By now, you probably have seen the commotion going down on Instagram surrounding Illegal Civ’s latest video, Hell Week.
Illegal Civ has been gearing up to release their next full-length video and recently dropped a promo vlog and an official trailer on the brand’s YouTube channel. Viewers noticed some glaring absences, most notably all of the (former) pro riders, Alex Midler, Zach Saraceno, and Kevin White. Instead, the vlog featured a bunch of unfamiliar and very young kids that nobody really seemed to know anything about.
Shortly after, Gifted Hater, released what is essentially a 30-minute diss vlog on the Hell Week promo which added fuel to the comments that were already popping up on Illegal Civ’s IG and YouTube accounts. Gifted went in on the hijinx and smoking with underage children (among many other things from IC’s past). A bunch of the new riders started to quit and attempt to pull their clips from the upcoming video in the following days.
What’s ensued since then is a barrage of confusion and outlandish claims, so we decided to reach out to as many of the people involved as we could to figure out what’s really going on with Mikey, Illegal Civ, and the Hell Week video.
You can just start off telling me whatever you want to tell me and we can go from there.
I just wanted to make sure that people were getting the right story, especially after all the Mikey posts. It just seems like this is getting out of hand.
I’m super new to California. I moved here like five months ago from North Carolina to skate on my gap year. Two months after being here, I was street skating with Dalton [Palacio, Hell Week filmer]. I was filming a video for the homie’s company called Scatter Brain. Mikey was there at one of the sessions and I never even really knew who Mikey was. He got my number and we have just been street skating and filming. He wanted me to be a part of this video and I hopped on because it was my first opportunity to be in a big video. I was starting to get paid a little for it. I’m super thankful for all of that.
From there, he released the vlog video. We didn’t really know what we were doing that day. He just said come here and we’re going street skating. Then he told us we were doing some vlog thing and we were all like “Alright, whatever. I’m down.” He released that randomly, didn’t tell Dalton or anything, and I was kind of bummed on the vlog. We’ve been working so hard and getting these clips for his video and I just wish he chose a better way to introduce us to the people. After that, Gifted Hater made the video and talked about Mikey and the company and everything.
I feel like none of us had anything to do with the vlog or the company. These are all Mikey’s ideas. After all the hate started coming, Mikey started reacting on IG stories to every single person’s hate messages. He was feeling like he had to explain himself and I don’t think that’s really the way a skate company should be run. I don’t know, it’s just unnatural, man. He should be doing it on a personal account, not the company account because it’s coming off on the riders, you know? At the end of the day, the team is what makes the company.
Who was the first to post their clips on IG?
Lando [Magik]. He posted an edit of all of his iPhone angles on Instagram and then Mikey of course reacted by making fun of him. Again, what company is doing that? No company in the skate industry does that, so that was a red flag for me, of course.
After that, Logan [Kirshak] texts Mikey that he’s leaving and asked for his clips. Then Mikey throws out the $700k number [laughs]. He’s pretty much saying fuck off to Logan. It sucks because I did enjoy hanging out with Mikey. He’s a cool dude, don’t get me wrong, just chilling and having him on the sesh, but online and all the story posts just got too crazy. So Logan left, and then all of us started leaving.
I had a whole part in the video and I don’t know what’s going to happen. Hopefully, I can get it back, but I’m just going to give it some time. It just sucks because we all filmed parts for this and we were all stoked on it. it just seems like Mikey is doing this all to himself.
You guys didn’t have any kind of resentment or bad vibes going on until the vlog dropped?
None at all. We were going out every day filming, skating, having fun really. It just felt like we were all skating as a friend group. A lot of times Mikey wasn’t even there, we were just going out with Dalton. Eventually, when all this stuff started dropping, it didn’t feel the same after that. Mikey just kept saying, “Let the hate pass, it’s going to get better, this always happens.” I just didn’t agree with what he was doing with the company and its look.
As far as you know, is this sort of behavior normal for Mikey?
In person, no. He’s a chill-ass dude. I could never imagine him freaking out and exploding but it seems like on the phone, through social media, he’s trying to defend himself. He just feels betrayed, when he is the one who is doing it to himself. Even today, I woke up and checked my phone and there’s a new post on Illegal Civ saying that Logan is a racist. Like what?
What are the odds that he still uses your footage in the video?
I’m still on edge about that. I’m definitely not going to be at the premiere, so I don’t know if he’s going to use it or not. I don’t know if I should ask him to take out my footage or not. I’ve been trying to avoid talking to him because Mikey seems really hot right now and I wanted to let him cool down. I did pretty much film a full part that we’ve been working super hard on. I’ve gotten hurt for it so hopefully, it doesn’t go to waste [laughs].
When you first started spending time together, had everybody who was already on the IC crew dipped or what?
Yeah, so everyone except for Kevin [White], but I had never seen Kevin before. Kevin had filmed a whole part too. I had watched his part already, but I don’t know what the deal with that is. Mikey never really told me the whole story behind why everyone left. The only thing he told me was that the other guys pretty much made it in skating and he was trying to bring a new crew together. I liked the vision at first, but it’s kind of gotten out of hand.
Anything else you want to say about this whole thing?
I am more than grateful for the opportunity with Illegal Civ. At the end of the day, I am just skating and having fun, that’s it. As soon as things started to fall apart and I was associated with beef I had nothing to do with, I felt like it was time to go. Skateboarding should never be anything deeper than having fun with your friends.
What’s happening behind the scenes that people might not know?
Nothing crazy really. It’s pretty simple. Logan wants to get his clips back type shit. We’ve been filming this video for about a year. It went downhill after that vlog and the Gifted Hater shit. That’s probably what started the madness of everybody’s reaction and shit. It kinda fucked up everybody that was in the video. But really, everything was going kinda good, to be honest, until the Logan post.
What set Logan off that made him want to pull his footage?
I guess he just wanted his footage back. He just was like, “I’m done filming for the video.” He simply asked, “Can I have my clips?” He’s 16, he doesn’t know. He just asked a question. And then Mikey was just like, $700k type shit. I had nothing to do with that. I know my name is in the screenshot and I even asked him, “Bruh, why would you include my name in that?”
It just doesn’t make any sense what’s going on, so I just got away from all that shit. I didn’t know anything about the $700k thing until Logan sent me the screenshot. I was like, “What the fuck?” I’m pretty sure he was just trolling, had to be, cuz bruh…
What happens now with all the stuff you filmed for it?
To be honest with you, I signed a contract like six months ago that said everything I film goes straight to Illegal Civ. It said you’re getting paid so and so amount and whatever you film has to go to me. And I signed that shit.
What’s happening with the rest of the team in the vlog?
Pretty much everyone that was in that vlog left. Honestly, from the looks of it, it looks like Hell Week is still coming out. I tried talking to Mikey yesterday. I tried to buy the rights to the footage back. I asked him, all jokes aside, how much would it really cost to buy Logan and Joey’s footage back? I just got blocked.
So he’s fully icing you guys now?
I guess since Logan made that post dissing him for charging that much, he’s just like, fuck that, no one is gonna use the footage. It’s fucked up cause Logan and I have been working hard on that shit.
What was it like when you last spoke to him?
It was more like a “move on” type shit. That’s what his response was. “Just move on, you did enough already.” Which doesn’t really make sense to me, because I didn’t do any of this. All I did was film.
Personally, what were your thoughts when you saw the Gifted Hater video?
I just feel like Mikey’s approach of coming out with new skaters should’ve been a little different. That’s all I gotta say.
When you first started working with Mikey and IC, were you not curious about what happened to the original crew?
A little bit. I just saw the opportunity and I was like, “Fuck it.” For years, I’ve been trying to make full-lengths with my own stuff, and it’s just so hard. I thought this was it. Let’s do it. Let’s lock in. I filmed most of it and I really want to address my side of the whole story. My intentions were to get all the homies and make a fire full length, you know? It’s just sad that this all happened. Like for real for real. I don’t think Mikey is a bad guy I just think he has a lot of stuff going on right now
Want to start us off with your thoughts on this?
Oh, man. I don’t feel like dragging this out because this is what he’s out here fighting for. For him to think that arguing on the internet and all this shit is cool, like, that’s not me. Mikey couldn’t even hit me up and ask me how my surgery was. I had knee surgery like two weeks ago.
From a business standpoint, I can’t watch someone who I am supposed to be working with play the race card towards a Mexican and Jewish kid and say he’s a Nazi. This is just way out of my hands. Everything he’s going through I actually do know about, so that’s why I didn’t want to take a step away, but at the same time, it’s not about the money for me. It’s about the feeling of being on a company that I want to be able to stand next to and with people that I equally respect and look up to.
Everybody needs to work in unity to make this shit happen, not just Mikey asking us to promote, promote, promote. It’s skating and everyone understands that we have to promote this, it’s not just on us. He’s saying our board is selling like dogshit and he’s telling that to fans behind our backs. Fans are sending us screenshots of that. Like bro, I don’t need that.
Did Mikey change?
I think some stuff has changed. You see him online fighting with Na-Kel, going back and forth with people telling everyone this 16-year-old is a racist and a Nazi.
The feeling of having something you worked so hard on taken away from you is crazy. When your friends don’t want to pick up their phone, stuff like that. I feel like everyone has taken their distance from him, and he can see that. I’ve taken this into consideration before I decided to quit, but for me, I can’t be in the middle of all this. I have my own shit that I continuously need to work on. I’m human and I lose track of myself too.
Do you think the 700k thing is serious?
That $700k shit is wild because I feel like Mikey stated that more as a “fuck you.” He said that number to exemplify that you’re not going to get this footage. Like, you’re pulling out of my project that we agreed to work on. I understand that. But sending that via text message is obviously going to get blown out of proportion. Literally, look what happened.
Is there anything that could happen to repair the situation? Or get the band back together?
I don’t think anyone wants to get back together like we used to be. Over the last two weeks, everyone is just like, “Bro, what the fuck?” At the same time, as much as we know our friend, I don’t know what to say. I told him I’m taking a step back, I love you and all that, but I don’t think any of us know what to say because we’re watching it all happen.
What did he say when you told him you were taking a step back?
He said, “It’s all good, do you.” And that’s the other thing. Mikey and I have talked, and I told him before any of this shit that I’m not going to beef with you over any of this skateboarding shit.
I don’t have any bad blood or any violent anger toward it. I was just upset and bummed out because my feelings are hurt. That’s the best way I would put it. People might say that’s soft but y’all weren’t there, you don’t understand.
I didn’t even want to make a statement online about not being in the video or IC because I didn’t want to see, “Fuck IC,” “Fuck Mikey,” or, “Fuck this dude.” Shit might be different but it’s not “Fuck bro.”
What do you think of the Gifted Hater video?
Gifted Hater is on the outside looking in. He gives his opinion and he’s validating the opinions of the public because he’s the internet guy who can go up against everyone who he thinks is the villain. He just be talking about the little kids and the money, but Mikey’s not weird for smoking with those little kids. Everyone smokes with their older homies. You just can’t put it online because we aren’t all the same age anymore [laughs].
There is different energy out there now and maybe you shouldn’t display that, but also fuck that, we be smoking with mother fuckers. That Gifted Hater fool is dragging it. It’s easy to get a couple of laughs, but I don’t know, it sucks. He won’t stop and now that it’s clear that Mikey doesn’t give a fuck about Gifted Hater, he just wants to prove everyone wrong.
How are you doing?
I appreciate that. I’m chilling. Just got some burgers and went skating with the homie Lester and Antonio Evans. They got parts in the video.
Is there anything you want to share or get off your chest?
I’m here more to answer whatever you’re asking.
What happened to the original IC team? Are you still friends with them?
The original team, everyone was getting paid out of a bucket of money essentially, and when that ran out, then it became like, well now sales have to pay the salaries. They never caught up, so it just kind of is what it is. Everyone just kinda disappeared over a two-year span. There’s nothing wrong with that, happens all the time.
So you just told them, “Hey, I can’t pay you anymore,” and eventually they split?
Exactly. You get paid out every month over a year, then it was like, “OK now boys, we gotta sell enough so we can keep paying everybody at that same level through sales so we’re not just burning through money every month.” I’m paying out $60,000 on the payroll. Project managers, skaters, etc. And it’s like, you gotta post. Anybody that’s a skater will feel me when I say this, skaters hate feeling like salesmen. I get that. You don’t wanna feel like a salesman, so there aren’t sales, so it is what it is.
Where did you get that initial amount of money to pay everyone?
Man, I mean IC, a lot of people hate on it, but it’s successful bro.
Do you still have a team right now?
It’s Tino, Lester, and Antonio that’s for sure still game. Everyone else, I think they are just very shaken up by this whole thing. I don’t know, to me, this isn’t that big of a deal.
So everything was good and then the kids got shaken by that Gifted Hater YouTube video?
I don’t think it’s that. I think it was the comments under the initial IC [vlog] video and then everything after that was a continuance of that.
Do you think there was any merit to anything Gifted Hater said in his critique video?
I didn’t watch his video.
What about the initial comments on the vlog, like people calling you out for smoking weed with kids?
I mean hey, I can totally see why someone would look at that and be like, “What the fuck?” But in LA, that’s how we grew up. People doing that in front me of me since I was a kid. It’s regular shit, you’re at the skatepark smoking, pass it around.
By you telling Logan $700k, that just means you’re not gonna give him the footage, right? I understood it as almost a joke, but it has a life of its own now.
Exactly [laughs]. It’s more just like, bro, finish what you are doing. Everything was fine, we were going out skating and filming. We put out a YouTube video and some people started hating. These kids care so much about the comments. It literally just obliterated everything [laughs]. But for me and the homies, we’re just laughing bro. It’s all good.
Do you think they’ll save up and pay the $700k?
[Laughs] I love it, bro.
Could you see why they are bummed though? Like, not having access to their footage.
I have zero sympathy for these kids. They are on straight sucka shit letting these comments stop them from finishing a street part.
You put up a post about some of your former riders being racist. Do you really think that or is that more of you just being like, “Fuck these kids?”
That’s a funny way to phrase the question.
Just look at their actions, if you’re coming out skating everyday, you see some negative comments, you take a chance to get some clout out of it, and that’s it. That’s what happened.
What do you think about Logan making the 700k merch?
Well, that was the reason I posted what I posted. It’s one thing with Instagram comments, like OK, but it’s another thing to start profiting off of me and what I’m doing. It doesn’t feel good. It feels like colonialism in 2022. Embarrass the n**** and let’s sell tickets to the show. It’s kinda like that. It’s behaviors you probably don’t even know you have.
What’s going on with Logan’s footage? Is it going to come out in the video?
Bro, it’s not even that sick. It’s not the sickest footage. The way I feel, I’m helping these kids by not using it. They’ll look back one day, like, “Man, Mikey was right. I’m glad I didn’t put out some weak ass shit.”
From where I sit, Logan and Benecio [Montalvo] are privileged cry babies who can’t handle negative comments tryna unfairly make money off a black man.
Has anyone reached out and checked in on you?
A bunch of the homies reached out, like, “Yo man, fuck these kids, biting the hand that feeds them.” That’s trying to feed them. We didn’t even get to finish the job.
Are you gonna have the party still?
Oh man, it’s lit. We sold some tickets, there’s def gonna be some people there. Even if it wasn’t, I’ve already done that. I’ve already had a bazillion sold-out events, and a line wrapped around the corner, so I have nothing to prove.
Is there anything that could happen to repair the situation or relationships to work together again?
I mean, it’s not that big of a deal. It’s some little kids. I’m thankful they got that 700k out there though cause it lined up with perfect timing on the North Hollywood license renewal, that price is 750k though. Actual price, no trolling.