The parent company to popular YouTube comedy channel SMOSH, Defy Media, shut down without notice on November 6, leaving a number of YouTubers without a leg to stand on.
Since being released from the company, many YouTubers underneath the Defy umbrella have seen immediate copyright claims on all of their videos – but YouTube claims that these strikes are part of efforts by the website to ‘protect’ the creators in question.
News YouTuber Philip DeFranco reached out to YouTube for a statement on the issue, to which the site explained that the strikes are part of a bigger process to help creators regain their independence.
“This is actually YouTube stepping in to take care of the creators,” DeFranco quoted of YouTube. “Separating the creators from Defy, then going through a process to set up these creators to be independently monetized.”
YouTube then released a public statement via Twitter, reiterating their response that they are ‘working on releasing all of the claims as soon as possible.’
Since Defy’s shutdown, the company has undergone massive scrutiny from multiple former employees, including YouTuber Anthony Padilla. The former SMOSH member claimed that he only saw ‘a fraction’ of the money that Defy brought in from the SMOSH YouTube channel, feeling that he and partner Ian Hecox had been ‘taken advantage of.’
YouTuber Shane Dawson likewise chimed in on the situation, alleging that defy would ‘threaten to sue’ their employees when they asked to leave the company due to ‘feeling uncomfortable in the workplace.’
While SMOSH is now free from Defy Media, co-founder Ian Hecox has assured fans that the channel is not canceled, but rather looking for a new home in the interim.