This got ugly in a hurry: A war of words has broken out between YouTube star Ray William Johnson and Maker Studios CEO Danny Zappin after Johnson announced he would leave Maker.
So, let’s try to keep this factual.
First off: Ray William Johnson announced back in October that he would be leaving Maker Studios in this video:
And this was Maker’s official response:
Ray is still a part of the Maker Network. With the recent decline in viewership on =3 it made sense for him to go back to producing the show himself. Maker providing a full production staff of 12 people including a team of writers no longer was a viable option for =3. Maker fully supports Ray’s decision to go back to producing the show on his own for the time being and we wish him continued success. We will continue to support Ray through this transition.
And that seemed not too terrible. People leave studios all the time. Some questioned the “staff of people” involved in Johnson’s productions, but that was about it. Then, in an exclusive with New Media Rockstars, Johnson wrote a long article detailing why he left. Here are a couple of snippets:
When [Maker and CEO Danny Zappin] brought me the terms of the new contract they wanted me to sign… the terms were incredibly aggressive. They wanted 40% of my Youtube channel’s Adsense revenue after production costs, and more importantly, they wanted 50% of the show’s intellectual property in perpetuity. Let me clarify: they wanted to own 50% of the intellectual property of “Equals Three” for the rest of eternity and weren’t offering much in return. I have it all in writing.
When I politely refused their deal, as it was not in my best interest, they became increasingly aggressive.
The bolding is mine for emphasis.
Johnson also noted “I also never had a ‘production staff of 12 people including a team of writers.’ These are simply false accusations designed to paint me in a poor light.“
Then it got uglier. Johnson recently posted on Twitter texts from Zappin:
Just got another one… instagr.am/p/TF6-UIvdlQ/
— Ray William Johnson (@RayWJ) December 11, 2012
(Instagram, damn you…!)
In the NMR article, Danny Zappin commented:
Ray. Your lack of integrity and character is sad. Your lies will not go without a full on expose about your selfish ego driven actions and the real truth. Maker will not tollerate lies of low life ego-maniacs that think they are better than everyone else.
I will reply and lay out the facts in great detail since you feel this needs to be public. I have emails, contracts, revenue data and interviews with Maker staff and behind the scenes footage of your actions. The truth will prevail. We won’t allow you to slander us with lies without responding. I’m sorry you have taken it to this level. Stay tuned.
CEO/Co-Founder of Maker.
Another Co-Founder, ShayCarl, promised to make a video commenting on the issue. Here he is:
Question: How do you think this is going to shake out?