Singapore — After his video “Exposing Singapore Marketing Gurus” got thousands of views, YouTuber Rishi says he is being sued by a local E-commerce education company.

LeapVista, whose ads for wealth-related courses are peppered throughout YouTube and Facebook, says on its website that its goal is “to empower over 10,000 people to become the next wave of digital entrepreneurs in the next 5 years”.

The company, which Rishi talked about in his video, has through its lawyers issued a cease and desist letter to the YouTuber.

Rishi said in an Instagram video posted on Friday (Nov 13) that many people from Singapore and Malaysia “came forward to share their own personal experiences” after spending as much as S$20,000 on these courses.

There were more than 2,000 comments, he said, on his YouTube video, which is no longer available on his site.

He said: “Taking into account the fact that recently there’s been a major spike all over social media with gurus popping out left, right and center with extremely bold claims, I believe it’s important that everyday people like you and I should have a conversation over it without the fear of getting sued; which is one of the major reasons why I decided to fight this case.”

The YouTuber then appealed for support in paying for the legal fees for the case.

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“At the same time,” he added, “I believe these courses will be put under the spotlight, which will be beneficial to many, many, many Singaporeans.”

Rishi announced that for this crowdfunding endeavor, S$1 was the minimum donation.

The YouTuber published the letter of claim from Trident Law Corporation on his crowdfunding page.

Within 48 hours, Rishi was able to meet and go beyond his goal of S$15,000, and the page is now closed for further donations. There were 1,108 backers with a total of S$20,251.

Rishi clarified that the “money raised through this crowdfunding is going towards my legal fees and not to settle LeapVista’s demands” and that the company did not claim “a certain cash amount from him”.

In a statement obtained by from LeapVista, the company said it would “fight bullies” and would not “let online bullies destroy the reputation of our community”.

It added: “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.”

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The company said Rishi’s allegations had been based on hearsay and that he did not get in touch with it to get its side of the story before he made the video.

“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 S$20,000 from the public.”

The company admitted in its statement that “perhaps our seminars can be better, maybe we shouldn’t have had so many repetitive advertising videos featuring (chief trainer) Benjamin (Tan)”.

“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.” /TISG