Why did Anthony leave Smosh?

Co-founders of Smosh, Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox sold their YouTube channel to Defy Media, only to earn a fraction of the millions it was generating for the company.

Smosh is an American sketch YouTube channel created by Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox. It started in 2002 when Padilla created a website, smosh.com, for making flash animations. He was later joined by his brother, Hecox. In 2005, they began posting videos on a YouTube channel and it quickly became one of the most popular channels on the platform. As at June 2021, the channel has over 9.9 billion views and over 25.1 million subscribers.

On 14 June 2017, Padilla announced that he would be leaving Smosh to pursue his independent ventures. The events leading up to his departure date as far back as 2011, when Padilla and Hecox sold Smosh’s YouTube venture to Defy Media for stock in the company, meaning that Padilla and Hecox would only cash out if Defy were to go public. Although Padilla did receive a salary at Defy, it reportedly represented only a fraction of the millions of dollars that Smosh was generating for Defy Media

During Padilla’s last months at Defy, the company reportedly hired new members and started and stopped different shows without consulting Padilla. He admitted that Smosh was forced to launch an Indiegogo campaign that raised more than $250,000 for a mobile game that did not even exist and that it felt like an obvious money grab for him.

In 2017, Variety had an exclusive interview with Padilla, where he stated, “I realized I have not been as creatively excited about things recently. When I first started, it was just me being excited about creating things. It was not about numbers.”

On 6 November 2018, Defy media announced that it would be shutting down operations, effective immediately. The company laid off all of its employees and never gave a reason why. Less than a day after Defy made the announcement, the company’s assets were frozen by creditors.

In response to Defy shutting down, Padilla took to Instagram on 8 November 2018. He stated that he was heartbroken by the news about Smosh/Defy Media shutting down. He added that he had made a video exposing the “shady” things he learned about the company that owns Smosh. The video received over three million videos.

On 22 February 2019, Mythical Entertainment bought Smosh, which is currently operating out of Mythical Entertainment’s Los Angeles office.