You Shouldn’t Defend ‘The Fat Jew’

Above: Famous joke thief, Josh Ostrovsky

Internet personality, Josh Ostrovsky, or “The Fat Jew”, is one of the most followed accounts on social media. Due to his seemingly in-tune sense of humour, his popular Instagram account has amassed 5.7 million followers, and that’s not including his equally strong presence on Twitter. His digital dominance has put him into a position of strong influence, which has in turn, grabbed him corporate sponsorship deals from big name companies like Budweiser. The Fat Jewish is getting recognition and financial support for his jokes. The only problem is that those jokes don’t belong to him.

Earlier today, Splitsider embedded visual evidence into an article entitled “Comedy vs. The Fat Jew”. Maybe you’ve come across one or two of these before, but to see the 50 side-by-side comparisons is rather startling. This, yet another source in a growing list of those in the comedy know, who have made a conscious effort in defaming the man. Defenders of Ostrovsky have responded, claiming that he is simply curating funny content. This point is very problematic for a few reasons. For starters, The Fat Jew, without fail, always crops out the source of his posts, whether they be tweets, videos, or photos. Without verbal or visual credit, this is simply, flat out plagiarism.

Nowhere in media can anyone copy and paste an original idea or thought, without being put on blast. The Fat Jew is not sitting at a table telling his friends a joke that he saw on Saturday Night Live. He is releasing content on a public forum, and posting jokes for his own, ever-increasing audience. This practice would still be morally wrong, even if the “comedian” wasn’t profiting from them. Look at how sensitive an issue joke thievery is in comedy. Look at how Carlos Mencia was completely torn down by his contemporaries. Even Dane Cook, who at one time, was one of the biggest acts in the world, if not the biggest, struggled with accusations for years. This is piracy for profit. This is not “aggregating”, as some may suggest.

Your parents were right. Stealing is wrong, in any and every capacity. Intellectual thievery, media thievery, there is no moral difference. In the coming days, fans of the The Fat Jew will see the crumbling facade. Even when the truth is presented, some will still stand by him. Before you ride or die with Ostrovsky, think of this: Remember at that party? You know, the one where you told a joke to your friend? It doesn’t have to be a joke, at all. Maybe just a subtle observation or small quip. OK, and now remember when they retold it, verbatim, to a bunch of new people? Maybe the new group of people loved it so much that they spent all night with your friend, while they didn’t acknowledge you at all. Maybe that group of people wasn’t a group of people. Maybe that group of people was someone you were trying to impress, someone you had a crush on. Regardless. the feeling was the same. Now imagine that your friend retold a joke and was subsequently, given a job interview. Maybe they were paid to retell that joke in front of millions of people. Now that person is flying to France and New York, off of that joke. That kind of feels shitty, doesn’t it? That’s exactly what The Fat Jewish is making countless comedians feel like right now. This isn’t a retelling of a popular joke. This is pulling from hungry and talented, up and coming comedians, all while keeping them down.

You know how hard it is to craft a joke, and how amazing it feels when something comes to you naturally. It’s almost like magic. The Fat Jew is bottling that magic and selling it to fricken Anheuser Busch. He is literally stealing money and recognition from artists that deserve attention. Everytime Josh Ostrovsky goes on Instagram, he is pissing in comedy’s talent pool. He’s printing counterfeit money and buying his way to the top. So before you defend The Fat Jewish, remember that dude at the party that stole your joke. Now he’s chatting it up with the cool kids, and you’re still in the corner of the room near the snack table. Except, now imagine that that same dude is raking in cash and you’re a struggling comedian wondering if you’ll have to stop pursuing your passion, all because some dickhead is stealing your work. You’re right, that would really suck.

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