Anti-wealth guru YouTuber raises over $20k for legal fees after receiving cease and desist letter

PHOTO: YouTube / Screengrab

UPDATE: Article has been amended to reflect that Rishi is no longer represented by M Ravi. 

A local YouTuber who has been slamming the slew of so-called business gurus promising financial success has found himself in a bit of legal pickle.

LeapVista, a startup that offers training in the art of e-commerce and online marketing, sent a legal letter to Rishi, accusing the YouTuber of defamation and infringement of its copyright. But it would seem that folks are firmly on the side of the YouTuber in this case.

Rishi has been known to be a vocal critic of internet marketing and wealth coaching gurus who’ve made their online presence very prominent via aggressive internet ads. Such individuals offer courses in e-commerce entrepreneurship and charge substantial fees for the training — though the actual success rate of the wealth-seeking attendees remains foggy.

In multiple videos, Rishi does not hesitate in calling these enterprises outright scams. One that was posted on Oct 13 called “Exposing Singapore Marketing Gurus” featured him tearing into a LeapVista ad, in which the company’s chief trainer Benjamin Tan promises to share his marketing knowledge — knowledge that Rishi assures can be found easily on the internet. The video has since been taken down.

But it was nearly a month later on Nov 12 that the YouTuber revealed that he received a Cease and Desist letter by LeapVista.

“With the video ‘Exposing Singapore Marketing Gurus’ that I very recently did, LeapVista's lawyer not only attempted to send a Copyright takedown notice to my channel but to also send to send me a legal Cease and Desist letter with demands,” Rishi noted.

He has since started a crowdfunding campaign to raise the money for legal representation to contest the letter — and so far it has been successful. Rishi has stopped accepting further donations after managing to garner $20,251 from 1,108 backers through the campaign, surpassing the initial goal of $15,000. He assured that funds raised will go towards legal fees, and not towards settling the claims put forth by LeapVista, which did not declare a certain cash amount, he noted. 

Campaign backers have also expressed their support for Rishi’s cause, railing against internet marketing coaches in general.

Earlier this year, Instagram influencer Carrine Low had also sought out to expose the supposed internet millionaires who offer such seminars, garnering widespread criticism for these wealth gurus as well.

'We will stand up to online bullies and abusers': LeapVista

In response to AsiaOne's queries, the team behind LeapVista asserted that the company intends to “fight bullies” and will not “let online bullies destroy the reputation of our community”.

“Over the past few weeks we noticed that there was an effort by an individual to tarnish our image and hurt our reputation. This individual was ​never​ a participant of our seminars or courses,” said LeapVista in a statement.

“His allegations were purely based on hearsay. He never got in touch with us regarding any of the claims to ​verify​ and get our point of view before he made his videos. After our law firm sent him a Cease and Desist letter, he went on to ​falsely​ claim on social media he was being sued by us. Using this ​false​ pretext he has raised over $20,000 from the public.”

The company has also assured that it will pursue all due legal processes to protect what they have built and that they look forward to their day in court where the individual would have to “back up his allegations with evidence”.

“We know we are far from perfect, there are hundreds of areas in which we can do a better job,” LeapVista admitted.

“Perhaps our seminars can be better, maybe we shouldn't have had so many repetitive advertising videos featuring Benjamin. All fair criticisms. Where we draw a red line is when it comes to attacks on our integrity and our reputation. ​We will defend it to our last dollar.”