Awakend has sued NewULife and its founder, Alexy Goldstein, for slander.
Surprisingly, Awakend’s complaint includes allegations about the editorial integrity of BehindMLM.
In the company’s complaint, Rodney James and Danelle Meoli, who helped start the company, are also named as plaintiffs.
Those named as suspects are:
NewULife (NUL) is a multi-level marketing company whose HGH gel caused a stir a few years ago.
Alexy Goldstein (on the right) started and runs the company NewULife.
Katherine Garfield was a top NewULife salesperson and allegedly worked for the company.
Joe Juliano is one of the best NewULife reps.
Christopher Cavedon is one of the best NewULife reps.
For background, BehindMLM’s review of Awakend says that Danelle Meoli used to be a NewULife distributor.
In Awakend’s complaint, Meoli is called the “face of the company” and “one of the top three earners of all time for almost five years.” Rodney James is called Meoli’s “long-time business partner,” but nothing suggests that he has ever worked with NewULife.
In March 2022, Meoli (on the right) and James started making plans for the launch of Awakend.
This made Meoli and NewULife fight, which is what Awakend is complaining about.
When NUL found out that Meoli and James were going to start a new MLM company, they got into a fight.
During this time, Meoli and James found out that NUL had told distributors bad things about them to stop them from starting a new business and to hurt their reputation.
NUL started this campaign of badmouthing Awakend because some of its distributors were already thinking about leaving NUL for Awakend.
So, NUL did everything it could to spread false information about Meoli and James’s morals to try to convince its distributors that they shouldn’t trust them.
Meoli says that NewULife’s claim that she broke the company’s Policies and Procedures is not true.
In the end, the disagreement between Meoli and NewULife was solved by a “settlement agreement” in August 2022.
The settlement agreement had a clause that said NewULife and Goldstein couldn’t say anything bad about Awakend.
As soon as the settlement agreement was signed, NUL started another smear campaign, but this time it was against Awakend.
In particular, NUL’s staff and top distributors met every day to come up with plans and strategies for making sure Awakend’s business fails.
Goldstein, Garfield, Juliano, and Cavedon were among the people who went to these meetings.
Defendants did a lot of bad things at the meetings that hurt Awakend.
First, the defendants would talk about Meoli all the time, calling her names like “the cunt” or “the bitch” and trying to find ways to hurt her reputation in the MLM industry.
They would also talk about James in a bad way, calling him names like “the pedophile,” “the rapist,” or “the criminal.”
Based on what they knew and what they thought, the defendants would contact Awakend and NUL distributors and say that Meoli was a liar and shouldn’t be trusted because she was close to James.
BehindMLM is called a “reliable organization that shares information about MLM companies in the industry” in Awakend’s complaint.
BehindMLM is also said to be a place where “obviously false” stories about Awakend and Meoli were published by NewULife.
Goldstein, who was the CEO of NUL, would pay and tell NUL employees, like Shawn Spainhour, to write articles about Awakend that were obviously false.
In particular, the articles would be about Awakend and say that it runs a “illegal pyramid scheme.”
They would also call Awakend’s business practices a “shady cash grab” that was meant to trick people.
Also, the articles would say that Meoli is a “liar” who shouldn’t be believed.
Lastly, the articles say that Awakend is selling the formula for its product Zenith without permission because it does not own the formula.
After Goldstein told the writers to write the articles, he would tell NUL’s top distributors to send them to a website called “Behind MLM.”
When Behind MLM posted the articles on its website, the same top distributors would start sending the URLs to Awakend’s distributors without saying that they were the ones who wrote the articles.
By April 2023, I will have been running BehindMLM as Oz for 14 years. I’ve written 8250 articles in that time (including this one).
I’m the only person who edits, researches, and writes any of the content on BehindMLM. The comments on our articles and reviews come from both me and our over 150,000 readers.
I have never used content that was sent to me again. When a source is used, I’ll try to name it, and if BehindMLM quotes another source, you’ll see a green box (as is the case in this article).
Most of the time, I can’t name a source because doing so could put that source in danger. Some sources also don’t want to be cited, which is fine as long as the source material isn’t hurt.
Shawn Spainhour is not someone I know, and as far as I know, I have never talked to him. In fact, as far as I know, I’ve never talked to anyone from NewULife’s corporate office.
Still, my email box is always open, and a number of BehindMLM stories come from reader submissions and tips.
Regarding Awakend and Meoli, I believe that every article BehindMLM has put out has a source.
The “shady cash grab” comment was made in a pre-launch article for Awakend that came out on August 18, 2022.
This article used an Awakend corporate webinar in which Meoli was a speaker as a source. The article backs up its claims with screenshots from the webinar and a lot of quotes.
The phrase “scummy cash grab” was used to describe Awakend’s NFT scheme.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: Securities fraud is often associated with MLM and cryptocurrency, but I haven’t seen anything in Awakend’s NFT offering that I’d call securities fraud.
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a stupid, shady way to get money.
After hearing what Awakend had to say about NFT, I’m left wondering, “Why?” What’s the point of this?
I still believe that. Putting NFTs into Awakend’s MLM business model was a sneaky way to get money.
This statement isn’t based on a pre-written article that NewULife sent in for reprinting; it’s my opinion based on the cited Awakend corporate presentation.
I can’t be sure, but I think the “Meoli is a liar” comment is about our October 31, 2022 article, “Danelle Meoli misleads Awakend distributors on “exclusive rights.”
This article looks at Meoli’s view on Awakend’s “exclusive rights” to the Trisynex formula that Zenith was first sold on.
Meoli’s position is different from what a Californian judge said. In a filing from late 2022, the judge said that the Trisynex patent dispute “remains unresolved.”
The trial for the ongoing legal case is set for March 28, 2023. Meoli’s claims to the contrary are false until the trial is over or another solution is found.
So, here is the part of the conversation where I said Meoli was lying:
When an Awakend distributor asked Meoli about the above court case, she lied straight out:
I didn’t state Meoli intentionally lied. But what else would you call what’s been said?
There is a court case going on right now about the Trisynex patent, which has to do with the clinical study and trademark that were mentioned.
In any case, the source material cited here is Danelle Meoli’s own words, not a pre-written article from NewULife.
Regarding the claim that Awakend is a “illegal pyramid scheme,” I assume this is a reference to BehindMLM’s review from October 5th.
As for Awakend’s compensation plan, it’s a typical autoship recruitment pyramid scheme, which is bad news.
Pay-to-play is the first step:
Awakend’s founder packs show how much money can be made based on how much is spent, and Awakend distributors have to keep a monthly order going in order to get commissions.
When you have to pay to take part in an MLM opportunity, this is a strong sign of a pyramid scheme.
In the case of Awakend, this means signing up, placing a monthly order of products to get commissions, and then getting paid to get other people to do the same.
On October 10, BehindMLM came out with a follow-up article. Meoli was quoted in this article as saying that Awakend had “record-breaking sales,” even though the company hadn’t shipped a single product to a retail customer.
The FTC says that an MLM company is a pyramid scheme if most of its revenue doesn’t come from retail sales. Sales to distributors are not retail sales (see FTC v. Vemma and FTC v. Herbalife).
Since 2016, the FTC has gone after more than one MLM company. A big part of each lawsuit has been that there weren’t enough retail sales.
In our review of Awakend, we used the company’s own compensation plan as a source. In our follow-up article, we again used Meoli’s own words and an Awakend promotional flyer as sources.
Could someone at NewULife have sent me an email to let me know? Maybe, but me taking that tip, doing more research, and writing an article is not the same as NewULife sending in articles that have already been written for republishing.
To return to Awakend’s Complaint;
When these articles were posted on Behind MLM, thousands of Awakend distributors would read them.
The goal of sharing these articles was to make Awakend’s field of distributors afraid and confused and, in the end, to get these distributors to break ties with Awakend and stop doing business with the company.
Because BehindMLM isn’t involved, I can’t say anything about the fight between NewULife and Awakend. We have always been true to our editorial independence.
I also don’t know why people share what we write. I think, in general, that it’s because, over the years, we’ve become known as a “reputable organization.”
It’s pretty insulting that Awakend says “BehindMLM just re-publishes anything sent in by anyone” to describe one of the largest, if not the largest, MLM-related publications in the world.
The company also says that BehindMLM is wrong when it says that it is working with NewUlife to make Awakend look bad.
The defendants would work together with other “Youtubers” to make and post videos about Awakend that said the same false things as the articles.
The fact that Awakend doesn’t give a single example of “false information” in BehindMLM’s Awakend articles is telling.
People on YouTube use content from BehindMLM to make videos. It’s social media, that’s right. That is what will happen. We’re a “reliable group,” don’t you remember?
Because of this campaign of slander and interference, Awakend has lost a lot of distributors who refuse to work with the company because of the false information that Defendants have spread.
Meoli and James have also had their reputations and credibility hurt.
As far as BehindMLM is concerned, it has never been an issue whether or not our reporting hurts the reputation and credibility of an MLM company or person.
You get the facts and sometimes editorials and opinions based on those facts from someone who has been researching and writing about the MLM industry for more than a decade.
My duty is to the thousands of people who read BehindMLM. I try to keep them up to date with the most accurate information I can find.
Aside from that, I have no idea. For example, NewULife might talk badly about Awakend in webinars or hire YouTubers to make videos about them. I have nothing to do with it, and like you, I’ll have to wait and see how Awakend’s lawsuit goes to find out more.
BehindMLM hasn’t heard anything from Awakend about any of our published articles as of yet.
Awakend has sued the NewULife Defendants for six different things.
defamation per se: slander, trade libel, and tortious interference with a possible economic advantage
tortious interference with a contract, breach of a written contract, and civil conspiracy are all examples of tortious behavior.
Awakend are seeking over $10 million in damages.
The lawsuit filed by Awakend was done so at the state level in California. This means I can’t get as much information as I could with our regular reporting on federal lawsuits.
From the case docket, I can see that Awakend’s lawsuit was filed on December 23. It’s not surprising that NewULife hasn’t replied yet, and a Case Management Conference is set for June 26, 2023.
I put Awakend’s lawsuit for defamation on BehindMLM’s reporting calendar. I’ll make changes when I can.