Lawsuits Send ‘The Blacklist’ Into Turmoil Amid Divorce & Ownership Disputes

The Blacklist, a notoriously anonymous cannabis industry publication, has become embroiled in a series of lawsuits that is bringing its owner and longtime operators into the public spotlight, unraveling the brand’s anonymity.

Full story after the jump.

The owner of The Blacklist is suing her former partner and soon-to-be ex-husband, as well as a former brand representative and the person who first publicly attached their name to the notoriously anonymous publication, The Daily Beast reports.

Powered primarily by anonymous insider leaks, The Blacklist and its widely followed Instagram page have in recent years presented some of the juiciest cannabis industry rumors, gossip, and consumer product reviews. But while popular, The Blacklist has also faced significant criticism including by Bay Area rapper and Cookies CEO Berner, who called the publication a “well-known extortionist” in an interview last year with SF Weekly. The Blacklist disputed his claims.

According to the lawsuit outlined in the report, the company’s registered Los Angeles-based founder and owner Shalon Doney is suing Adam Campbell, her husband (the couple filed for divorce in 2021 but those proceedings are ongoing), and Matthew Wagner, a man who worked alongside the married couple to help monetize the publication, for “unlawfully misappropriating [Doney’s] federal intellectual property rights.” Doney said she learned of the infringement after somebody she did not recognize DM’d The Blacklist in reference to a conversation she did not have, with a message along the lines of “nice meeting you,” according to the report.

Wagner is a former adult nightclub owner, consultant, promoter, and performer. Campbell is a cannabis cultivator originally from Montana who said that, due to having a federal cannabis-related charge on his record, he decided against formally involving himself in the company’s founding. And indeed, none of the parties dispute the fact that on paper, Doney is and has always been the sole owner of The Blacklist. But while Doney is the legal owner of the publication, because she and Campbell are still married and the company is considered a community asset of their marriage, Campbell will be entitled to one-half ownership when the couple’s divorce is finalized.

But Wagner has alleged in his response to the suit that, “At the time Wagner was hired (and continuously thereafter), Doney promised that if Wagner could figure out how to monetize TBO [The Blacklist Online], he would be given a 1/3 ownership interest in TBO. This promise was confirmed repeatedly by both Doney and her husband Defendant Adam Campbell.” Wagner’s filing also suggests he started to land five-figure sponsorship deals for the publication in 2019, eventually even renting part of the couple’s home where he “literally and figuratively worked day and night, side by side, with Doney and her husband.”

Wagner and Campbell say the team experienced their falling out following Doney and Campbell’s separation. Doney claimed that she let Wagner go from the project after she allegedly discovered he had been linked to an underage sex trafficking incident in Thailand — but Wagner had already returned to the U.S. months before the incident took place, “It’s just not true, and that’s why I’m not afraid to face it,” he told The Daily Beast.

In his own suit, Wagner said that Doney had grown “physically and verbally abusive” towards him by the end of things in November 2021.

Editor’s note: This article was updated for clarity on 9/21/22.

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