Ryan Kavanaugh never wanted to personally sue Ethan Klein or his company, H3 Productions, but Klein’s targeted and escalated online attacks against him left him no choice. The problem started on April 17, 2021. This is the date that Triller Fight Club, a division of a company Kavanaugh co-founded and holds financial interest in due to being a shareholder, broadcast a pay per view boxing match between Ben Askren and Jake Paul.
What should have been a profitable event for Triller after months of preparation instead became a legal battle after discovering that Ethan Klein, a well-known YouTube personality and podcast host, had pirated more than four million unique views. Klein’s actions cost Triller Fight Club over $100 million in lost revenue. He was not the only one who committed piracy that night, but most of the others did so only for their own use and paid the $49.999 fee when confronted with evidence of their actions.
Klein’s Initial Cooperation Quickly Turned into Online Aggression
Because Ryan Kavanaugh is not the CEO of Triller nor any type of executive, he did not have the legal power to sue Klein and H3 Productions on the company’s behalf. However, Triller’s leadership wasted no time filing a lawsuit in California district court. The lawsuit was in place by the end of April 2021.
Ethan Klein appeared ready to cooperate in the first few days after receiving notice of the lawsuit. He quickly abandoned all common legal practices when he announced details of the lawsuit to millions of his podcast followers.
Before long, Klein engaged in actions such as paying Wikipedia editors to change Kavanaugh’s page to predominantly negative information. He paid the same Wikipedia editors to update his personal page and H3 Production’s page to include all positive information. Klein also paid Google to have negative stories about Kavanaugh appear on the front page of search engine results, regardless of the specific terms online users use.
Deploying Some Forms of Harassment Cost Klein Nothing
While it seems that no fee is too large to pay if it helps to destroy Kavanaugh’s reputation, Klein also tapped into the power he has as a podcaster with millions of followers. His sole purpose was to bring even more dishonor to Kavanaugh’s name. Here are just a handful of examples:
- Klein instructed his followers to leave 1-star reviews for Triller on its AppStore page, whether they had ever used the app or not.
- Requested that his followers upvote dishonest information he had published about Kavanaugh on his social media sites.
- Cheered on his followers who posted threatening comments on social media accounts owned by Kavanaugh.
Ryan Kavanaugh eventually had to block all commenters from posting due to the amount of harassment and outright threats he received each day. He realized on the day he turned off commenting that he would need to sue Ethan Klein personally. Besides recouping millions in lost revenue due to Klein’s piracy, he hopes to send a message that his behavior is illegal, unprofessional, and that no one should have to tolerate anything like it.