Today, I’d like to tell you the story of one of the biggest new media advertising companies in the world. They’ve made headlines and been featured by prominent magazines hailed as genius entrepreneurs and produced massively successful documentaries. Made millions of dollars, but there’s something sinister underneath. For this is a story of Theft, Betrayal and Memes. This, is the story of FrickJerry. Of course the company is not actually known as FrickJerry. It’s the other four-letter word that starts with an F that I can’t say. But I’d like this video to appear in people’s feed. So from now on I’m gonna be calling them FrickJerry to avoid getting a mature rating on this video. *Intense Typewriter Sound Effect* FrickJerry’s main account is on Instagram with over 14 million followers The foundation of their empire is entirely built on the work of other people. Stealing tweets, images, posts from all around the internet and intentionally cutting out the original credit, to give the impression that it was them who created it. FrickJerry is the wet dream that Soflo Antonio always had for himself. I bet he is just rock hard right now watching this video. Soflo: I swear that I watched this one 10 times. FrickJerry is so wholly unoriginal that even their logo is lifted from a paper cup. There is not one single thing original about these guys. Let me introduce you to Vic Berger who is a hilarious and talented video editor that worked for Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! from Adult Swim. Let’s see what happens when Vic approaches one of them for stealing one of his videos that had an ad on it and asked for credit. So Vic DMs them on Instagram and says “Hey either delete my Ted Cruz video or give me credit.” And how do you think the chief content officer James Ryan Ohliger responses to Vic? Does he respond with apology? Does he respond by offering to share the revenue that was gleaned using his work? Let’s see. *Drum Roll* (*Wah wah wa-wah. Wahhhh* sound effect plays) Shut up. If you didn’t care you, could have just ignored him, but to go out of your way to say “Shut up.” to the guy, to insult him, to make him feel small and powerless and more used than he already did. Shut up. But guys, as always, it gets even better. Because what happens when Vic, years later, makes a video about his experience with FrickJerry. How do you suppose they respond to that? Here’s a clip from the video Vic made about FrickJerry. Soflo2: To be honest with you, it is so hard to find quality stuff that I think is good enough to post. And it takes me, like, a couple hours sometimes to find something. All right, so I’ll find a photo. Save it to my phone. Gotta try this one out. Well like she’s rolling. “It’s just a lot easier…” *Cha-ching sound plays* “….it’s just a lot easier…” *Buzzer sound plays* Yes, they DMCA copyright-striked Vic’s video. Mmm, you’ve got to appreciate the irony of a company that has built itself on stealing the content of others. Yet, when someone else uses their content FAIRLY, LEGALLY, Well, we just can’t have that now, can’t we? *Intense Typewriter Sound Effect* FrickJerry can only exist in Soflo Antonio’s wet dreams, but they’re slicker and they’re smarter than Soflo. They’ve gone through the trouble of legitimizing themselves; making them look like these brilliant meme… comedians, really. Only last year, they won “Best Meme Parody Account” with the Shorty Awards. Now I don’t know why they call it the Shorty Awards. Maybe it’s because they’re the “short bus” of award ceremonies, but be that as it may. Watch this. So, some would say the highest form of humor is sarcasm and they would totally be right if it weren’t for memes. So, move over sarcasm. Uh, move over sarcasm and real comedy, the future belongs to, uh, shit posts and memes and people stealing it and posting it on Instagram for money. Move over comedy, it’s meme time! Move over sarcasm, the future belongs to the parody accounts and meme creators whose punchy humor makes us laugh, it makes us double-tap, triple-tap sometimes, tag our friend saying “HA! This is you.” We’ve all done it. And it takes us on the cultural targets that are too good to pass up. Here are the finalists for “Best Parody or Meme Account.” Woo! Move over comedy! Woo-hoo-hoo! Daddy issues! Hee-hee! Woop! I tell you what, I would pay not to be nominated for this award. Let’s pause for a moment here on the nominee, FrickJerry. Uh, “If tomato is a fruit. Wouldn’t that make ketchup a smoothie?” Woww. That’s their entry. Well, if I recall, I mean this is an old joke, it goes back a long ways like, here’s an example, by the way, from 2013 on Quora. “If tomato is a fruit, is ketchup a tomato smoothie?” So, even the entry for “Best Parody Account” is actually stolen. “HA! This is you.” We’ve all done it. If you’re somebody that cares about comedy, I cannot imagine a more horrific insult than being nominated for “Best meme or Parody Account” by the Shorty Awards. And the Shorty Award for “Best Parody or Meme Account” goes to- And the “Shortbus Award” goes to… Ah, I can say this without getting in trouble. F**kJerry! YES! Yahhh! Move over comedy. Look how thrilled everyone is for him. *Cricket noises and slow clapping* Thank you so much, this is awesome, I had a really, really long speech but you know, you guys said “keep it brief,” so, thank you so much Shortys, thank you everybody. Freeze-frame! This charismatic and eloquent young man is Elliot Tebele, the owner and founder of FrickJerry. Elliot’s so used to taking every shortcut possible in life, that he tries exiting off the wrong side of the stage. Well, didn’t work out this time. We need to appreciate that he went for a high five, the other guy was motioning to the other side of the stage, it’s a minor gaffe, but I felt honor-bound to at least point it out. It is kind of a joy. *Intese typing sound effect* Well, Elliot, if you didn’t start FrickJerry for a passion for entertainment, or for getting people through a hard day, or for uplifting creators and giving more an audience to their work…Then why did you start it? I never had a specific goal; I just always wanted to make money, I guess. Ladies and gentlemen, we got ’em. Here they are at South by Southwest, trying to act like they actually do anything except reposting other people’s content. Luckily, they expose themselves every time they open their mouth. So, what are the ingredients to the perfect meme that people really connect with? Is there a perfect formula? At the heart, like, the heart and soul of a meme is, like, the relatability. And, it’s usually topical stuff but it might be stuff that’s completely, like, random that nobody thinks about, like, or nobody expresses… on their day to day life, but, like, hits, like, a pinpoint, you know, I don’t know, is it a good example for it? When you try to define what a meme is on stage at South by Southwest I think you’ve already lost the meme war. You know, this dude reminds me a lot of Soflo, and not because he steals other people’s work, but because he’s got the same dead, soulless eyes. “I won’t lie, I watched this one 17 times!!” Just sell out to a friend. I think it’s important. Do you know why he’s so obsessed with memes? Because he’s never learned to be relatable himself. He needs the memes to survive. It’s like eating babies to prolong your lifespan. Up next, is a really beautiful, decisive moment in FrickJerry’s life, because he has convinced the world that he is a meme God. So what happens when ABC News shows up doing a report on him and puts them on the spot and says, “You guys create this meme right now.” Let’s see if FrickJerry couldn’t hold up to the pressure. Alright, let’s do it! Meme this! We’re here with three of the top meme masters on Instagram, and putting them to the test. How would they help this picture of Donald Trump become a meme sensation? Ooh, when she pulled that out and said “Meme this” they were, like, “Phewww.” They start sweating bullets, oh man. (Echoing) *Meme this… meme this* “Don’t worry, I got us B.” “Read the whole thing.” “Oh.” (Echoing) *Meme this* “Don’t worry, I got us B.” HA HA! OH! “Don’t worry, I got us B.” OHHHH!! Move over comedy. Am I right folks? #Relatable. Bow! Knockout. And the likely winner… “When your stepdad comes and drags you out of the party.” *Excessive laughter* OHHH! YO!! When your stepdad comes and drags you out of the party!! YESSS! I actually have a couple of ideas for that meme I’d like to pitch to you, tell me what you think. That face when Instagram cracks down on copyright theft. *Laughter* Anyone? Big laughs, big LOLs? One more. That face when everyone unfollows FrickJerry. Aw. Feels bad, doesn’t it. BIg laughs, though. Huge laugh. Making memes is what 25 year old Elliott Tebele does for a living. Making memes? Stealing memes. He created the now famous Instagram account: that-four-letter-word-we-can’t-say Jerry. I like to post things that people normally wouldn’t say out loud, and then you, like, you read it and it’s, like, super strangely relatable. Like, when you’re feeling fat after a long weekend, or when you’re at work checking the time. All those posts heard round the internet got their viral start here. You know, this is proof that if they’re not overtly lying about creating this content, they’re definitely letting her believe that they do. Because she’s reporting them like they’re the meme geniuses, that all these memes got their viral start right here. Let’s see what happens when these brilliant minds all come together to create these beautiful, powerful memes. Let’s see how they research it. And they let us in on another joke: the memes they’re creating for Rob Lowe’s Comedy Central Roast. This? With the tattoo on his face? Ah yes, go to Google Images and find a funny picture that already exists and use that. Genius. Alright, well, they couldn’t be making that much money off of using other people’s work, could they? Experts estimate top social media influencers, like Elliott and his team, are making upwards of seventy-five thousand dollars per branded post on Instagram. *Panting* Seventy-five thousand she said? Okay, so what is the point of this video? Only to share with you a parable about a man who took a shortcut whenever he could. He stole, he lied, he exploited. “I just always wanted to make money, I guess?” He manipulated. “Seventy-five thousand dollars…” *Buzzer sound plays* He was never held accountable, and he lived happily ever after… Well, these guys, they’re not even funny. (Echoing) *Funny…funny…funny* Happily ever after. (Echoing) *After…after* Or did they? Because there’s actually now a movement called frick FrickJerry, which is a band of comedians that have been exploited and used by these guys, that are pushing back and urging people to unfollow FrickJerry. This is backed by comedians such as Tim Heidecker, Vic Berger, Patton Oswalt, John Mulaney, Whitney Cummings, Colin Hanks, Amy Schumer, Natasha Rothwell, Bobby Moynihan, Julie Klausner… just to name a few. Since the recent backlash against FrickJerry, they’ve archived hundreds of Instagram posts and Tebele has released a statement. “I know I’ve made enemies over the years for using content and not giving proper credit and attribution to its creators. In the early days of FrickJerry, there were not well established norms for reposting and crediting other people’s content, especially in meme culture.” Oh, well, that’s just a license to steal. But Your Honor, I didn’t know stealing was wrong! “Instagram was still a new medium at the time, and I simply didn’t give any thought to the idea that reposting content could be damaging in any way.” Maybe when you started it that’s an excuse. But when you have ABC News in your office, trying to study the meme masters and they’re under the impression that you created all this content, that might be a good time to be like, “Oh, no, we’re curators; we don’t actually create anything.” “It is clear that attribution is no longer sufficient, so permission will become the new policy.” Giving credit? Getting permission? I mean, these are really thoughtful, visionary guys to do this now, in 2019. “We want to apologize to anyone who feels we have wronged them in the past. We want to do the right thing by creators by seeking permission and giving them the credit they deserve.” Ah, and also to writing checks to all the people we’ve ripped off and made money off their content. Oh wait, he didn’t write that because they’re not planning on doing that. “Just sell out to a friend. I think it’s important.” In short, my friends, remember this simple message: frick FrickJerry. And, also, move over comedy. “HA! This is you.” We’ve all done it. 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