Content creators are taking aim at publicly-traded (CSE:XONE), British Columbia-based X1 Entertainment Group (formerly X1 Esports & Entertainment) on social media, saying that the company owes them payments from past sponsored activations and for other work rendered.
Last week several content creators working with X1 Talent (which was acquired by X1 in July of 2022 and still operates as Tyrus LLC) were informed that the talent agency part of X1 Entertainment Group (X1 Talent) would be shutting down at the start of February—but past debts related to it were supposed to be settled at the start of the month.
Twitch and YouTube variety streamer Marcel “MDee14” Dee (who expressed his frustration on Twitter) told TEA on Thursday afternoon that X1 Talent owes him payments for past brand activations, and while he didn’t offer an exact number, the amount is somewhere in the “thousands of dollars” range.
“Last week we found out that they would be shutting down X1 Talent, which just came out of nowhere, to be honest,” Dee told TEA. “[Since then] they’ve just been scrambling and making sure we have all our resources, that we could transition anything over, any contacts we need, etc. I was expecting that on Feb. 1, I would get whatever is owed to me…then I got a message saying there was a delay in payment because the parent company said they’ll be holding payments.”
Dee added that he never had a problem getting paid prior to this and he’s been working for the agency since August of last year.
In a Twitter thread, variety streamer Brandon “iamBrandon” Stennis echoed Dee’s statements, saying that the company owes him thousands of dollars for past work. Speaking to TEA on Thursday afternoon, Stennis said that the company owes him around $14,600 for a year-long campaign that recently wrapped up.
“I just finished out a year-long campaign for a major company [that began] last year and the ending of the campaign was $14,000,” he said. “I’ve been dealing with some hardships so I asked the company a few weeks ago if they would be able to expedite the payment so I’d be able to pay all the things I need to pay for—technically today—which they were very happy to do. They sent the $14,000 to X1, which I was supposed to receive today.”
That payment, (which included an additional $600 for an activation Stennis did in January) was expected to hit this week, but was ultimately never delivered.
Stennis also said that he knows of at least five other people that have not been paid—to his knowledge—by X1 as of this writing.
Stennis, Dee, and likely other content creators represented by X1 Talent, received a private message from a company representative (who we do not name to protect their identity), explaining why they had not received payments yet and encouraged them to contact Latika Prasad, who was “advising them” on the current situation:
Hey [redacted], I’m reaching out to you about the delay in payment directly. Our parent company X1 has informed us that they’ll be holding payouts for this month and haven’t provided us with any further information or guidance, despite repeated requests and pressure to fulfill their obligations.
To be fully transparent on this matter, we have no more information on this and will continue to demand that we close out our time and contracts in good standing. That being said, and if you choose, feel free to reach out to X1 directly, with our direct report being Latika Prasad, who has been advising us on this matter. You can reach her at [redacted]. I apologize on behalf of the entire team here on the ground with you for the stress that these last few weeks have undoubtedly caused. We didn’t expect this journey with you to end like this, but we will be here to do all we can for you and continue to honor your contacts until the date you’ve requested to close out with us.
Latika Prasad is currently a director on the company’s board, and most recently served as the CEO of esports organization RixGG Europe Ltd., which was acquired by X1 in April of 2021 and shut down in December.
X1 Entertainment Group CEO Mark Elfenbein was confronted about the payment issues on social media Wednesday evening, but has not responded publicly, as of this writing.
The delay in payments is an indicator that X1 Entertainment Group is in financial trouble; as part of its annual fiscal year 2022 report filed on Dec. 16 (for the period ending Aug 31, 2022), auditor Smythe Ratcliffe expressed doubts that the “company can continue as a going concern.” In January, the company filed its first quarter results for the period that ended November 30, 2022, and in that filing the company said that it realized sales of $218K CAD ($164K USD) and a net loss of $1.74M CAD (1.3M USD). In its December filing, the company said that it had somewhere around $700K CAD in on-hand cash.
News that the company shut down its X1 Talent division is confusing because at the beginning of January it announced that several content creators had signed new deals with major brands: X1 Talent Zanadood signed a deal with YouTube to create 80 short videos over a six-month period; RuffSenpai signed a deal with Snapchat to create 60 videos per month for a new Snapchat Spotlight feature; Brizzy Voices signed a deal with AMD to promote a new laptop on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram; and BlizzB3ar signed a deal with Comcast’s Xfinity to promote the Xfinity streaming service.
TEA reached out to X1, its CEO Mark Elfenbein, and Latika Prasad, who did not respond to our request for comments.
Editor’s note: An observant reader pointed out the CEO Mark Elfenbein’s Twitter account has been protected for months. We have corrected our story to reflect this.