Casey Neistat has generated his fair share of controversy in the past few months. From challenging fellow YouTubers to endorse Hillary Clinton to abruptly ending his long-running vlog, the mega-popular creator has drawn both support and criticism for things only tangentially related to the main subjects of his hip lifestyle videos.
So when news broke earlier this week that Neistat would be selling his company, Beme, to CNN, fans were understandably curious about his motivations for doing so. He addressed those concerns in a video uploaded a few days later. Here’s the original video from his YouTube channel:
Check out Casey’s video or our video with host Alex Farnham, above, to learn the complete list of reasons. The reason that’s generating the most controversy, though, is definitely reason number four: money. Plenty of commenters — including most of the ones on our YouTube video on the subject — are calling Casey a “sellout” or claiming he’s “about the money.”
What those commenters don’t take into consideration, though, is that when someone builds a company, they’re not just worried about getting themselves paid — there are other people who depend on them. Beme has a staff, and they need to get paid. It’s easy to play armchair quarterback and claim that if you were in control, you’d handle things differently: maybe you have personal qualms with CNN, or maybe you think selling the company at all is a betrayal of independent values.
But until you find yourself in Neistat’s position, YouTube commenters, calling him a sellout is too far. We’re not saying Neistat should be immune from criticism — we’ve criticized his actions on this site before — but business is complicated, decisions like this are difficult, and, unless you’re Casey Neistat, you don’t know what kind of pressures he faced.
What do you think? Is Neistat a sellout, or does he have the right to sell a company he co-founded? Let us know in the comments below or @WhatsTrending on Twitter.