Former MuchMusic personality Ed The Sock, otherwise known as Steven Kerzner, is waging a war against his former TV home and execs are none too happy about it. Kerzner tells ET Canada he’s been surprised by the negative corporate reaction.
On Tuesday, Ed The Sock posted a video entitled “Who Murdered MuchMusic” on his YouTube channel, documenting what he refers to as the downfall and demise of the Canadian music channel. In it, he points the finger at the behind-the-scenes management that ended the Canadian pop culture institution and illustrates the need for a free media network, his newly-created funetwork.tv.
The channel, since re-branded as Much, is owned by Bell Media, who issued a takedown notice to Kerzner, removing the video from YouTube on the grounds of copyright infringement stemming from the use of their now-defunct logo. Ed’s ability to live-stream his weekly comedy show has also suspended from live-streaming for the next 90 days on his new online channel, funetwork.tv.
Kerzner spoke with ET Canada, explaining his reasons for posting the video.
“The idea behind posting the video ‘Who Murdered MuchMusic’ is to establish the reason behind why we’re launching FUN, the F-U Network, first to point out the things that we lost,” he says during a sit-down interview with ET Canada. “We had to show what MuchMusic used to be to remind people what it meant to them and touch them in those places so that, ‘Oh yeah, I miss that and I’d like to see it come back again’.”
Though removed from YouTube, the nostalgia-heavy video can still be viewed via his Facebook page.
The video describes MuchMusic as the original “arbiter of cool” and Canadian culture “influencer” fronted by hosts including ET Canada’s own Rick “The Temp” Campanelli, George Stroumboulopoulos, Steve Anthony, Sook-Yin Lee and more.
Now, Kerzen’s video claims, original production has been mostly shuttered at Much, the studio space taken over by daily chat show “The Social” and the channel’s line-up includes re-runs of “The Simpsons”.
Kerzner says he wasn’t expecting the resistance from Bell Media.
“I wasn’t sure there’d be pushback,” he says, explaining, “back when there was MuchMusic and there was other channels and it wasn’t so corporate… I’m open to working it out. I’m not here to make them look bad. I’m here to point out this is what we miss, they’re not doing it anymore, we’re going to do it and bring it into the 21st century.”
“I thought maybe the person or two that I’m citing in the video that are responsible for what happened, they might be upset, but, did I think that MuchMusic or that Bell would be upset? No…well, maybe. But they abandoned MuchMusic years ago – they just go by Much now – and they’ve abandoned that entire brand. They don’t want to do it anymore. Why they’d be upset that somebody’s taking something they’re interested in and reviving it…I didn’t think that they’d be that upset.”
“We thought what we were doing was fair use,” he says of the MuchMusic references in his YouTube video. Luckily for Kerzner, he is able to go live on Facebook until the YouTube copyright infringement dispute is resolved.
“I’m not here to make them angry. I’m not here to compete with them. I’m doing something altogether differently,” he adds.
While Kerzner claims execs blamed the Internet and rise of popularity of YouTube for the channel’s inevitable demise, he says that Canadians never tuned in for just the videos, they watched MuchMusic for the social commentary and original programming.
The “Who Murdered MuchMusic” video also serves as a Launchpad for Kerzner’s new online media network, funetwork.tv. In the video he touts the network as a news, current events, social issues, tech and gaming, comedy and music, which he promises to be delivered with “honesty and diversity” by and for Canadians, drawing from classic MuchMusic elements.
After YouTube removed his video, the Canadian foul-mouthed sock puppet icon took to Twitter to document his battle against Bell Media, calling the corporation out for “bullying”.
A rep for Bell Media tells ET Canada they have been in touch with Kerzner and are “working together on a resolution”.