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You probably know Fuck Jerry, the meme account with over 14 million followers on Instagram that was founded by Elliot Tebele. It was one of the first meme accounts and has since evolved to include 20 different accounts, millions of followers across all social channels, a card game (What Do You Meme?), a digital media company (Jerry Media), and even a tequila brand (Jaja). Oh, and they produced Netflix’s Fyre Festival documentary, Fyre, in partnership with Vice. Since the documentary’s release in January, people have been sharing the hashtag #FuckFuckJerry and urging everyone to unfollow the account on Twitter and Instagram. Here’s why.
A history of stealing memes
Fuck Jerry has been known to steal content from comedians and other creators for years. Tebele screenshots tweets and crops the credit out or renders content untraceable from its original source.
FuckJerry made his $ on “memes” that are just stolen tweets w/credits cropped out. So now when someone steals ur tweet they can say “lol chill bro its a meme just write more jokes.” So if that works im gonna steal cars & say “lol chill bro its called brumping just buy a new car.”
— How To Be Alone (by me Lane Moore) is out now (@hellolanemoore) January 30, 2019
In 2016, #FuckJerry and their chief content officer James Ryan Ohliger aka “Krispyshorts” stole a bunch of my videos and posted as their own with ads attached. Here was Ohliger’s response after I called them out on @instagram. #FuckFuckJerry pic.twitter.com/aUqzNtluMV
— Vic Berger IV (@VicBergerIV) January 30, 2019
Now that documentaries about huge scams and the dangers of social media are popular, when will someone make one about FuckJerry?
— Megh Wright (@megh_wright) January 21, 2019
She found stolen content on Fuck Jerry from not only comedians but non-comedians, who had no idea their tweets were being used for profit.
“They had no idea and were angry about it,” she said. “So it doesn’t just affect comedians, it affects a lot of people, and it’s not right.”
“How much did FuckJerry pay you to use your content to advertise his tequila brand?” Wright asked a content creator named Femi Factor on Twitter.
— Megh Wright (@megh_wright) January 28, 2019
“Nothing, not a cent,” he responded.
Nothing, not a cent
— Agent Femi (@iamfemifactor) January 28, 2019
Jerry Media’s involvement in Fyre Festival
The Hulu documentary Fyre Fraud laid out Fuck Jerry’s involvement in the disaster that was Fyre Festival, which was conveniently omitted from the Netflix version. The documentary makes it seem as though Jerry Media knowingly promoted false information on their social media. Former Jerry Media employee, Oren Aks, who was interviewed in the doc, accused Jerry Media of promoting the event despite knowing that it was going to be terrible. Basically, Aks said the company was complicit in the fraud.
get rich quick scheme: get paid to promote a fake event on social media while the impoverished physical laborers were stiffed, claim no responsibility for the event being fake, then get paid to make a documentary about the fake event. sound about right @FuckJerry?
— rob da fuckboywonder (@BobbyVindaL00) January 22, 2019
After being criticized on social media, Tebele responded on Twitter saying that the company “lost over $150K working on Fyre Festival.”
Actor Patton Oswalt responded saying they should have lost their “entire company and the ability to ever work again in any creative medium” with the hashtag #FuckFuckJerry.
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) January 29, 2019
After more backlash, Tebele said he gave “every dollar” earned from Fyre Festival back to the GoFundMe pages set up for the workers in the Bahamas. “Others should do the same,” he tweeted.
Oswalt responded saying “How ‘bout giving the rest of your $$$$ back to the comedians and artists whose content you stole and passed off as your own to build your brand? Now that you’ve been bitten by the Integrity Bug.”
How ‘bout giving the rest of your $$$$ back to the comedians and artists whose content you stole and passed off as your own to build your brand? Now that you’ve been bitten by the Integrity Bug. https://t.co/7d5HsQUCFA
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) January 29, 2019
What is #FuckFuckJerry?
Fuck Jerry being complicit in the Fyre Fest mess was the end for many people, thus starting the #FuckFuckJerry movement. Wright started tweeting celebrities to bring awareness to the brand’s shady behavior. Judah Friedlander suggested the hashtag #FuckFuckJerry, Wright told the Daily Dot.
#fuckfuckjerry could be the hashtag.
— Judah Friedlander (@JudahWorldChamp) January 28, 2019
Since then, actors and comedians such as Tim Heidecker, Vic Berger, Akilah Hughes, Marcia Belsky, and Patton Oswalt have joined in to help get the word out.
— Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) January 30, 2019
In conclusion, #FuckFuckJerry
— Marcia Belsky (@MarciaBelsky) January 29, 2019
The widespread effort on social media may actually be working. This week, Wright tweeted that she noticed the Fuck Jerry Instagram account deleted 260 posts.
“Whoa! Interesting #FuckFuckJerry update, per a helpful source who sent me this tip,” she wrote. “Today, the FJ Instagram account deleted 260 posts! Last column is new media uploads/removals.”
🚨 Whoa! Interesting #FuckFuckJerry update, per a helpful source who sent me this tip. Today, the FJ Instagram account deleted 260 posts! Last column is new media uploads/removals. cc @timheidecker @VicBergerIV @pattonoswalt pic.twitter.com/wRwhWyHM5D
— Megh Wright (@megh_wright) January 31, 2019
Since the internet is a vast and confusing place, poorly sourced content is all over the place. Wright hopes the#FuckFuckJerry movement will be the start of a bigger conversation about how people can protect their tweets, blogs, and intellectual property.
“I just think that if enough people showed their support by unfollowing, the value FuckJerry charges for ads would drop, and then we could continue a conversation about this in general,” she told the Daily Dot. “That could mean legal action people whose content was stolen could take possibly, or thinking up solutions for how to deal with these kinds of for-profit thieves for the future.”
Fuck Jerry did not respond to a request for comment.
Gabrielle Sorto is an Atlanta-based freelance writer covering culture, lifestyle, and news. Her work has appeared in CNN, Teen Vogue, INSIDER, and Vice. She can usually be found writing with an overpriced coffee in hand or hanging out with her dog, Rihanna, who is named after exactly who you think.