Ethan Klein spoke out about the end of the Frenemies podcast that he co-hosted with YouTuber Trisha Paytas, who announced their departure on Tuesday.
Klein, who also hosts H3 Podcast and H3 After Dark with his wife Hila, expressed frustration that Paytas had taken their dispute to a public platform. During the most recent H3 Podcast on Wednesday, Klein said the video Paytas posted to their personal YouTube account announcing their leave was “so unnecessary.” Klein had deleted several tweets about the show’s ending on Tuesday, instead tweeting that he “shouldnt have said that on twitter.”
Erased most of my recent tweets regarding trisha – shouldnt have said that on twitter – im going to take a step back for evening
— Ethan Klein (@h3h3productions) June 9, 2021
“As a friend, I have come to love and appreciate Trisha…Creating Frenemies with her is going to be one of the all time highlights for me,” Klein said. “I want to say that everything I say now is under the lens of appreciation and love for Trisha and not at all trying to burn a bridge, but more just trying to defend myself or set the record straight in some ways. With Trisha, she puts me in these tough situations where I’m losing no matter what.”
Paytas, who is non-binary and lists both they/them and she/her pronouns in their Instagram and TikTok bio, has said that stepping down from the podcast was not about money, but creative control.
In an on-air argument between the co-hosts during the most recent and final Frenemies episode on Monday, Paytas said they “didn’t get input” on hiring production crew and questioned Klein’s purchase of a studio in Downtown Los Angeles. Klein countered that Paytas received a “generous” cut of the show’s profits — 45 percent, since five percent was allocated to production costs — and that they signed on as the show’s talent, not its producer.
Frenemies, H3 Podcast, and H3 After Dark are all recorded and produced in the same studio, with the same production crew.
Paytas and Klein became unlikely friends after publicly feuding in 2019; Klein later invited Paytas as a guest on his podcast, and after hashing out their feud, launched the joint podcast Frenemies in September 2020. Viewership skyrocketed when Paytas opened up about the abuse they faced when they were part of the Vlog Squad, a creator collective led by David Dobrik. Dobrik and members of the Vlog Squad allegedly , and filmed incidents for their vlogs. Frenemies also discussed the assault allegations against James Charles, garnering more subscribers.
In the recent H3 Podcast episode, Klein acknowledged Paytas’ mental health issues, which they have been open about throughout their stint as a controversial YouTuber. Their mental health, Klein said, was not an excuse to mistreat the H3 production crew.
“They were always willing to do their job, period. They have done nothing wrong,” Klein continued.
Klein added that Paytas wanted to hire a completely new production crew, which Klein was opposed to because he wanted to keep his current employees, and said Paytas’ public dispute encouraged their fans to harass his crew and their significant others. Klein said most of his employees had to private their Instagram accounts and other social media presences, but took responsibility for misunderstanding the crew’s discomfort after Trisha said they wanted to “fire them all.”
Although Paytas asserted in their video that the dispute was not over money, but over the impression that they were “50-50 building the show” together, Klein told H3 Podcast listeners that they questioned the five percent cut allocated toward business costs. Klein alleged that Paytas demanded to see a breakdown of that 5 percent cut to see exactly where it was spent, which Klein claimed was impossible. The costs included equipment, the lease on the studio, paying crew, and editing the podcast to be uploaded after it aired.
“The 5 percent is the family rate. It may not even be covering our costs.”
“The five percent is already spent on everything I just said,” Klein said. “There is no production company in the world that would do that for five percent…The five percent is the family rate. It may not even be covering our costs.”
Klein was also frustrated over the Frenemies merchandise order he had just placed, which isn’t due to ship until July. He said that Hila, who owns a clothing brand, designed the merchandise and used her company’s resources for free to manufacture roughly 4,000 hoodies. Klein added that H3 paid for the costs upfront with no investment from Paytas, but noted that Paytas would still receive 50 percent of the profits.
During the 45-minute rant, Klein addressed the antisemitic remark Paytas made during one of their pay disputes, which Paytas revealed when their posted screenshots of the conversation. Paytas used the word “Jewy” during a conversation about splitting Frenemies revenue, referring to the harmful stereotype that Jewish people are greedy. Klein, who is Jewish, said he couldn’t call her out on her problematic language without worrying that she’d walk from the show.
“She posted a screenshot of herself calling me ‘Jewy,’ for wanting five percent to cover the massiveness of this production,” Klein said. “She can say whatever she wants about my being Jewish, she can make all the stereotypes…The minute I say anything to her, show’s canceled. It’s just not an equitable relationship.”
Klein concluded the vent by saying he didn’t want to cut Paytas out of his life for good. (Paytas is engaged to Hila’s brother, Moses Hacmon.) He added that while the show was over, he was grateful for the experience of being part of something bigger.
“Don’t be sad it’s over, just be happy it happened. That’s a thing, right?” Klein concluded. “I think Shakespeare said that.”
Paytas posted another video on Thursday afternoon addressing Klein’s claims.
“The video Ethan made yesterday, I thought was so awful on so many levels because in all my videos up to that I didn’t incite any hate to the crew, I didn’t incite any hate to Ethan,” Paytas said.
Paytas added that they repeatedly asked to end the show during the last Frenemies episode instead of walking off, and it “didn’t sit right” that their frustration was being misinterpreted as wanting to fire the crew. They said that wanting to stop a heated conversation on air had nothing to do with their mental illness, and agreed that it shouldn’t have happened in public.
“I apologize to everyone once again for my outburst on the show. I really try to use tools I’ve learned like, de-escalate and disengage,” Paytas said. “And it wasn’t enough for a lot of people. And I’m sorry but…I’m very appreciative of the people who worked on the show.”