YouTube’s Smosh, Smosh Games, and Clevver, all owned by Defy Media, are looking for a new home following the announcement that Defy, which has an estimated 28 million subscribers, has shuttered its doors.
“Regretfully, Defy Media has ceased operations today,” the company said in a statement. “We are extremely proud of what we accomplished here at Defy and in particular want to thank all the employees who worked here. We deeply regret the impact that this has had on them today… Unfortunately, market conditions got in the way of us completing our mission.”
Soon After, Ian Hecox, Smosh’s co-founder told followers on Twitter that Smosh’s team was “already in the process of finding a new home.”
“Smosh has been enjoying record numbers lately, and this closure won’t stop us,” Hecox wrote. “The family that we’ve worked to build over the past 13 years is not going away.”
Joslyn Davis, an executive producer at celebrity news channel Clevver, also tweeted, “We also want to let you know that this closure doesn’t mean we’re going away. We are in the process of finding a new home for Clevver and will update you all as soon as possible. Making awesome videos for you guys is our number one priority, and we’re hoping to have some exciting news to share with you soon.”
Defy Media’s digital network is responsible for more than 75 series on YouTube and has over 140 million followers on social media. The company, founded in 2008 as Break Media and bought by Alloy Digital in 2011, once had over 400 people on its staff. In recent years, however, there have been significant layoffs. Employees received notices informing them that Defy’s LA location will shut its doors in January.
Though it’s unclear why exactly the company is closing, Deft had been dealing with financial issues as of late. In June, the company shut down its programming department after unsuccessfully looking for a buyer, leaving many publishers unpaid. The company hoped to shift the focus to its digital content creation business, but apparently, that plan didn't end up working out.
In recent hours, several YouTube stars have criticized the company for its closure. Vlogger Shane Dawson accused the company of stealing “all their creators hard earned money” to pay their debts, while alleging that Defy threatened to sue its employees when they asked to leave. Lisa Schwartz, another YouTube personality, added that she found out they were closing through Tubefilter and that she still hasn’t been paid.
According to another YouTube star, Ryland Adams, who was part of Clevver Media, he was ”forced to become a part" of Defy Media’s multi-channel network (MCN), which meant that he got paid after the company had taken a percentage of his ad money. He added that he hasn’t been paid this month and that since a bank has blocked Defy’s accounts, he may never get paid. He says he joined the MCN after being bullied by the company’s lawyers for threatening to go on record about his situation.