Steven Crowder vs Big Con
I have flipped my opinion multiples times on this topic. After hearing from everyone involved and several people not involved. I have ended with the opinion that each side in this very public argument are fighting for the same things with similar views but are so focused on their way of doing it that they are not able to clearly see the other side.
Having said that I have to side with Steven. I don't believe that Jeremy Boring is attempting to exploit The Daily Wire hosts, but the contracts proposed could be exploited by someone with fewer scruples of making sure people are fairly treated when they are contributing to moving the company forward.
After listening to the statements made by Jeremy Boring, other hosts at The Daily Wire, and Steven and Gerald from Louder with Crowder I think we can boil things down.
Steven knew he was leaving the Blaze, his agent contacted The Daily Wire to see if they wanted to make an offer. The money they offered was lower than Steven's agent knew Steven needed, since he was also bringing his entire production company.
The Daily Wire then reached out directly to Steven and Steven didn't like the some of the things in the Terms offer and understood that those things were non-negotiable. During the conversation Jeremy mentioned to Steven that he would also be getting access to The Daily Wire's team of "Social Media" experts. Steven informed him that he was quite happy with his Social Media Manager and he would not be using others wherever he went. The Daily Wire then offered Steven's Social Media Manager a job working for The Daily Wire.
Steven fielded multiple other offers that had similar terms that he found to be unacceptable. He then called Jeremy Boring and had, in addition to a personal conversation, a conversation about these terms pointing out that these terms will prevent younger people coming up from having the opportunity that Steven had. Steven was clear this was a conversation about the terms in general and not about him.
Steven then made the portion of the terms he took issue with public without mentioning any names. He mentioned that this was not an isolated incident and he used the Terms offer from The Daily Wire as an example. Jeremy Boring then made the entirety of the offer public and suggested that Steven turned them down only because of the amount offered ($50 million over 4 years) and that Steven was basically wanting someone to bankroll him without taking any risk himself.
Steven then made the portion of the call where they discussed his issues with the terms public and reiterated that he was concerned about the terms not for himself, since he is in a position to walk away, but for others in the future. The Daily Wire then had multiple hosts respond to the "betrayal" of releasing a phone call between two friends.
Highlights of Steven's Issues:
From the Terms Steven issues seem to be:
- The way the fee is affected by actions taken by other platforms
- The lack of shared increase if a show does better than expected
Much of the timeline comes from the discussions that took place on TimCastIRL where Steven and Gerald from Louder with Crowder discussed things in more detail combined with the statements made by Jeremy Boring. I think we have a pretty good picture of what went on when and why. And thanks to Jeremy we have the full Terms that were offered.
I believe Jeremy when he says that the entire Terms were negotiable and I also believe Steven when he says that he was told that parts were non-negotiable.
Jeremy is looking to use the existing public platforms to grow his company to fight censorship and have a place for the ideals he supports to be stated without fear of reprisal. But that takes time and he needs the existing platforms to make that work. So he has to have his hosts agree to abide by the rules of these other platforms for the portion of the shows that are on the other platforms. He cannot continue to pay someone that get's completely banned because they are then loosing The Daily Wire money.
Steven is looking to not worry about the censorship from the beginning. He wants to be able to say what he wants and if he gets banned while playing the game of the big platforms he wants to be able to continue making content, just behind the paywall. But you can't do that if you aren't getting paid at all.
Jeremy is right that he can't pay someone that is not bringing in any money and Steven is right that any company that is directly penalizing someone based on a ban of another platform is enforcing the rules of the other platform by doing so.
Steven and Gerald are also right that the Host of the show is shouldering most of the risk while The Daily Wire is taking far less of it. The host assumes the risk that if another platform bans them they don't get paid, the only risk for The Daily Wire is the host does everything they ask and they never make the amount of money The Daily Wire projected they still have to pay. And they are correct that a revenue sharing agreement with a base pay for the content The Daily Wire gets to keep is a better way of doing this. According to them, Jeremy flatly refused this. I think he may have been misunderstanding Steven and Steven may have been misunderstanding Jeremy.
I think that Jeremy is looking at projected earnings and basing his offers on that and Steven is looking to build an agreement based on the actual earnings. Two different approaches but with similar outcomes for Jeremy since he has, in the past, offered someone the chance to negotiate for more money when a show performed better than projected.
The problem arises for The Daily Wire hosts if Jeremy is ever replaced by someone with less morals. Someone who is a bit more focused on the money could point to the contract and say "well, you should have negotiated better". And that is Steven's point, the only thing that really matters is what is in writing. He's not saying that it's specifically an issue with Jeremy, but others will point to what is is writing and stick to that regardless of how things were previously done.
I think that both Jeremy and Steven mean well with all of this. I think they are both trying to do the right thing by their companies and by their subscribers. I think they have very different approaches to doing this. I agree more with Steven than with Jeremy.
As to the release of the phone call. Friends don't do that. But friends also don't attempt to poach their friends' employees. Friends don't attempt to enter hostile negotiations with each other. They should offer a close to fair deal with what they are actually willing to do. Hostile negotiations are for transactional relationships, not long-standing ones.
I hope Steven is able to prove his business model so that The Daily Wire can adopt better practices in the future. And I hope both companies are able to do well and keep offering quality content to their users.