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A friendship turned into contract negotiations. An offer sheet that spiraled into in-fighting across conservative media.
That’s the synopsis of the budding civil war between Steven Crowder and The Daily Wire, the respective leading videocaster and podcast network in conservative media.
The matters escalated quickly. Daily Wire co-founder Ben Shapiro tweeted the following timeline on Friday:
Prior to October 5: Steven’s agent requests we send an offer.
October 5: We submit a non-binding term sheet.
November 2: Steven tells Jeremy he wants $30M per year and us to send him a new offer, refusing to red-line the term sheet.
November 14: We told Steven we couldn’t do that.
December 12: Steven apparently registers http://StopBigCon.com, knowing he’s leaving the Blaze, and that we haven’t provided him an offer to his liking. Steven needed a plan. Attacking us was the plan.
December 15: Steven announces he’s leaving The Blaze.
January 7: Steven texts Jeremy in friendly fashion to ask if they can talk.
January 9: Steven calls Jeremy and secretly tapes him.
The matter became public earlier this week. Tuesday, Crowder uploaded a video announcing “Stop Big Con” as he railed against an unnamed conservative media company offering him a contract that included clauses to reduce his pay should a tech company demonetize his content.
Then on Wednesday, Daily Wire CEO Jeremy Boreing confirmed Daily Wire was the company that made the offer, saying the terms were to protect against bearing the full burden of lost revenues.
“Steven’s philosophy appears to be: ‘I deserve to be paid millions and millions and millions of dollars whether my show drives the revenue or not.’ That’s not a business relationship. He’s looking for a benefactor,” said Boreing.
And here we are.
What’s unfortunate is as the feud spirals, the focus shifts away from the catalyst of the dispute: the tech companies that engage in politically-motivated censorship.
The Daily Wire did not include terms to address content strikes to shill for Big Tech, as Crowder claims.
Rather, DW implemented such clauses knowing that tech companies have long targeted Crowder. YouTube has already demonetized his program and enforced various suspensions. Further demonetization would inhibit the company’s ability to pay him at least $50 million guaranteed.
DW is not punishing Crowder. Tech companies are. They have baselessly penalized him for his cross-dressing comedy, publication of inconvenient truths, and notable promotion of conservatism.
With nearly 6 million YouTube subscribers, Crowder is a disruptor of The One True Opinion, the perspective tech and establishment media promulgates.
Crowder is a threat, a menace to the prevailing narrative.
Thereby, unfortunately, potential suitors have to account for and anticipate censorship upon making what Boreing described as a likely $100 million investment — including infrastructure — into a talent.
That includes in deals with Daily Wire co-founder Ben Shapiro.
“This is typically how contracts work,” Shapiro stated Thursday of terms to combat censorship.
“If this show were to start losing money — this is true of my show. If my show loses money, and it loses The Daily Wire money, I lose money,” Shapiro explained. “It would’ve been precisely the same thing. If he had lost money in the ad space, and his show had lost money, then he also would’ve lost money because that’s how a joint venture works.”Ben Shapiro
Perhaps “Game of Thrones” foreshadowed the Daily Wire’s rift with Crowder.
“There is only one war that matters and it’s the Great War. And it’s here,” Jon Snow once said as his contemporaries focused on a battle of lesser consequences.
Snow’s line precisely describes the feud between Crowder and DW.
Big Tech has dubiously marked Crowder’s content as “hateful.” Jeremy Boreing argued said point in a conversation with the head of YouTube. However, the attention is no longer on YouTube and censorship.
Now, that is the fault of Crowder. He first publicized the dispute. Boreing and Shapiro responded to what they felt was a mischaracterization of their offer to a longtime friend. One cannot blame them.
Crowder then aired a secretly-recorded phone call with Boreing on YouTube, escalating the matter into more personal territory.
All the while Big Tech sits back to watch consumers of their opposition choose sides; split their support.
The longer the feud brews, the more tech and establishment media prevail.
Whether Crowder and Daily Wire work together or separately, they are inherently on the same team. Captains of that team, to be exact.
Forms of public messaging are rigged against voices like theirs. Group-thinkers who latch onto each current social justice trend vastly outnumber independent thinkers, voices employed not under a corporate umbrella.
Crowder and Daily Wire are critical to the marketplace of ideas. Their bases are more passionate and responsive than those of legacy news networks, like CNN.
Of course, the growth and influence of their brands only wane if their crossover supporters — a substantial number — choose one over the other.
Steven Crowder and the Daily Wire vs. Big Tech ought to be the fight.
Steven Crowder and the Daily Wire is an essential win for the likes of YouTube, the source of the initial rift.