A deep dive into one of Yaniv’s first legal claims – grossly exaggerated, blatantly false, and sadly successful.
The ritual of burning sage is rooted in Native American traditions. In current times, people often burn sage to cleanse a space of negative energy or promote clarity. Ancient tribes burned sage (and other things, like cedar) to welcome positive energy, restore harmony, and promote balance.
In 2016, JY, still Jonathan Yaniv, filed a lawsuit against a Vancouver area event promoter for $24,000, claiming that they were negligent in allowing presenters to burn sage at a 2015 event where he was volunteering as a digital marketing “expert”.
Yaniv’s claim was grossly exaggerated of course. They claimed the Vancouver Playhouse, a 668-seat, 45-foot ceiling theatre, was filled with smoke and extreme heat after two performers were burning sage during their performance. JY claims their lungs were extremely irritated, they felt dehydrated, close to fainting and hyperventilating, and extremely sweaty. The claim says all of the security guards left the building because of it.
Sage burning can certainly produce a lot of smoke. In fact, it’s supposed to. WebMD discusses the health benefits of burning sage and states that people with asthma or lung problems should check with their doctor before using it, but otherwise burning sage for a short period is unlikely to have any negative effects.
Yaniv claimed that this smoke caused irritated lungs, sore throat, difficulty breathing, sinus irritation, burning eyes, vomiting, and headaches. Despite that, JY never looked for medical treatment.
It’s even more unlikely that two people burning sage on a 45′ high, 2450 square foot stage in a room ten times larger than that would cause anyone harm.
Yaniv also claimed that the security staff disabled the building fire alarm system. This isn’t an easy task in an modern building, and would expose the venue to immense liability if true.
Yaniv’s claim states that combustible materials are now allowed in the theatre, which is obviously another Yaniv lie. That would prohibit paper event flyers, event programs, fabric seats, clothing, wood stage flooring, decor, and props, and nearly everything else.
The best part? Yaniv claimed that this cost them 16 days of work, at 15 hours a day, and $100 per hour, for a total of $24,000. Let that sink in for a minute.
The claim was obviously treated as incredibly ridiculous, and the event promoter didn’t respond. On July 25, Yaniv applied for an order asking to serve the documents by posting them to the door. The court order was denied after Yaniv failed to provide proof of attempting to serve the documents by registered mail. This was Yaniv’s first blow dealt by the big boy court, and the judge ordered Yaniv to obtain medical documentation to support his claim.
By November 2016, the promoter had not yet responded and a judge determined that Yaniv was entitled to a judgment, but demanded that Yaniv provide medical documentation to support his claims. When Yaniv failed to provide this documentation by March, 2017, the claim was adjourned, giving Yaniv allowance to file it again before April 27.
It’s worth noting here that Yaniv filed this lawsuit, claiming to be severely medically impacted, and had nothing to back it up. Did he expect that he would simply be taken at his word?
This delay gave the event promoter time to – and reason to – reply. Thankfully they had expert counsel and told a very different story. Their version of events was that Yaniv was one of 20 volunteers at this event. He was hired to market the event on social media. While patrons were away, Yaniv left his work station and went into a private backstage area, without authorization. The two event speakers had lit sage in their private backstage green room as a pre-talk ritual. The ritual was private, between the two women.
Note that Yaniv entered the private backstage green room of two very attractive young women, without authorization.
By April, the event promoter filed a detailed, multi-page reply, denying all of Yanivs claims. The fire alarm was not disabled, Yaniv was not hurt, and challenged him to prove his claims. Yaniv didn’t seek any medical assistance at the venue, and instead argued that Yaniv was negligent, in that he entered an area he was not authorized to, he didn’t report any unauthorized rituals to the venue, and he was asked to leave and did not.
In response, Yaniv amended his application and added the individual performers, the promoter, and the City of Vancouver as defendants. He accused the performers of engaging in dangerous activities, and the City in being negligent by not having medical assistance available to him, or evacuating the building, despite the presence of smoke.
Yaniv claimed that the smoke filled the entire theatre and the lobby, and that he was frantically seeking out fresh air, security, or theatre staff. One person – notably one of few people Yaniv felt the need to include race (Asian male) – was apparently coughing and choking for a few minutes.
Yaniv then proceeded to enter another room at the theatre and was promptly asked to leave by ushers. He said the burning sage in the theatre was causing extreme heat and smoke. They told him they’d turn on the AC. Yaniv asked to sit for a while to catch his breath but the ushers asked him to leave, resulting in Yaniv whining that they failed to provide him medical attention.
Yaniv then mentions another male, citing his race, and accusing him of smiling and laughing during the whole thing.
After leaving, JY claims he phoned the City twice to complain, but they didn’t follow up.
At the very end of the amended claim, JY adds that he was tested ten years earlier for allergies, but he was not aware of his allergy to sage. He claims to have seen a doctor, who said it was likely an allergic reaction and told JY he didn’t need any medical care.
The case was eventually settled, and unlike HRT cases, these settlements are public record. Yaniv received $500 for his lies.
JY received $500 for inventing a story and filing a few documents he typed up in his filthy apartment. He claimed to be grossly affected by sage smoke, despite admitting to smoke pot, live with animals, and appear to visible dirty in person.
This easy $500 led to Yaniv filing more and more claims with dollar signs in his eyes. There are rumours out there of Yaniv receiving small settlements from salons for HRT claims (under $500 each). Yaniv is only in this for money. JY isn’t a rights advocate or a warrior. They’re a leech. A drain.
It’s time for someone to smack JY down in court. Let’s hope Rebel Media and Amy Hamm are successful.