By Nikki McCann Ramirez
Far-right YouTuber Steven Crowder has kicked off a public feud with The Daily Wire after the right-wing news outlet approached him with a measly four-year contract offer worth a pitiful $50 million, and some fiduciary obligations on his part. What began as a private contract proposal has devolved into a public spat involving long form video responses, angry tweets, and secretly recorded phone conversations.
On Tuesday, Crowder launched the “Stop Big Con” initiative and accused “conservative media giants” of being “no better than Big Tech” and putting profit over the honest defense of conservative values.
In a video posted to his YouTube channel, Crowder described a period of “free agency” following his departure from The Blaze in December. The host lambasted proposed contracts he received from parties he refused to publicly name, which would require him to actually make content and drive revenue for the company. At no point did Crowder specify the monetary value that had been offered to him, but it didn’t take fans long to analyze context clues and redactions from screenshots Crowder displayed and deduce that the contract Crowder was torching had been offered by The Daily Wire.
Crowder, who had previously lambasted NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick for comparing the league’s contracts to slavery, complained that the proposals floated to him like the one from The Daily Wire were essentially “slave contracts.”
Will Sommer of The Daily Beast pointed out on Thursday in November, around two months after The Daily Wire offered Crowder $50 million, the host publicly supported Kanye West’s claims that Jewish talent executives controlled the entertainment industry through exploitative contracts. Ben Shapiro, the founder and editor of The Daily Wire, is Jewish.
Crowder particularly took issue with provisions in the offer that would penalize his compensation if the show faced advertiser boycotts or a loss of revenue that the company could not replace within a period of 90 days. “If this show had to be advertiser-friendly on YouTube, well those guidelines pretty much read ‘don’t say anything offensive ever,’” said Crowder, who has been demonetized on YouTube. He also encouraged fans to sign onto his new email list and promised to aid in building an independent network for conservative content creators.
Big Con is in bed with Big Tech… pic.twitter.com/nH7AitP5Oe
The Daily Wire, which boasts some of the most prominent names in the reactionary right including Shapiro, Matt Walsh, Jordan B. Peterson, and Candace Owens, was quick to respond. Co-founder and co-CEO Jeremy Boreing confirmed in a 52-minute video that they had issued the offer, a “non-binding term sheet,” with the hope of entering negotiation with Crowder. Boreing indicated that the offer was so large that it potentially put “all of our investments at risk,” and displayed an image of the initial contract offer showing a proposed $50 million over a four-year period, with the possibility of an additional $25 million upon renewal.
The contract reads like a dream: four weeks of paid vacation, full editorial control over content produced, a staff to help promote and adapt content, and the right to retain ownership of any content Crowder produced prior to joining The Daily Wire. Responding to Crowder’s claims that the company was doing the bidding of Big Tech by penalizing potential loss of advertising revenue, Boreing explained that a contract represents a joint venture between the parties, meaning that both parties “lose a little” when revenue is affected.
“Steven’s philosophy seems 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,” Boreing told viewers. He also revealed that in a phone call with Crowder following the publication of his video on Thursday, the host indicated he believed he was worth closer to $30 million a year.
“You can’t just say, ‘We’re going to pay you $50 million even if the show doesn’t bring in any money,’” Boreing countered, adding that $50 million minus 25 percent “is not punishment by the standards of any human being.”
In the ongoing feud between The Daily Wire and Steven Crowder, Jeremy Boreing hits back: "Steven, the whole time I've known him has worked for someone else, has been paid by someone else" adding "He's not exactly a self-made man" pic.twitter.com/oqwt4U4uAD
On Thursday night, Crowder played portions of the phone call, which he had recorded without Boreing’s knowledge, in a response video. Crowder indicated that his frustration wasn’t “about the money,” but about a larger opposition to conservative media companies being dependent on advertising guidelines designed by social media companies and the “people who hate everything we stand for.”
“It is incumbent upon [conservatives], if we believe what we say, to uncouple, to divest … from Big Tech,” Crowder said. “To not rely on playing ball with Facebook and with YouTube” to grow their movement.
In the recorded call, Crowder encouraged Boreing to restructure the business model of The Daily Wire. When Crowder questioned the CEO as to whether up-and-coming talent were offered similar terms in their contract, Boreing replied in the affirmative, at one point telling Crowder that it was perfectly normal for young creators to become “wage slaves for a little bit” to grow their brand.
“I would play the part of that call where we talked about our kids, Christmas, and him buying baby formula for his brother’s children,” Boreing tweeted after Crowder’s video went live, “but I wouldn’t even know how to secretly record phone calls with my friends.”
I would play the part of that call where we talked about our kids, Christmas, and him buying baby formula for his brother’s children, but I wouldn’t even know how to secretly record phone calls with my friends.
The back and forth has prompted responses from many in conservative media, especially those working at The Daily Wire. Co-founder Ben Shapiro said on his Thursday show that there was “something rather nasty about attacking people who have been friends for over a decade … on the basis of your own misinterpretation of a document that offers you $50 million.” Following the revelation that Crowder had recorded his call with Boreing, Shapiro called Crowder’s actions “despicable.”
Candace Owens, who joined the outlet in 2021, called Crowder’s actions a “bitch move” and raised allegations that he had mistreated employees while working at The Blaze. Matt Walsh stressed that he and other Daily Wire hosts are in no way censored by their employer. “The suggestion that we’re being somehow muzzled or controlled is blatantly absurd,” he wrote.
Walsh would later respond to a supporter of Crowder, telling them that no one should “trust the sort of man who secretly records phone calls with his friends and then publishes,” them.
The right wing infighting continues with Candace Owens calling Steven Crowder's actions a "bitch move" and tells him to release "Not Gay Jared" from his NDA pic.twitter.com/p18iEcq31l
Boreing threw in a jab on Thursday about how Crowder has always been buoyed by companies with their own interests. “Steven’s never had to create the company that actually distributes, markets, and monetizes the content,” he said, adding that “the whole time I’ve known him, has worked for someone else, has been paid by someone else. He’s not exactly a self-made man.”
Now that Crowder has publicly burned his bridges at The Daily Wire, he better be able to support himself (and then some), because he’s not likely to get another offer as lucrative as the one he just torched.
We want to hear it. Send us a tip using our anonymous form.
Copyright © 2023 Penske Business Media, LLC. All Rights reserved.