Full Disclosure: I was once contracted by Ethan and Hila's company through my employer as you will find out in this article, and so I have some skin in the game. Some names and other non-critical information might have been changed to protect anonymity but all of the key details remain intact.
It really sucks to see people that you idolized make bad decisions. Like many other people, I once trusted h3h3productions as a voice of reason in online entertainment. To quote Ethan himself, “[in 2016] we could do no wrong...” I've worked in reputation management and internet marketing for almost a decade, so I was elated when I got the tip from my boss that we might be working with a major YouTube channel, only to find out it was Ethan and Hila Klein.
We started out talking to h3h3productions through an intermediary over E-mail in late 2017/early 2018 who wanted to set up Ethan and Hila and any of their staff with our guys in a call. The first meeting between h3h3productions and our team in Jan-Feb 2018 concerned promotion and branding, but as time went on and their podcast continued to get bad press, they pressed for our reputation management services and other stuff the company doesn't advertise on the front page. They asked if we would be able to control the amount of dislikes and likes they got on Reddit, YouTube and other platforms and if we could somehow remove comments or even file DMCA takedowns to remove any content that was critical of their brand, which really rubbed me the wrong way. It was a great contract, so we pressed on and continued to work as well as we could to their specifications.
My day-to-day work mostly consisted of managing extensive networks of sockpuppet accounts for the h3h3 Reddit, Twitter and YouTube channel, which is something that almost every large content producer does, to the surprise of no one. Only very recently did Ethan Klein approach my manager directly about new problems he felt his brand was facing. Ethan Klein talked to my manager, Gary, about his concerns pretty candidly, and I was present in the call to take notes while Gary and Ethan worked out details. Ethan told us about a certain video by a guy on YouTube named Gokanaru that he felt was very critical of his channel and his character (https://youtu.be/2t5v5S0UuOg) and posed a serious risk to his brand, and he asked us what we could do about getting the video taken down, if we could submit a DMCA request, and what other avenues he could pursue. We told him pretty plainly that the video was likely protected by Fair Use laws, and Ethan immediately flew off the handle and threatened to end the contract. We ended the meeting there and told him we'd pick it up with him another day.
The following week, Ethan got back into a call with Gary, myself and my co-worker, Trent and explained in an exasperated tone that he had the perfect plan and all he needed us to do was act on it. After shouting at me and my boss, Ethan railroaded anything we said and encouraged us to implement a plan to make it look like all of his critics were attacking him from a purely anti-semitic angle, and that the attack on his brand and character was an Alt-Right conspiracy from 4chan. When we objected to the racial angle, he insulted Gary personally and told us we were “hacks” and “losers” before apologizing, throwing a chargeback our way, and ending the contract.
I was pretty devastated, not because the job reflected poorly on me as a marketer, but because I was direct witness to the catastrophic fall from grace of one of my idols. I used to listen to their old videos to go to sleep or to have a laugh on a bad day, but I will never be able to look at h3h3productions the same way again, knowing that Ethan Klein would take advantage of racial divisions in the United States to accuse his critics of Anti-Semitism by having us create sockpuppet accounts, oversee a plan to reinforce his narrative and shut down any legitimate critics with such an underhanded set of methods.
I hope you change your brand and your attitude. Please, you were supposed to be the voice of reason on YouTube, but now, you make me sick to my stomach.