The first time I heard about "The Fat Jewish" aka Josh Ostrovsky it was a random @ mention from my BFF via the 'gram.
The mention was most likely under a typical meme on the now popular Instagram account "The Fat Jewish." Most of these memes consist of some appropriated slang in bold font, accompanied by a ridiculous photo, to create some chuckle inducing spam.
Whether it was a stolen tweet that had been transcribed to text or a picture off of Imgur that already came with a caption someone else had created, this type of aggregated content is the bread and butter of the @TheFatJewish page.
The problem with the account whose Instagram bio describes itself as the "United States Creative Director of the Internet," is that a large percentage of this creativity is not the creation of Ostrovsky nor is it attributed to the original author.
It was all fun and games until @thefatjewish started making a ton of money as a result of profiting from his thievery of jokes.
Several days ago Ostrovsky announced he had been signed to the Creative Artists Agency referred to as CAA. This agency has represented such talents such as Will Ferrell and Mellissa McCarthy. A week prior to that news, he was signed as a male plus sized model to "One Modeling Agency" which is home to Bar Rafeali, Iman and Karolina Kurkova.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, he also has a book due in October from Grand Central Publishing, and will debut a show on Comedy Central, alongside already having launched his own brand of wine.
In an interview in August 2014, @thefatjewish told Billboard Magazine that a paid endorsement on his Instagram page could garnish him as much as $2500.00 from companies who wanted to appeal to his built in audience, which at the time, was just over half a million.
However, a July 2015 interview for the Financial Times revealed he could boast a charge of $6000.00 (if not more) for partnerships with prestigious brands such as Burger King, Stella Artois, Bud Light, and Virgin Mobile which he has been able to secure due to his status as a "brand influencer" whose followers have increased to 5.2 million followers.
Although these revelations aren't new to many who are active on Reddit and 4Chan, Ostrovsky's latest achievements seem to be the catalyst behind the renewed interest in his unethical practices and career aggregation.
He steals jokes from anyone ranging from aspiring comedians on social media to regular everyday Twitter users -- some of whom have also voiced complaints online about the poaching of their posts.
One writer Maura Quint took to Facebook to denounce the practices of the plagiaristic comic.
In a post that was originally posted to Facebook and has now been re-tweeted over 3,000 times, Quint explains her frustration with the integrity of "The Fat Jewish" and has encouraged many to unfollow him.
She writes, "The Fat Jew is someone whose entire career is simply stealing jokes from tumblr, twitter, etc. He is making a living off of the hard work of other people."
She goes on to explain, "They would love to be able to profit from THEIR OWN WORK but can't because this complete waste of person is monetizing their words before they even have a chance to."
Another comedian, who according to his Twitter bio is a Senior Creative at Buzzfeed and StandUp comedian Ben Rosen was another unsuspecting victim of plagiarism as recently as August 13th 2015. Buzzfeed has also been known for their practices of aggregation, however their site always includes a credit to the original creator of the content.
Rosen also took to Facebook to voice his frustrations. The photograph was of a dog and his owner. In the usual fashion Ostrovsky cropped out Rosen's name and posted the identical picture and caption without any changes to the joke or credit to Rosen on his Instagram page.
Rosen's post begins, " What's amazing to me is people still revere this guy knowing what he does. Not only is he NOT viewed as a villain, he's considered an internet hero."
Rosen later elaborates by explaining why exactly this breech of artist integrity is important.
"I've worked my ass off over the last 5 years to build a comedic voice both on the stage and on the internet....Not because it's a hobby, because it's what we want to do professionally."
None of this would be as infuriating if "The Fat Jewish" was sincerely apologetic but it would appear by his unaltered behavior he has very little remorse. In the past he has feigned repentance going as far as promising to donate to one of his victims or just flat out blamed it on an intern.
Ben Rosen like many of Ostrovsky's victims has wondered why The Fat Jewish "has not been banned yet." Others like Davon Magwood, have written open letters to the Fat Jewish in order to express their reactions and additionally request to be given credit or monetary compensation for their stolen work.
Another group from the comedy community who frown on this behavior all together since they created an account to avenge the comics that have been wronged by Ostrovsky's funny business.
The @fitjew was created by comedians Brett Druck and Nat Baimel. This Twitter account is dedicated to re-posting the exact same content as the @fatjew only these comedians plan to attribute all of the original contributors.
According to tweets between @fitjew and Maura Quint there is already a comprehensive list of over 200 people and growing that the @fatjew has stolen his content from.
Ostrovsky could not be reached for comment; however in the same Financial Times interview the joke thief added a little perspective into his method behind the madness.
"I want as many people as possible to know that I'm very fucking funny," he said, "but why would I fly around the world to do a stand-up show to hundreds, maybe thousands of people when I can reach far bigger numbers through my Instagram?"