YouTubers are reporting that Old Spice dropped its sponsorship of h3h3's Ethan Klein amid a brewing troll war with Keemstar
- Reports that Old Spice terminated its sponsorship of h3h3Production's Ethan Klein are circulating in the midst of an all-out war between the popular YouTuber and his nemesis Daniel "Keemstar" Keem.
- Business Insider was unable to independently verify that Klein was dropped from Old Spice, but another popular commentary YouTuber who goes by Scarce says Klein privately confirmed it to him.
- Previously, Keem confirmed in a response to Klein's "Content Nuke" video that he "walked away" from his sponsor G Fuel after Klein's fans harassed the energy drink company over its ties with Keem.
- Unverified screenshots of DMs purportedly sent between Old Spice's verified Twitter account and an anonymous Twitter user show the partnership was allegedly terminated because Klein has said the slurs "n*****" and "f*****" out loud before – once during a 2017 Vice interview about another YouTuber using the slurs out of context.
- Whether Old Spice actually terminated the sponsorship or not, the anonymous Twitter user's point is that online trolls can attack Klein's sponsorships in the same way they think he attacked Keem's G Fuel sponsorship – an escalating topic of discussion in the commentary YouTube community.
Another victory has supposedly been claimed for Daniel "Keemstar" Keem in the war between the YouTube drama reporter and his online nemesis Ethan Klein of h3h3Productions. But Keem insists the battle wasn't his own, and he's encouraging his supporters to stop the warfare before it becomes a precedent in the community.
Specifically, an anonymous anti-Klein Twitter user named "Hotep Albania" is claiming that the P&G brand Old Spice terminated its sponsorship of Klein after they exchanged DMs with Old Spice's official Twitter account. Hotep Albania posted screenshots of the conversation, although Business Insider could not confirm their legitimacy, and screenshots can be easily faked or manipulated.
—Hotep Albania (@HotepAlbania) May 21, 2020
Business Insider reached out to representatives of Old Spice, as well as Klein, Keem, and Hotep Albania to try and verify the screenshots or confirm that a sponsorship was terminated, but did not receive any responses.
However, another popular YouTuber in the commentary community who goes by Scarce and has nearly 3 million subscribers says that Klein privately confirmed to him that Old Spice did terminate his sponsorship.
Additionally, Keem quote-tweeted Hotep Albania's screenshots and asked his followers to "NOT GO AFTER ANY OF H3H3 sponsors!" Klein replied to Keem's tweet, and while he didn't confirm or deny the Old Spice termination, he added his own screenshot of Keem going after another person's sponsorship himself in 2019.
—KEEM (@KEEMSTAR) May 21, 2020
The Old Spice sponsorship battle is a continuation of an ongoing feud between Keem and Klein, which has spawned a debate over when or if it's ever ethical to try and convince a YouTuber's sponsor to drop them due to a controversy, perceived misconduct, or, in Keem's words, "internet beef."
Keem and Klein have been battling it out through YouTube videos, and sponsors are quickly falling for the demands of trolls
It all started because Klein was fed up with Keem's reporting on other YouTubers. Keem has built up an empire with his channel "DramaAlert," the title of his YouTube news program. But Klein believes that Keem doesn't always do his due diligence as an independent reporter. Keem recently suggested that Klein lied about using his own money to pay for a copyright lawsuit — a claim that Klein disputes.
Klein went on to produce a video about Keem titled "Content Nuke" that accused Keem of lying about Klein committing fraud, and additionally compiled examples of Keem's offensive past behavior, including a controversial interview with a YouTuber who would later die by suicide, where Keem appeared to suggest jumping off a bridge. The video exploded in the YouTube commentary community (a subgenre built off YouTubers making videos about other YouTubers and social media personalities), where both Klein and Keem have developed controversial reputations.
Keem first responded to Klein's "Content Nuke" in a video called "H3h3 lies," in which Keem announced – after speculation – that he had "walked away" from his longtime sponsor G Fuel. In "Content Nuke," Klein had repeatedly mentioned that G Fuel sponsored Keem despite his questionable conduct on DramaAlert.
After "Content Nuke" debuted, G Fuel's social media profiles were spammed with comments asking for the energy drink company to end its sponsorship of Keem. Over the next 24 hours, Keem's signature cotton candy-flavored energy drink starter disappeared from the G Fuel website, and his affiliate code "KEEM" stopped working. G Fuel didn't respond to Business Insider's request for comment.
In "H3h3 lies," Keem argued that Klein was setting a dangerous precedent for the commentary community: if you don't like someone, encourage your followers to spam their sponsors until they get dropped. Keem says this is a new tactic on YouTube, but it's not really new – it's also occurred in mainstream media, when controversial TV personalities like Laura Ingraham have spawned boycotts of her show's advertisers.
Klein made that same argument in his second rebuke, titled "Nuclear Fallout." Klein also said Keem himself has encouraged fans to go after people's sponsors in the past. Klein hasn't mentioned losing any sponsorships himself, although he did joke that his wife Hila's brand, Teddy Fresh, dropped them.
—Ethan Klein (@h3h3productions) May 22, 2020
The reason cited for Old Spice terminating its sponsorship of Klein, at least in Hotep Albania's purported DMs with the company, is that Klein has said the slurs "n*****" and "f*****" out loud before. He has, at least once, in a 2017 interview with Vice. Klein said them as one word, referencing the fact that another commentary YouTuber, Ian Carter (better known as iDubbbz) frequently uses the two words out of context.
The incident is just one possible target for Klein's detractors, however, as YouTuber is known for outrageous and offensive interviews.
With at least one more Keem video planned in response to "Content Nuke," and other commentary videos about the feud piling up, the debate over sponsorships and ethical YouTube reporting is far from over.
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