this tomorrow) to drum up some publicity locally, whilst helping create jobs and opportunities for minorities.
I for one have always been aware that certain people in the industry are not very nice(to put it mildly). Everyone knew it, and had war stories, but the general feeling was that they had too much money, power, influence or whatever to ever be called up on their behavior. Whilst many of the stories we are hearing in the news every day coming out about people are horific, I am glad that we are hearing them rather than sweeping them under the rug, and I am very hopeful that this will enforce a sea-change, and the film industry will be a safer, fairer, more comfortable work environment for everybody moving forwards.
You may recall that I talked of a longer, more detailed white paper, and a video presentation, which seemed to always get delayed. Sadly, the fact that our ICO raised a significant amount of ETH and publicity drew the attention of a few people in the film industry - many who I've worked with before, and seemingly many way higher up the chain than me in more traditional film companies, and they felt like they had to use their power and influence to police what I wrote publically about the industry's (open) "secrets".
In the original longer version of my whitepaper, I went in to great detail about the way certain film companies do business in corrupt ways. Fiddling the books, to avoid paying royalties. Writing off debts so no-one gets paid except the top dogs. Using films to launder money for criminals. Abusing power to manipulate young aspiring actors. Sexual abuse and pedophila. Ingrained sexism, racism and other predudices. Stealing ideas, intellectual properties, scripts and strong-arming projects. The top brass essentially writing themselves massive blank cheques for doing little to no work, resulting in them getting paid back before investors and workers as they are the biggest "debtor" through mere technicality. Several more common ways to steal money from investors, that I have seen practiced everywhere from tiny low budget indie movies all the way up to major Hollywood fare.
None of this is new information, much of it an "open secret" not taught in film school, but learned from heresay when actually on set. My idea with 7ype was to use ETH to fund a moral film company, with clear, open books and contracts, where none of these tactics would be used, and the success of the films would pay for future projects, and would support people working on the films at every level, not just making the top 1% richer whilst leaching off everyone else.
Sadly, the lengthy version of my whitepaper was requested by several companies and individual producers that I had previously worked with, clearly worried in case I had said anything to point a spot-light at them. Whilst I did not mention any names, I was very firmly told to change the wording of certain content, and advised to completely remove other sections. It seems several people felt threatenned by it, either because people would start asking them potentially difficult questions, or because they felt that me publically espousing such views might make it difficult for them to pull their scams in the future. Needless to say I shall continue to run my own business as ethically as possible, but many of these people are massively richer than me, with big legal teams, and some even with nasty underground connections. I have to be careful not to rock the boat too far, whilst continuing to not upset people who can start co-ordinated attacks against me or get the company black-listed and ruin the distribution and marketing chances of our future films.
Perhaps coincidentally (I was certainly unaware) but several people very high up in the crypto space have previously profitted from some of this illegal and/or immoral activity including film based scams, systematic sexual abuse and money laundering. A very prominant name in the Bitcoin community, and several people in some big Ethereum based ICOs have a lot in their past that they don't want raked up. Sadly, some of these people heard about 7ype and felt that it was somehow a threat to them. Some streted proceedings which meant that I couldn't get advertising on crpto based websites, social media ads etc, even making sure that adverts I had piad for were never shown. They also made clear that my idea to extend the ICO date in October was not one they supported and if I did so they would ensure a huge amount of FUD in social media, article comments etc. This all seemed very petty to me considering these are people waaaay richer than me with much bigger projects, but I admit I did feel intimidated. Heck, they do say "welcome to the wild west of finance"...
On December 16th, I uploaded a big update to the website. I included the "final" version of the whitepaper (which I thought was now watered down enough not to cause trouble) and a presentation video to Youtube. I was in a big hurry to do this, as I was getting ready to fly to America for several weeks over Christmas and New Year, and wanted to update everything for everyone before I went. I typed a 7ypegeist email, and updated my Twitter, then, running late, got a taxi to the train station to Gatwick airport.
The next day I checked to see the response. Strangely I couldn't log into my Twitter or my 7ype email. Turns out, I'd been hit with copyright strikes, fraud/impersonation strikes, and had been locked out of all accounts. I don't know how many of you noticed, but the 7ype website went completely offline for a few days because of this. On my other, personal (non-7ype) email address and Twitter, I had a large amount of rather nasty messages. I have been threatened with doxxing, ddos attacks, and having my crypto accounts cleared out. Worse still, I have had sinister mail posted through my front door, and even had someone turn up in person at my front door and behave in a very threatening manor. I recieved messages threatenning to make up false stories of sexual abuse on social media on the #metoo hashtag, to ride the wave of genuine accusations, and ruin my career.
Some of these threats have been because people simply don't like what I'm trying to do, or worry it may reflect badly upon them. Some have demanded money in Bitcoin or Ether as a bribe, or "security" racket. Some have demanded that I fund their films (one of these people even set up their own failed film based ICO before trying to blackmail me into funding it instead... I politely declined).
The fallout from this has been of course to get legal advice, and determine if police protection is required. Myself, my wife and kids have moved house, away from the one where I had people come to the door. I have had a private plate bought so I can change the registration on my car. I am not ashamed to admit that I have been stressed and depressed, have had some clinical therapy and am currently taking anti-depressants and anxiety medication. Please don't worry about me, I am fine now. Its just a nasty situation. General advice for me has been to "lay low", stay away from social media, email etc, and not say anything that could anger anyone.
Needless to say I have no intention of letting 7ype die. I believe in the project as strongly as ever, and I have been throwing myself into doing everything I can to ensure its success. Gabbi, Matt and others have been helping, and we've made some incredible progress. Whilst I have now regained control over my scoial media, emails, hosting etc, I haven't asked Gabbi to take over the social media and emails immediately as previously planned, as of course dealing with those kinds of things are far beyond what it would be appropriate for a new employee to have to shoulder. It is me who is in the public eye, and me who is being taregted, not any of my other family, friends and employees. It is something I will have to deal with going forward.
Our first film gets released in the UK and USA in the next few days. This is the first of many, and we will be releasing a completed film every month for the next year and beyond, so there is a very positive future ahead for 7ype. I am just starting to come back properly "online" now, as of course it is my responsibility to plug the films and make sure that people know about them. I will be updating far more often, although of course it will take a little while to properly catch up with individual messages, as there is a lot to wade through, and some of it is quite traumatic what with the threatening messages interspersed, and what I imagine will be some angry or frustrated messages from 7ype owners too. I shall not blame anyone for the latter, it is very frustrating when people go "ghost", but at least now hopefully I have explained why this was necessary, both for my security, and to ensure the safety and future of 7ype coin and our films.
It may be that I personally have to be a little less transparant around personal circumstances or exactly how much money is raised, where it is stored etc to avoid more people resorting to extortion or bullying tactics. But I am not the kind of person to bury my head in the sand or run away. We have some great movies lined up, some exciting things planned over the next few years, and I truly believe that if we can make 7ype as big a success as possible, we can pave the way for a wonderful future for a fairer, safer, and more creative and productive film industry in the future.
If you read all of that, thank you for baring with me. Please do not ask specifics like names of offenders, companies to avoid etc. as this is a can of worms I have been very, very strongly advised not to open by lawyers. Rest assured that anyone who I have actual evidence on has been reported to the authorities where appropriate. I hope this will all blow over and other than this (very long!) email I'll never have to mention these topics again!
I'll be emailling a second part tomorrow with all positive company and film based news. Its an exciting year for 7ype and I know you are all going to love the new movies we have to anounce and the projects coming out!
Many thanks again to everyone for the continued support, and I hope you all have a great day!
All the best, Samuel Victor (twitter: @samuelvictor @7ypecoin)