This isn’t just some silly fight between two Jewish kids. I normally wouldn’t ever even call myself that, but there really is a guy who calls himself The Fat Jew. And I’ve got a bone to pick with him. He doesn’t even know who I am, and until last week I didn’t know who he was. So it can’t be a real fight between us. Instead this is a battle of principles. It’s more about what we each represent.
This is one bandwagon I will gladly jump right on.
Last week I was put on the defensive in a big way, and a few days later I discovered that I wasn’t the only one. Have you ever heard of The Fat Jew? He’s a social media personality who STOLE other comedians’ jokes for his own Instagram and Twitter accounts and took the credit for THEIR content. He deliberately edited their photos and removed their proprietary information from the jokes he copied. This wasn’t an accident. I know some of you are thinking, “Heh, no big deal. When you put something on the internet, you take that risk.” But that’s not true. It is a big deal– especially when that stolen content was clever and witty enough to garner him millions of followers, a modeling contract, a book deal, hosting gigs, and a show on Comedy Central… all of which has now been stripped from him… all because his victims banded together and fought back.
In a recent Rolling Stone article the victims get to speak out about The Fat Jew. I know those readers who reached out to me, as well as Mended Wheels, Fragglerocking, Dr Payet, and The Dental Warrior— you all stand up against content theft. You will love this article. It highlights how the victims were able to lock arms and expose Josh Ostrovsky for the fraud that he really is. Since I am the only apparent victim of Share This Now, the guys who stole my words, I have no one to link arms with.
Instead I have to band together with these guys from the Rolling Stone piece, even if they’ll never see me; or else I’m in this fight alone.
You might know that last week my entire blog post 10 Reasons Your Dentist Probably Hates You Too was stolen… again… but this time to the tune of 100,000 Facebook shares! This website shows how to see the number of FB shares a page has…
Maybe I should be flattered that my one-hit-wonder is (oddly) so relevant to so many people who others want to claim it as their own. Sorry, I can’t see it that way. I am not grateful to the thieves that have robbed me of experiences, connections, building my own following, and even lost income. @PinUpTeacher felt the same way when it happened to him:
I felt robbed, violated and angry. I replied to his post [with ‘You motherfucker. Get your own material’]. Got no response. Plagiarism is an outrage regardless of the format or context. Stealing someone’s words and ideas and presenting them as your own is a major violation. When the thief is then paraded around as comic gold and handsomely compensated for what is ultimately other people’s art, it’s even worse.
And even though blogging or writing may not actually be my job, I still love it and take pride in what I write:
This is something I love to do, but it is still a job. Did you enjoy the joke? Yes? Then I did my job, and I’d like to be credited for my work. You would like to be credited at your job, and it’s the same for me. —Davon Magwood
When I first discovered my post, they already had 37,000 Facebook shares. By the time I was done watching my words being held hostage over the weekend (because web hosts’ legal department close on weekends,) it had grown to 100,000. I don’t know real numbers here, but let’s just say 5 people click on each Facebook share. That’s a half a million people who should have come to me instead of them. Regardless of the actual number, that’s a lot of people unknowingly leaving me out of my conversation. That’s a lot of people praising my work, a few people calling me an a$$hole, and a lot of people who might want to know what else I have to say; but in reality they can’t. They are being robbed too. The magnitude of those numbers is devastating for me as I’m trying to build my relationships and my audience. Why should these guys be entitled to that, and furthermore, why should they make money off of my work? Patrick Walsh gets it:
I am a television writer — I make a good living — and to me, the theft was an annoying occurrence that wound up blowing up in a huge way. But thinking back to being a struggling writer and trying to get anyone to read my material, this would have absolutely devastated me. Because you’re seeing something you’ve written crack up thousands of people… but they all think someone else wrote it. That’s awful. And this loser reaps all the benefits? Come on.
I’m in no way a comedian, but I’m like the comedian here:
Why would you follow a rising comedian when you can just get all your yuks in one easy-to-find spot? It’s frustrating. Shine the spotlight on the thousands of talented people who work their butts off every day to make something fun for you, not the guy who crops out their names so he can profit off them. —Ben Rosen
To those who think anything out on the internet is fair game, you are wrong:
I reject the kind of faux maturity which espouses that those calling out theft need to relax, and that such critics are the problem or the ones filled with anger. When you think of someone who trolls the world looking for precious things to steal and call their own, do you think of a calm and content person, or Gollum from Lord of the Rings? Clearly, thieves are the issue and those who steal don’t typically make a habit of taking worthless things. —Wayne Gladstone
Now do you see why I am so intrigued by this story about The Fat Jew? Because Hector Ponce is my Josh Ostrovsky. He is of the same slimy ilk who will continue unless he’s stopped. It’s ironic that Hector Ponce chose Share This Now for his website name. It should be Steal This Now because just as Maura Quint says about The Fat Jew, “The more people see him as a success, the more people will want to follow in his filth-covered footsteps. His ‘brand’ is theft.” Hector Ponce is Josh Ostrovsky as I am any one of these comedians quoted here.
They may never see this. They may never know that I have enlisted them as my army, but today with their symbolic help and the knowledge that I’m not alone, I feel a little bit stronger in my fight.
The harm is that this guy is taking other people’s hard work and using it to make money for himself.
The people Ostrovsky is stealing from tend to be independent, geographically spread out — it’s the Internet, after all — and without a big platform to make themselves heard. That’s why it was so heartening to see people like Patton Oswalt, Paul Scheer, Kumail Nanjiani and Michael Ian Black rally around us, the smaller fish, because they are the ones who can make their voices heard. —Aram French
They were eventually forced to remove my post, but now Hector and Share This Now have posted a new blog post titled 13 Reasons Why Your Dentist Hates You Too. Puh-lease! It’s not clever, well-written, creative, or funny. That’s clear by the number of Facebook shares they received in the same amount of time mine was up– only 1% of the shares my post earned them.
They know my content had something special and they’re trying to get as much as they can from it. Do you think their host, Digital Ocean, should suspend their account now? I agree with Brett Druck when he suggests that with Ostrovsky “it’s greed. He needs his [social media] accounts suspended.” But they won’t, even though in my case he is still using a few direct quotes from my blog. Oh, and it’s so obvious this author lies when describing his inspiration for the article:
Now it’s out there. It’s done. It’s time to move on, but there is just one thing that would really make me feel better…
The best way to remedy the situation is to have him walk from one side of Hollywood to the other, naked, with a woman banging a bell behind him chanting, ‘Shame! Shame! Shame!’ If that’s not a possibility, then I think he just needs to go away until he’s able to come up with his own jokes. —Chuuch