It’s been almost three months since #FuckFuckJerry began, and while the wildly popular Instagram account has since started asking creators for permission to post their jokes on its feed, one major criticism of the company — its lack of compensation for creators — has gone mostly unaddressed until this week. While FuckJerry founder Elliot Tebele gave a noncommittal answer when asked whether or not he’d consider paying people for their jokes during a recent interview on NPR’s Planet Money (“It’s not no”), another popular Instagram account has taken a more direct stance.
It started when comedian Whitney Cummings noticed today that the Instagram account @sarcasm_only (which currently has 13.7 million followers) posted a tweet of hers without credit earlier this week. The @sarcasm_only account’s general style has been to post tweets with usernames cropped out but their own username added into the image. The Cummings tweet has since been deleted from their feed, but here’s another example of how their Instagram has traditionally been run:
Not long after Cummings’s tweet, the owner of the @only_sarcasm account, named Xavi, reached out to Vulture via email. After apologizing for the account’s “lack of etiquette and respect when reposting other people’s work,” Xavi said, “Starting today I’m completely changing my process on how I repost content and only posting with original twitter handles and Instagram credits on the caption.” After a brief back and forth over email in which Xavi was asked if the account would consider paying creators to run their jokes (@only_sarcasm has recently run advertisements for Tinder and TikTok), Xavi said this:
I agree with you 100%. Yes moving forward I would be willing to pay creators for their posts. I can probably afford to pay $15-25 per post I use from a creator. Payment can be made via PayPal instantly. I’ll set up an email for creators and they can email me if they see a post that I’ve put up and desire payment. You think that would work? Again I’m genuinely sorry for this I’ve been meaning to change my process but always end up putting it off due to my lack of respect. I get it and I understand you 100%.
Then, @only_sarcasm added the below update to its Instagram Story, inviting anyone whose jokes were posted without credit or permission to reach out for payment:
At least one person reached out and has received payment so far:
“I think $10 actually is something that I can swing since I post so much. Without comics and writers my page isn’t anything,” Xavi added in another email. “I think this is the right thing to do. I get that simply crediting doesn’t necessarily put food on someone’s table. And if they took their time to come up with written work, if they desire to get paid for me using it it’s their right.” Of course, sponsored posts on Instagram for accounts as popular as @fuckjerry can rake in $30,000 a pop, so $10 per post is not the most impressive payment. Still, considering most of these accounts currently pay creators nothing and have a history of responding to requests by telling them to “shut up” or ignoring them altogether — and considering @thefatjewish is still stealing jokes without credit despite the backlash he experienced several years ago — this is at least an encouraging step in the right direction.