Redditor Mangelius is the sort of guy who takes his kicks while he’s down, but then gets up, grabs a shotgun and blows everyone’s guts out into chunks that spray across the floor. Thankfully this isn’t a literal example – Mangelius is simply a master of revenge, particularly when it comes to dicking over his shithead boss who tried to screw him out of the money he was owed.
So what did he do? It’s a long read, but the payout at the end is worth every penny:
So after finishing a design program, I quit my temp job in financial services and started to focus on design. A couple friends were at a small events company that also had their own TV show, a video game and lifestyle TV show, and they needed someone to help out on the show and do some of the other design work around the studio so that they could focus on pre-production. Sounded amazing, so I went into their offices sat with them for a chat and started the same day.
At first all was good, helped out on the show while banging out shitty bread and butter design work for the studio. The two guys were recent grads, but seemed to have a grasp on what was going on. The boss seemed okay, he would make weird jokes about them being gay together (they weren’t), but I just ignored it as it seemed like the kind of jokey relationship they had.
After a short time, he started getting frustrated with them and felt they weren’t doing a good job organising the show. He asked me to get a coffee with him (Let’s call him Drake) and kind of probed my background. I went to film school, worked as a camera assist and dop for a while before switching my focus to motion design and 3D. This set off a lightbulb in his head, and within the next two weeks, he fired those two guys and had me doing pre-production on the show. I brought in a friend to help produce and everything kind of went forward.
I worked on the show for about a year and a half, the show itself was fun, I got flown to E3, PAX and pretty much every major local gaming and cosplay expo. Worked with a bunch of famous cosplayers and minor expo celebrities and had a great time doing it. But during all this, I saw Drake slowly push me the way he had my previous two colleagues, making gay jokes about me and the producer, inappropriate comments about our personal lives, angry outbursts for no real reason, the inability to reason or compromise, and later saw how dodgy the business was. Getting quotes from suppliers and then in the middle of the project calling and demanding they lower their quote or not be paid. Making behind the scenes deals with sponsors of the show to take marketing budgets put it into the show but then split the money with the marketing manager who made the deal, taking prizes that were intended as giveaways for the show and just selling the product on eBay to line his pockets.
All the while, I figured, I’ve been here a while, I see him burn people every day, but surely it won’t happen to me. He owes me more than that. I’m making this show for him, did the title sequence, the graphics package, secured sponsors, organised social media, shot the show, edited, mastered and delivered. Oh how wrong I was.
Things started getting worse, a bunch of big events were happening, and in addition to the show I had to help out with the events work, I was burnt out but had my wedding coming up, so had to stick it out until it was all paid for and over. I had already decided I was going to leave for my honeymoon and not return to the company. In the weeks before the wedding the major event happened and during the event something with some location audio went wrong, it didn’t really have anything to do with me, but he grabbed me by the collar and told me if I didn’t fix it he would kill me.
That was my whoa moment. This guy is actually a sociopath. I figured I needed to take some precautions to protect myself as I still had a week until the wedding and then I was out. I started by packing all of my gear at the studio and getting it out of there, each day I’d stay back late and pack as much as I could. By this point the whole show was operating on my equipment, my camera, my lenses, my sound equipment, my raids, my software licenses. So I got that all out. I then backed up every piece of correspondence I had from him, all my invoice emails, any requests in writing, any receipts, etc.
I got my last invoice in, and let him know that I was off to get married and would see him when I got back (again no plans of going back, but best to keep that from him until my invoices were paid out). On my wedding day, he called me five or six times asking about footage from the major event, it was all stored on my drive, but wasn’t scheduled to be cut down until well after my return. This was an insurance policy, technically I signed no contract with him, so I owned that footage. I called him and said it’s not scheduled to be cut down yet, but it’s on the server knowing he wouldn’t know how to check that anyway.
A week into my honeymoon I sent an email asking why my invoices hadn’t been paid yet, I had asked that they be prioritised given the my wedding and honeymoon and he agreed. I was met with an email from the troll he hired as an “events coordinator” but really she was just the receptionist with a fancy title. She stated that there was a police investigation ongoing as I had clearly robbed the office before leaving, all of the equipment was missing, drives, footage erased from the server (not true), etc. She included a police event number and said if I didn’t return all equipment and pay the company $5000.00 that they would be pressing charges against me. I laughed and fired back, all of the missing equipment is mine, but I’m happy to look over any receipts they have for it.
I immediately called the police and gave the officer the event number and asked what was going on, she explained that a woman (the office troll) came in and made claims that I had stolen from the business but had no evidence and was advised she would need to provide proof, but never returned to do so. I told her about them demanding I pay them $5000.00 or they’d press charges and she took a statement from me in case it went further as this was a clear case of extortion.
I just wanted out, and they were willing to go to these lengths to fuck me out of the money I earned killing myself in the lead up to my wedding? I was pissed off to say the least. And I knew enough about their business to destroy them.
Step 1, immediately sent my unpaid invoices to a collections agency. They straight away fired off a letter of demand, which informed Drake of my desire to seek the unpaid invoices as well as legal costs should it come to that via the legal system. Get all of those backed up emails together, that prove I was working on the days I invoiced them, and since my invoices are itemised by project, those emails should match with the specific projects I was working on.
Step 2, start hitting him where it hurts, for starters their only software licenses were mine. Prior to my arrival, they were operating entirely on pirated software. I didn’t touch any of their software while doing work for them. 3D was handled on my own machines, we started doing post in creative cloud and left their pirated FCP licenses alone. So aside from uninstalling my own software and plugins from their machines, everything was back to the way it was before I left. So I reported his company to the BSA (The Software Alliance), and was surprised in that I heard back immediately. He was running 5 or so edit suites with pirated copies of creative suite, FCP, Microsoft Office, maya, 3DS Max, etc. A lot of expensive software. The guy who emailed me back asked if he could call me and basically told me that they often have no way of knowing if a company is using pirated software so they really rely on tips such as mine to go after companies. I forwarded him emails where I had advised Drake that we needed a specific piece of software and the cost involved and his response where he would CC me in and ask the “IT guy” to pirate the software. This was pretty much all they needed to fully implicate him, he then asked me to let them know how many computers were in the office and I provided him with a map of their office, with locations for each computer and the server, and a list of all software on each machine. Really easy to get this as I still had access to their servers and could remote into each computer.
Step 3, discredit the business. I put out some business reviews on google so that people would know what kind of shady operator he is. I filed a copyright claim against their showreel since the entire reel was made up of projects I did for them and I never signed over those rights. I commandeered a web player service they were using to host and monetize the TV show and removed each episode and deleted the account. I took over their twitter page and posted info about how the company would rip off clients. I emailed a couple of major games expo’s who he had partnered with for both the events and TV show and let them know about how he would regularly have me alter footage to make it appear as though he was delivering on contractual obligations, (comp in twitch.tv logos to make it seem like he was live streaming events, add banners where there weren’t any, etc.). Minor things, but things these companies were paying him to do.
Now I still had a friend working there, so was informed of every reaction. Every time he shouted my name in anger I knew about it. The BSA fined him over $60,000, when he heard the news he threw his iPhone against the glass wall in his office smashing it. I received a very nice reward for turning him in. He held out on paying my invoices until the very end sending threatening emails the whole time and demanding that I pay him money for the trouble I’ve put him through. It went to court, I didn’t need to attend. I won the entirety of my invoices as well as the cost of taking him to court. So he paid for me to sue him. That year was the last year for the show, likely had trouble getting sponsors after I emailed all of them about the way he was selling prizes on eBay and sent them a link to his eBay store page. He also no longer had involvement in some of the major gaming expos he’d previously done events work for, those two losses would have cost him a few hundred grand a year. The page on the website was up for months, when he found it, he again smashed his phone, this time though, he didn’t have a glass wall to break, as he had to move out of the very nice office with water views to a small shitty office in a strip mall, I think he was having financial difficulties. It was on this night that he drunk called me and threatened to kill me. I celebrated his call by deleting all of the footage I had taken of that major event, the budget for the event was over a million dollars, and a lot of that footage was the only proof he had that he’d done the event. Five camera operators footage, crane footage, drone footage of the venue, all recorded sound from mics, all gone. Knowing he’d never be able to get that back was great. Plus his threatening phone call along with the extortion attempts that were on file were enough to get a restraining order put out against him, and I cannot wait until he inevitably fucks up and tries to do something again.