[UPDATED 7/16/14 – Scroll down to read]
Yesterday was a rather interesting day in the media world, as Olivia Thai finally publicly spoke out about her status and situation with the Youtube video comedy company, JK Films. For the past couple years, we had seen the singer become a part of the JK Films team, and featured in a large number of their skits as well as doing some work for the organization behind the scenes. That is… until recently when she disappeared from their material without much word from either side.
She finally spoke up and what she has to say does not shed the comedy troupe in a favorable light. So here’s the play by play.
First Olivia posted this video, which is now blocked (supposedly by JK Films). In it, she alleges that JK Films had illegally employed her, along with many other “interns”, overworking and underpaying them. She lists several other grievances but claims that when all of this was brought up to the owners (Bart & Joe), she was subsequently fired.
Naturally, many folks started reaching out to both sides, many rallying behind Olivia Thai on the issue, and others coming to the defense of JK Films. It’s a divisive issue matter, so that is expected. After Olivia’s initial video was taken down, a sympathizer put together this following recap of her side of the story.
Now with everyone’s curiosity piqued, and with no official statement from JK Films (outside of replies on Twitter & social media), people started to contact associated acts for their opinion on the matter. David So was one such individual and he provided the following statement on Facebook
My business/personal relationship with JUSTKIDDINGFILMS:
As you may all well know, I have been with JustKiddingFilms on a lot of collaborative projects in the past couple years. Now recently, with a bit of drama that they’ve been having, quite a few of you have been messaging my personal inbox about their recent situation with Olivia.
Now I’m going to put it you like this:
NONE OF YOUR FUCKEN BUSINESS.
NONE OF MY FUCKEN BUSINESS.
If you want to ask me personally about MY content for my channel, that’s fine. But asking someone to dish dirt to you when it’s personal business about internal affairs that does not concern you, is pathetic. Some of you out there have a sense of entitlement over youtubers and DEMAND to know everything about our personal lives. How dare you.
I’ve said this before, for people who you claim to respect and love, you talk to some of us as if you own us like property. We are not your property and you do not have any right to ask us about our personal lives unless we CHOOSE to share it with you.
So this is what I CHOOSE to share about the whole situation because it’s ALREADY OUT THERE:
JustKiddingFilms is my FAMILY.
They are a company and a group of my personal friends that have built me up, supported, and has been there for me ever since I came onto the Youtube scene. In fact, I wouldn’t have a channel if it weren’t for Bart, Joe, and Geo because I planned on quitting after the first year or few months of being in it.
By thinking that I’m being used by a company that I have fucked with for the past couple of years implies that I’m stupid enough to stay. JustKidding and I have built a bond of friendship, trust, and we build and support each other everyday of this grind.
I am MY OWN ENTITY. I am DavidSoComedy they are JustKiddingFilms. We are friends/family first business partners second.
As for Olivia, I believe she made a poor choice in involving people that had nothing to do with their situation. I don’t choose sides on matters that don’t involve me and I still won’t but if you want to ask how I feel about everything I will let you know and give you a couple things to think about:
Be wary about the information you receive about someone, who is willing to say things such as “professionalism in the work place” when they would post a slanderous video with personal, CONFIDENTIAL information. Be wary of someone that would only show you “parts” of a confidential email without a proper response. Be wary of someone who states that she wants transparency from a company when she cannot do that herself.
One party wishes the best for the person, another hates and speaks ill of the other.
Some of you say that she was strong cause she posted that video? That is your opinion and I respect that. But how spineless is it for someone to take family/personal matters into the eye of the public in order to gain moral support?
If everyone at JustKiddingFilms were so unhappy and being mistreated, why is it that they choose to stay? Why do you see videos of us hanging out laughing, eating, going on company retreats and barbeques together? Why are we constantly around each other even after work? Why do the so-called “mistreated” interns live with and break bread with the people they are “supposed” to hate?
As critical thinkers, doesn’t something smell fishy about the information she “conveniently” chooses to leave out?
This situation is like you fighting with your family over a serious matter and asking the world to chime in on how shitty your family is when it should have been dealt with the individuals themselves.
Her choices have gotten a lot of people involved who don’t know shit about the situation and who have nothing to do with it, including me and you. Her actions were done without that consideration and now I’m stuck writing this bullshit to get people off my back.
Olivia if you read this, I don’t hate you but, if you know me I’m blunt.
You’re stupid LOL. hahaha. I can’t help but laugh about this because you made a dumb choice. You chose to get me and THE PUBLIC involved and and this is the result.
I wish you the best but you gotta think? Maybe I fucked up just a LITTLE bit? yeah?
As of an hour ago, Olivia shared her response to David, also on Facebook.
In response to David So‘s Facebook post:
Out of respect for my fans who have loyally supported me for the last seven years, I chose to respond to their daily questioning about this business matter. Notice how I used the term, “business” matter. Because the owners and upper management decided to dissolve their seven-year friendship with me when I brought up my concerns about the unpaid interns, this is now SOLELY a business matter.
Additionally, I tried to resolve this in a private and peaceful way, but they reacted in an unprofessional manner, cursed in their business emails, belittled me, and finally, openly stated that they ceased to communicate with me. I’ve let a lot of things go in the past, but I really felt that I needed to take a stand on this out of self-respect and justice. I simply can’t let people take advantage of me or others like that.
Regarding your question, “If everyone at JustKiddingFilms were so unhappy and being mistreated, why is it that they choose to stay?” That is an excellent question, and the answer is that many people have actually left or were fired due to this very reason. I am simply choosing to do something about it, and several of them have contacted me in support of my decision both privately and publicly. Fans themselves have noticed people simply “disappearing” without explanation.
Responding to your statement, “Be wary of someone that would only show you ‘parts’ of a confidential email without a proper response.” If people read the full emails and text messages, I believe JK would look even worse. I truly did not feel that it was necessary to include all of the other parts of the documents because they were irrelevant to the issue of unpaid interns. If you or JK would like me to release the entire email threads and text messages, please let me know, and I’d be absolutely willing to do so.
Your general summary: “One party wishes the best for the person, another hates and speaks ill of the other.” There is no hate here – only justice. I have and always will wish the best for JustKiddingFilms, and ultimately, I believe this issue needs to be resolved in order for JK to be a business with longevity.
You called my video “slanderous”. It is only considered slander if the information is false. Everything that I stated in the video was true with written proof. I wanted the fans to know their rights so as to protect them from allowing companies like JK to take advantage of them. Seems like the fans are taking it to heart.
I apologize for the fact that you were dragged into this, and I know that you would never take advantage of people the way that they do.
Lastly, David, I don’t think you’re stupid, and as always, I am open to hearing your opinions even if they differ from mine. I truly cherish our friendship and all of the advice you have given me in regard to this matter.
So where does this leave us? Well, like nearly any large scale debate, it’s tough to say any one side is “fully right”. By the letter of the law, it is very likely that Olivia has in fact been grossly under-compensated for her contributions to JK Films, to the point of illegal employment/labor. But what we don’t know is the surrounding circumstances and context – and quite frankly, we may never know. Start-ups rarely have every i dotted and every t crossed, so this type of working arrangement isn’t exactly unprecedented – though I guess the question is, should it be accepted?
And regardless of the answer to the validity of the business practices, was this the most appropriate method for Olivia to air out her grievances. In an arrangement/relationship that was as likely personal as it was professional, it’s hard to draw the line of distinction between the two after the fact and deal with it in a dualistic manner.
Either way, we’ll keep you in the loop on the matter. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, if at all.
It seems like the worst of the battle has passed, and the smoke is starting to clear. But there were a couple more lobs from both sides – with a current intern of JKF speaking out in their defense, and Olivia providing a response.
But JKF has finally released their official statement, and it appears they remain steadfast in denying the allegations and look to settle the matter privately with Olivia. We’ll let you know if anything else develops.
Hey guys! First, we’d like to thank everyone who continues to support Just Kidding Films. We have been uploading videos since 2007 and we have, for the record, kept our vision to teaching good things in a “bad way” (“bad” as in sometimes vulgar, unconventional and edgy).
Along our journey, we have met some of the most amazing and talented people and we have worked with them on several projects. We will forever be thankful for their time and for the opportunity to have them on our channel.
Recently though, JKF’s internship policy has come under scrutiny from a previous member of the team. In response, we appreciate the overwhelming support you have given us and you can rest assured that we are operating our company and are compliant within strict legal guidelines.
We consider our viewers the most important part of our channel and we are sad that a disgruntled former member chose to air her unsupported opinion to the public which we intend to respond to in a private manner. As in any company (ours no different) there will always be someone who is unhappy with the process and we recognize that and hope to address it with that individual in a professional and courteous manner. We will keep you posted once the matter is resolved.
In the meantime – we again thank you for all your genuine comments and concerns and we will continue to produce content that will make you laugh and think and we can only hope that you will continue to support us the same way you have since the very beginning.
Thanks for your time. See you online.
Joe, Bart, Geo, Casey, Tommy, Julia, Tiffany, Josh, Michael, Brandon.