Smosh Parent Company Defy Media Shutters

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 04: Internet personalities Anthony Padilla (L) and Ian Hecox speak onstage during the 6th annual Streamy Awards hosted by King Bach and live streamed on YouTube at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 4, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Mike Windle/Getty Images for dick clark productions)

Defy Media, the company behind such content creators as Smosh, Clevver, Break.com, MadeMan, and others, is shuttering this week. In a statement to the media, a spokeswoman for the company had the following to say Tuesday evening. “Regretfully, Defy Media has ceased operations today. 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.”

If you were around during the early days of YouTube, you might remember the halcyon days of Smosh. Gaining fame from lip-synced theme songs in the early days of YouTube, they’re just one of several notable online brands facing changes this week. Some creators are taking to Twitter to reassure their audiences that their content will continue after the shutdown.

Word about the closure first came from the Defy Media production facility in Beverly Hills. All employees working there will be out of work by the end of the year. The office will cease total operation January 2, 2019. Notifications about the closure came in accordance with the WARN Act, the law that Telltale Games is currently being sued over by former employees.

It’s been a tumultuous year for Defy Media, to say the least. The California-based company cut its staff by 8% back in March, shutting down its ad business. This resulted in legal trouble with new company Topix, trying to claim owed back pay for displayed ads. In July, Defy sold off several of its more prominent brands. Gaming magazine The Escapist went to Enthusiast Gaming and pop culture parody site Screen Junkies became the property of Fandom. The latter sale came after yet another lawsuit featuring Screen Junkies co-founder Andy Signore seeking a wrongful termination case. Said termination came earlier in the year due to sexual harassment charges leveled against him online.

[Image Credit: Getty Images via Mike Windle]