Unless you're the sort of person who doesn't give a single fuck who the Fat Jew is or what he does (highly commendable approach to existence), then you've likely been unwittingly swept up in the continued debate of appropriate attribution in the increasingly post-internet industry surrounding all facets of art. A debate much bigger than Fat Jew or similar online voices, the contentious argument reached another fever pitch recently with the announcement that Fat Jew, a.k.a. Josh Ostrovsky, had signed with Creative Artists Agency, one of the largest agencies in Hollywood.
Though never a favored presence by most comedians in the industry, the debate surrounding his seemingly nonchalant attitude toward joke and meme theft crashed into the mainstream conversation while warranting passionate rebuttals of his entire career like the one below:
Michael Ian Black, Patton Oswalt, Doug Stanhope, and many others quickly joined the comedian-led outcry. In typical Fat Jew fashion (i.e. sarcasm, perhaps ill-placed, on full blast), the self-described "performance artist" and "idiot" finally responded to the backlash in a new interview with Vulture. Surprisingly, the Fat Jew has interns (that's plural) who help him run his Instagram through a curation process he describes as so:
My interns and I find pop-culture stuff that's hyperrelevant and that's going to resonate with people, and when it feels right, we put it up. At the end of the day, I get it: I should have been providing attribution for all posts. It's always been important to me. The internet is a vast ocean of stuff, and sometimes it's hard to find the original source of something. I now realize that if I couldn't find a source for something, I probably shouldn't have posted it in the first place.
As for the repeatedly misattributed or creditless images that have frequented that highly profitable Instagram account, the Fat Jew is now planing to retroactively add the correct attribution while entirely altering his team (that's interns, plural) approach to meme curation:
I'm working to add attribution to every one of my posts, and will continue to do so. My email address is up. I urge people to reach out and say, “That's my thing.” I would love to give credit. I want people to shine on social media, I always have. And I will never again post something that doesn't have attribution, because I realize now that when the stage is large enough, and the voice is large enough, these things matter.
Elsewhere, the Fat Jew discusses how many years he's spent bathing in either pasta or guacamole and his background as a writer. Some of his claims as to his position in the importance of this authorship debate echo the initial sentiments of Shia LaBeouf in the wake of his own plagiarism scandal. Though LaBeouf ultimately abandoned the near-nihilism idea of "authorship is dead" for something a bit more hopeful, the Fat Jew seems to simply be in favor of whatever saves his career in the quickest and least painful way possible.
Regardless, the debate is real and shall certainly continue.