An increasingly ugly and personal feud has publicly broken out this week between two of the biggest names in the conservative entertainment complex, with one popular YouTuber accusing right-wing media boy king Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire empire of colluding with tech companies to tamp down right-wing content.
“Big Tech is in bed with Big Con,” Steven Crowder said in a video this week, complaining about a contract offer he’d received from The Daily Wire—without specifically naming the company.
A day after Crowder told his viewers to “Stop Big Con,” The Daily Wire’s chief executive Jeremy Boreing published an hour-long response video detailing the negotiating offer that the conservative media empire sent to Crowder’s agent.
Boreing, besides confirming The Daily Wire had initially offered Crowder $50 million, claimed the podcaster misconstrued and misrepresented many of the details of the potential contract. He also took issue with Crowder accusing his site of doing the bidding of tech companies, insisting The Daily Wire has also been a victim of Big Tech’s supposed one-sided censorship of conservative voices.
A former Fox News personality and right-wing comedian, Crowder grew in popularity in recent years thanks to his trollish behavior, including meme-worthy “Change My Mind” segments in which he sat outside of college campuses and challenged random people to switch his conservative positions on hot-button topics.
Eventually, his Louder With Crowder online show was picked up by Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze and became one of the most popular political podcasts on Spotify and Apple. At the same time, he has regularly courted controversy by gleefully spewing homophobic, racial, and misogynistic slurs on his program, prompting YouTube to repeatedly pull advertisements and demonetize his content on the platform.
Last month, Crowder announced that he was leaving TheBlaze after four years, urging his fans—which he refers to as “Mug Club”—to sign up for updates at his personal site. At the time, he said he had “known for months” that he wasn’t renewing with Beck’s empire but had nothing but praise for the right-wing media icon’s fiefdom.
While no longer with TheBlaze, Crowder’s show has continued independently, maintaining nearly six million YouTube subscribers and tallying more than one million subscriptions on Rumble, a YouTube alternative largely catering to right-wing audiences.
During his Tuesday broadcast, Crowder revealed that an unnamed conservative media company—which viewers quickly deduced to be The Daily Wire—sent him a contract offer. Without mentioning the monetary terms, Crowder groused that the contract included “penalties” if his show was demonetized, suspended, or removed from any major hosting and video sites.
“If any of the major platforms (e.g. YouTube, Facebook, Apple Podcasts, Spotify) issues a content strike (other than a ‘companywide’ content strike) such that Crowder content cannot be monetized on such platform, and the company is not able to resolve the issue within 90 days, then the fee will be reduced by 25% from that point forward,” read one portion of the contract that Crowder shared with his audience.
“Now, I thought this was a mistake because, you know, these people maybe didn’t know who I am, that we’ve been demonetized for three years,” he grumbled. “No, it’s made very clear to me in no uncertain terms, this is what’s sent out to everybody.”
Crowder then added: “Think about this for a second: Those in charge—the big conservative, the Big Con, and it really is the biggest con going right now—they’re making it known in their contracts that they will enforce the guidelines of big tech and punish conservatives on their behalf.”
While raising alarm over another condition that would penalize him $100,000 for every contracted episode he doesn’t produce, Crowder further blasted The Daily Wire for turning their back on their fellow conservative media brethren and joining forces with Big Tech.
“We here at Mug Club, we thought that we were all in this together, that we were fighting the media-entertainment industrial complex,” he fumed. “We thought that we were all genuinely taking it to Big Tech. But, too many of those in charge of the big conservative platforms are verifiably in bed with them. Big Tech is in bed with Big Con. The people you thought, the people I thought were fighting for you, a lot of it has been a big con.”
In his response video posted on Wednesday evening, Boreing said he wanted to be transparent with The Daily Wire audience by confirming that Crowder was indeed talking about their contract offer. Methodically detailing the entire contract line by line, Boreing rejected the notion that the media company would seek to “punish” Crowder if a platform demonetized his channel or advertisers fled the show.