A few days ago I wrote a post about my personal experience overcoming domestic abuse and reclaiming my life.
I wrote that post from the heart, with the support of my friends and family who lived through those dark days with me and helped me put myself back together.
I was confused by the official response.
I wrote about specific cases of prolonged mental, physical and emotional abuse, and what came back was a series of false accusations about money, bank accounts, shares and control of social media.
Then I got it. This is about money. It always has been.
I'm not going to take the time to refute point by point what the marketing team at Zs hollywood production company wrote. What I will tell you is that when Zuzana left she demanded a million dollars cash - a staggering figure many times greater than all the revenues the company had ever made made in its entire history. That's where things were left. At least 6 different attempts were made by BodyRock.Tv to reach a settlement - our letters went unanswered.
What you guys don't know is that BodyRock.Tv was approached by this same LA company to form a business partnership. Both Zuzana and I met with them over the course of many weeks to explore how we might work together. Ultimately we chose to reject them as a partner because their vision for BodyRock and the values and goals of our two companies were vastly different. They wanted to take what we had built - this vibrant,engaged community of fitness enthusiasts and hyper commercialize it. Their vision called for pay-walls, up sells, memberships, DVD sales etc. I watched them project sales figures and how many of our community - you guys - they could move into various “sales funnels” and convert into memberships - paying monthly for what we had been providing for free. Closing off what what had been open. The only thing that mattered in this equation was our traffic and the money you guys represent in sales.
I'm not anti-business. BodyRock is a business, it generates revenues - but it was not designed to sell things to people. It was and is about democratizing fitness. At the heart of this is our incredible global community - you guys - together we made a really cool space online. It was clear to me that the pay walls, and turning the purpose of the site into selling people recurring memberships would kill what we had built. They wanted to squeeze more cash out of it - they didn't give a fuck about us - it was you guys and your credit cards that they wanted. We walked.
The new site that Z is fronting is just another run at the original BodyRock audience by this LA production company. Z launched her site without notice - while she continued to hold her interest in BodyRock - a massive conflict and completely unethical move to pull on a business partner. When I left LA in October to return to Canada we each had the same amount of money - enough that we both agreed would see us through until the spring. Although we couldn't live a lavish lifestyle, the money that we agreed to live on was more than enough to get us through comfortably. Z continued to live in the lifestyle we had enjoyed together and BodyRock fronted the bill. You guys might recall when she disappeared slightly after my return to Canada. She made a video explaining how she was planning on stepping back and taking a bit of break from the workouts to focus on other things that she enjoyed. Little did I realize that there were already plans in the works to take an end run at the whole business with her new partners in LA. I had been left essentially without a contributing parter with no idea how to make it work or even if it could survive. I asked for her help and she demanded $50,000 cash. We were only just over a month into our personal budgets and I couldn't justify or afford to pull that kind of money out of a business that was on completely unstable foundations. Our lawyers - who represent the good of the company - cautioned against pulling money out because we were clearly in a transition stage and advised that we work out a resolution.
Our free community became a poaching ground for these new businesses. They started tagging BodyRock on all new videos that they made so that their videos would come up directly against ours on YouTube. Hundreds of comments appeared on our Facebook pages with links over to Zuzana’s new business. The spamming was so aggressive that we had to block certain words and links from appearing. They were using what we had built for the past 5 years to grab as much as they could. Z's social media page that was part of BodyRock and had been used to promote our business together was quickly used to promote her new business. I wasn't prepared. I didn't see it coming.
I remember watching a video that contained slick footage of Z shot in a warehouse in LA. What no one knows is that I was there on set that day when that sequence was shot. It was meant as test for what the LA guys had in mind for paid BodyRock content - had we sold out. That she would use footage that was created for our business in her new videos was a giant FU that no one realized was happening. She took an audience that had existed for free - something that was built by years of working to post videos for you guys everyday and slowly but surely has very cleverly moved it into a sales funnel to sell you all the stuff that we always gave for free and from the heart. We worked for years to build something great and unique and she has taken it and sold our community down the pipe to a group of people who only exist to make money off of you. Who pays? You guys. Literally. To see something that we spent so many years building be bastardized for profit by a company that we had both decided didn't support the soul of what had made is for me perhaps the most disappointing thing in all of this. Our community trusted her and she has lead them to the bank machine.
Every single time you pull out your wallet to pay for something that was once rooted in the spirit of our free community remember that BodyRock rejected and continues to reject treating you guys like numbers to be converted into sales. It went hollywood - to the point where its not even our competition anymore - but it started with something that I helped to build - back when money was not the motivator.
I get my place in all of this. I'm the bad guy. I write an intensely personal post about domestic violence and I'm evil. I tell you guys - some of whom have been following us for years that you are lining the pockets of a bunch of guys who have essentially done a smash and grab job on our community so that they can make millions - no doubt I will be the bad guy again.
I have to admit that I preferred being the good guy. Remember that? I was the guy who supported Z getting out of the pornography underworld. I was the guy who filmed and edited the videos, who tried to write inspiring posts to motivate you guys. I'm the guy who kept it free and accessible when the bottom feeders wanted to take over and get rich. But that guy - “Freddy” gets in the way of sales now. Unexpectedly for the guys in LA BodyRock did not die. It's alive and kicking. It's sister site TheDailyHiit.com has launched and has already surpassed it by sticking to the core values that have made us the most watched fitness series online. Enough of you guys stayed true to the original vision that they couldn't just swoop in and take away the whole audience. And you know what? It's still free and always will be - but the more I'm the asshole the more they can bring you over. And the more they bring you over the more cool aid they can sell.
The truth is I was a stand up guy until they wanted our community to move over to them. As soon as they launched the negativity started. I don't have a professional PR team vetting my every move, and this post wasn't written by a committee. I'm the same guy who helped build BodyRock, doing the same job. If I sound bitter about having 5 years of my work attacked by my former business partner so some asshole can sell memberships to people that only know they exist because of my blood sweat and tears, then well it's because I am. But business is business and has absolutely nothing to do issues like domestic violence. To suggest I would make up something like that as a PR stunt is beyond ridiculous.
At the end of the day they just wish I'd shut up so that they can keep your credit cards re-billing every month. You guys can make the choice that is right for you - but just remember that the spirit of what made BodyRock great still exists in our community and in the small handful of people that keep our sites going everyday with kick ass workouts.
Onward and forward.