Comedians fight back against wildly popular, joke-stealing Instagram account
The tony partyseekers trapped at the Fyre Festival were far from the only ones swindled by the folks behind Jerry Media. The social media agency tasked with promoting that doomed event has been ripping off comedians’ jokes for years and pedaling them as original content on its ridiculously popular Instagram account, FuckJerry. But perhaps not for much longer–at least not if Megh Wright has anything to say about it.
Wright, an editor at Vulture who specializes in comedy, has lately been on a crusade to crush Jerry Media, in support of comedians who don’t profit off of stolen jokes. It started with a well-argued piece on Vulture calling out Comedy Central for advertising its shows to FuckJerry’s 14.3 million Instagram followers.
“There’s just something about advertising on an Instagram account that got successful for posting stolen jokes—and spending ad money to run sponsored posts stylized like stolen jokes, no less—that feels antithetical to everything Comedy Central stands for, especially considering that the network likely employs comedians and writers who have had their jokes stolen by FuckJerry at some point,” she wrote.
Comedians and fans of comedy have been railing against FuckJerry and the similarly joke-stealing Fat Jew for years, without much in the way of resolution. Jerry Media appears to be thriving, Fyre Festival debacle be damned. (The agency actually produced the Netflix documentary about the festival, which feels like a metatextual scam.) But what’s been missing from the pushback against the brand is organization. Following the positive response to her piece, Wright launched the #FuckFuckJerry movement on Twitter.
This is me being too optimistic, but FuckJerry’s value is their 14.3m IG followers. If some celebs with tons of IG followers posted a message urging their fans to unfollow and inspired a boycott, maybe a dent could be made in that 14.3m. It’s a start? https://t.co/KbgoWH7CZf
— Megh Wright (@megh_wright) January 25, 2019
She looked at up some of the more prominent comedians and comedy-adjacent personalities following FuckJerry, and began tweeting at them with requests to consider unfollowing the joke-thief account.
Quickly, Wright secured support from Patton Oswalt, Tim Heidecker, and hilarious video artist Vic Berger, the latter of whom chimed in with an unflattering story about dealing with FuckJerry.
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
With lots of supporters of the movement tweeting out Wright’s article and using the hashtag #FuckFuckJerry, many more comedians stepped into the fray as well. Below are just some of them.
— Paul F. Tompkins (@PFTompkins) January 30, 2019
What @megh_wright is doing is cool. She’s encouraging people to unfollow FuckJerry on Instagram. FuckJerry has stolen from me and many other comedians and they are unrepentant. You might not realize how bad they are. Please unfollow that account right now.https://t.co/bJ8VsiKclL
— Jake Weisman (@weismanjake) February 1, 2019
Fuck Jerry steals content from struggling comics (who put it out for free) and then uses it to make money from ad sales. If you don’t want to help rich dudes make money by stealing from people who didn’t grow up rich enough to work the system then UNFOLLOW THEM. #fuckfuckjerry
— Eliza Skinner (@elizaskinner) February 1, 2019
— Nia Vardalos (@NiaVardalos) February 1, 2019
Want to join @megh_wright on the #FuckFuckJerry outcry. I somehow still have like 100 mutual followers with this thieving account that monetizes other people’s jokes without credit — including fuckin’ mine! So please, unfollow. And fuck @FATJEW as well, but that’s another day. https://t.co/nHLwJsWaMh
— Chase Mitchell (@ChaseMit) February 1, 2019
— Anthony Atamanuik (@TonyAtamanuik) February 1, 2019
— Guy Branum (@guybranum) January 31, 2019
The Instagram account / media company “FuckJerry” has made a fortune by stealing jokes from comedians and using them as a foundation to sell ads to major brands. #FuckFuckJerry @megh_wright https://t.co/QMbFDaSOjv
— Adam Conover (@adamconover) January 31, 2019
It appears that while it may not ultimately topple the giant, #FuckFuckJerry is indeed having an impact. In this Twitter thread, Wright reveals that she learned from a tipster that the FuckJerry account has quietly deleted 260 Instagram posts and has lost thousands of followers. Also, FuckJerry has suddenly protected its Instagram account, which is famously the kind of thing one does when everything is going great. If profiting from stolen jokes is something that offends you, it seems like there could be no better time to consider unfollowing FuckJerry.
UPDATE: Comedy Central has joined the ranks of those unfollowing FuckJerry:
???? Big #FuckFuckJerry update: @ComedyCentral has pulled their ads from FuckJerry’s IG. “Comedy Central requested to have any existing ads pulled from the FuckJerry account. We have no plans to advertise with Jerry Media in the future.” https://t.co/n0VcGtNEmV
— Megh Wright (@megh_wright) February 2, 2019