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Content Creators Coalition can't even respect their own content creators.

In the wake of #MeToo, women and men all over the world have come forward to talk about everything from predatory behavior, rape, coercion, sexual assault to socially awkward attempts at flirting. The bigger picture lies in the power play. It's not necessarily a men vs women war. Note however that women aren't as often in positions of power. Terry Crews, our favorite old spice funny character, came out early on with his story shining a light on the power imbalance and by doing so lent heavy support to all of the people who have felt the need to keep their mouth shut when they experienced or witnessed sexual improprieties like harassment and pure assault. Terry Crews filed a police report, and the man that "sources close to the situation" suspect is the groper, Adam Venit, is now on leave.

Now, it's not just Hollywood elites that are being outed as creeps and predators. Journalists and politicians all over the world are collectively being outed for everything from sexual harassment to actual rape. Confessional Medium posts are detailing encounters with pretty much anyone in any field at this point and people are being let go, resigning from positions or disappearing into "rehabs" left and right. Yesterday, I was made aware of one such medium post detailing what it is like to "work" with the executive director of C3, Jeffrey Boxer.

His name is Jeffrey Boxer and I was sexually harassed by him. I have been afraid to come forward, not just because he is an attorney and holds a powerful position at c3, but because of what he did to me in September of 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.

You'll notice that what Rosy Nolan describes could be anything from creepy to socially awkward and tone-deaf, but it's not illegal. However, Rosy Nolan is put in a position of relying on Boxer for a place to stay, and that power-play is what takes the situation from odd to creeptastic. Soon after that Medium post appeared, Tessa Lena, formerly CCC New York Chapter President lent her support. Chelsea Crowell shared a similar experience with Jeffrey Boxer in another Medium post. It's somewhat ironic that so many content creators seem to be fine with giving their content away for free as long as the silicon valley platform getting rich off it is popular. So here we have yet another "trial by Medium" which is how that platform has been used since the first inkling of elevatorgate.

The Content Creators Coalition is a non-profit lobbying group of content creators (read: musicians), that formed in a drum circle at a nightclub during the daytime sometime in 2014. Now, after many years of supposed lobbying, they've come out with these ads that feel as "hip" as the "Don't copy that floppy" monstrosity that made an entire generation laugh at the concept of piracy being bad. Everything about them is wrong from strategy to the idea to the execution. They attempted to garner more press with the now classic "banned from Youtube" whining, which contradicts their main point about DMCA. Didn't think that one through, did we?

To top it off, the "ads" are solving the wrong problem. Other organizations have created far better communication that gets straight to the point, like this campaign that shows the death of musicians due to pirated CD's, and this sarcastic banner campaign that parodied BitTorrent's efforts to disassociate itself with the piracy that it was used for.

As someone who has warned about how we've devalued creative works since the mid-nineties, I felt that this budding group might become a force to reckon with, so I offered my professional skills to the C3 back in 2013/2014. As I and my work partner spent a year or two pitching logos, strategy and PR ideas when they were still in their infancy, we eventually met Jeffrey Boxer when he was brought on to steer the ship. My impression of him is not a positive one, but it's also not something I'll be making long medium posts about because our encounters were brief.

We ultimately made the decision to not continue working with them for various reasons: they had no money, or at least none to pay us for our ideas, we never knew how many people needed to sign off on approvals, or indeed how many people were even on the leadership team or who they were. All of the back-and-forth communication went through Boxer and Boxer alone as if his role was to be a gatekeeper of sorts. After coming to the conclusion the group at that time hadn't figured out which way was up due to the information we received from Boxer, we stopped wasting our time, energy and resources. Especially when we attempted to get on a retainer for our services and came up empty. How ironic that the C3, who want people to understand that creative work has value, didn't value our time and skill enough to compensate us. And this is even more laughable considering they charge for people to become members.

When I saw the lightbulb logo, I wondered if they had bought it at Fiverr. A lightbulb, really? Boxer even handed us a "free" T-shirt with the logo on it, again ironic, noting that the world constantly tells musicians to "sell t-shirts" to make up for lost income thanks to piracy and horrible royalty rates from streaming.

It's been a few years since we stopped trying to work with the C3, but with our previous experience, it seems highly unlikely that Google who is the target of their current "ad" campaign and is the company that thrives on other peoples' content are shaking in their boots. A group with so much creative and celebrity potential has squandered the collective talents of those who joined to help.

As we write this, the news that Jeffrey Boxer has resigned has been posted on C3's Facebook

There's also the C3 Executive Board Statement Regarding Reports of Sexual Misconduct by Executive Director, that offers "their most sincere apologies" as per usual when things like this happen. My mother always told me to not apologize, just don't do it in the first place. For all their grandstanding about respecting creators rights, the C3 seems to have forgotten this all begins with actual respect.

As an aside, the song Tech Boys by The Gods Themselves is a fun snark at the wage-slavers at various startups hoping to cash out in the end. The Gods Themselves were featured in the most recent episode of Anthony Bourdain's "parts unknown: Seattle."

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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James Trickery's picture

So, if anyone wants to get rid of Boxer, all they should do is ask to get paid?

Sport's picture

I skimmed through all of those Medium posts and could not find any Institutional sexual abuse , what is that Blake Morgan talking about?

Dabitch's picture

FYI, here's a Twitter conversation that happened after this article was published.

no_thanks1234's picture

adland pitches ideas to c3. c3 either doesn't like them or can't afford them. Both sides walk away. No contract is made or broken. If it was, Adland could have sued. But they didn't, and they won't.
4 yrs later, they dis c3's work with another agency, using a faux political rationale equating time voluntarily donated to a nascent, unfunded, non-profit activist organization that was, at the time, 100% volunteer...with the involuntary expropriation of hundreds of billions by Google.
The moral of the story?
Think twice before asking Adlands to pitch an idea.

kidsleepy's picture

First of all: Adland did not pitch ideas to c3. Don't confuse the name of this website with the creative agency who did. It should be easy enough to keep track of as the agency logo was on the pitch deck, too. Clearly, if you don't know the name the agency who pitched you the ideas, then you are in the dark, which suggests a lot of miscommunication.

"C3 either doesn't like them or can't afford them," is interesting too, as the original deck the agency presented was full of ideas that cost a grand total of free, from logo to social media suggestions to leveraging your army of content creator volunteers. Regardless, this "feedback," was never communicated to the agency unless you count an incredibly roundabout way in the form of radio silence. Hardly anything was communicated at all which is why the agency walked away at first.

As for "both sides walk away," that sounds like a mutual decision, rather than one made out of frustration. Regardless after a year, one side (i.e. the agency) was brought back at the behest of Boxer. Were you even aware of that?

This article never mentioned any intention of lawsuits, nor would the agency ever dream of doing so. We knew exactly what we were getting into and joined because we wanted to help, just like your female musicians who wanted to help and ended up writing their medium posts about their less than stellar experience.

There's no "faux political rationale" here either; we weren't equating our volunteerism with google, we were equating your ripping off a ten year old and iconic long-running ad campaign with the same tactics Spotify does when producing sound-alike songs as a way of showing how little you respect content creation. I know it's hard for you to believe but ad agencies have IP and create content. And the only reason it took four years to dis your work is because it took four years for you to make anything.

You might want to get off your high horse and use this as a learning experience before you lose any other volunteers whose talent you are squandering.

No Assholes Policy's picture

Jeff Boxer, is that you?

Dabitch's picture

@no_thanks1234: Rosy Nola, Tessa Lena, and Chelsea Crowell showed better adskills with what they did, than the current campaign. They created shareable social media posts in a time when the topic of sexual harassment is piping hot, using timing and connections to get the word out. There's now been more press about Boxer leaving the C3 than there was about the campaign. It may seem to outsiders as if the C3 is an organisation made up of assholes and big egos - and your comment here rather cements this branding. This is obviously a PR nightmare for a group that only wanted to good. So it's only natural that you'd try and deflect from the issue at hand, by being irritated with my review of the campaign on Adland.

Now as for the ads. Either you don't understand that copying a concept (even when you call it a parody) is a hack thing to do, much like when creating soundalikes of music, or you simply don't value creative ideas outside of your skillset. Neither one of these things is a good look for C3 as they claim to be fighting for creators rights. According to Billboard, the campaign was part of "a significant ad buy" on Youtube which strikes me as really ironic. You actually used your fundraised money to pay the piper who steals your livelihood?

I-Torrent's picture

I'm not seeing any " Institutional sexual abuse" either that Blake Morgan is claiming happened. Honestly, this just looks like infighting between a bunch of fragile egos in the music industry.