Creator and star of YouTube’s Smosh, Anthony Padilla gave an emotional goodbye to fans today as he announced his exit from the digital juggernaut. Padilla founded sketch-comedy channel Smosh with Ian Hecox in 2006 before expanding into a brand in 2012.
“I have been holding onto these memories and hoping that someday Smosh would be how it was when we first started, before Smosh was a brand owned by a company,” Padilla states. “I had to come to terms with the fact that Smosh being part of a company has put all of my creative decisions through a filter of what’s appropriate for the Smosh brand as deemed by the company. I need to feel that happiness again. I need to be doing what makes me happiest to wake up each morning. Right now, that is for me to do things on my own again with complete creative freedom.”
Padilla made the announcement video on his personal YouTube page which includes vlogs and sketches, and told viewers that they could continue to see his new projects there as he focuses on his solo career.
Since branching out in 2012 as a brand, owned by Defy Media, Smosh has added several channels to their umbrella including Smosh Games, Smosh 2nd Channel, ElSmosh, and Shut Up Cartoons. They also released a feature-length movie from Lionsgate in 2015, written by Eric Falconer. The central channel currently has over 22 million subscribers, making it the eighth most subscribed channel on YouTube.
Padilla’s decision may be personal but it contributes to the growing conversation regarding creativity in the digital community. These creators become well known for their out-of-the-box thinking, but once they become well-known they sign with companies who can provide a more consistent work-life and income. The trade off is that what they make is not their own and, like Padilla says, must fit what the company sees as their brand, not his. On the flipside, you have Google and YouTube dealing with the advertisers who are upset over AdSense and want to make sure that their ads are paired with channels that fit their image, putting pressure on channels to again, limit their creativity to make advertisers happy.
As the debate over AdSense continues, it is likely we’ll see more creators either leaving the brands they are synonymous with or finding new venues away from YouTube altogether where they can take back some control.
You can watch the full exit video from Padilla below:
Emily J | TV Editor