“Memory Hole,” a show on the new streaming service Quibi, has been accused of plagiarizing art and its title from art collective Everything is Terrible!
Everything is Terrible! cited the similarities in a tweet on Monday, the day of Quibi’s launch, and accused “Memory Hole” creator Scott Vrooman of ripping off one of the art collective's work.
Looks like @Quibi made a show that presents crazy found footage clips and called it MEMORY HOLE of all the things you could have called it… seriously?. It’s also deeply disappointing to see our logo from 10+ years ago completely ripped off as the look for the entire show. pic.twitter.com/fmduCXkb8M
— Everything Is Terrible! @E_I_T April 6, 2020
The art collective, founded in 2007, launched its own “Memory Hole” show in 2014, which compiles a variety of obscure VHS clips into mishmashes of psychedelic horror. Quibi's new show, hosted by comedian Will Arnett, has more of a light and inviting tone, but also primarily consists of remixed VHS footage.
Everything is Terrible! co-founder Dimitri Simakis told IndieWire that the logo allegedly plagiarized by the Quibi show was created by the art collective over a decade ago.
“This is a multi-billion dollar company, and what do we have,” Everything is Terrible! co-founder Dimitri Simakis said. “We have so little to fight back with.”
Vrooman referred to a Twitter statement by Shout! Factory, the company behind the Quibi show:
“Memory Hole” is an original show,” the company said on Twitter. “The name of the show was inspired by George Orwell's “1984,” and the graphics are based on generic retro ’80s arcade games. Anything that suggests otherwise is not true. We stand by our work.”
Vrooman declined to discuss the similarity between the show's graphics and the art of Everything is Terrible! A Quibi spokesperson did not return a request for comment.
Simakis noted that he first heard about Vrooman's show last year and considered it an unlikely coincidence that the project would boast a similar name and concept to the Everything is Terrible! show. He said that once he saw the Quibi show's logo, the similarities became impossible to ignore.
“A found footage clip show is not what we're upset about,” Simakis said. “It's the aesthetic, name, and format. It's impossible to not compare.”
Simakis added that he was interested in speaking to a litigator to resolve the situation.
Quibi's “Memory Hole” is one of dozens of series that launched on the new streaming service Monday. IndieWire praised the Arnett-hosted show as one of Quibi's standout projects.
At least 300,000 individuals downloaded Quibi, the entertainment industry's newest streaming service, on its Monday launch date according to data from two analytics firms.
Sensor Tower reported that more than 300,000 users downloaded the mobile-only, short form platform while App Annie estimated 700,000 users downloaded Quibi on Monday. The numbers were originally reported by Variety and the Los Angeles Times, respectively. IndieWire confirmed the data with both analytics firms.
The sharply varying numbers make it difficult to determine how much traction Quibi gained on its launch day and exemplifies the difficulty of determining how successful streaming services are. While Nielsen's ratings have long been the voice of authority for television viewership, there is no standard of measurement for the industry's numerous streaming services.
A Quibi spokesperson referred IndieWire to the Los Angeles Times report and did not release its own data on downloads.
“We are very excited about our day one performance,” Quibi said in a statement.
While it's unclear which data set is accurate, that at least 300,000 users downloaded the “quick bites” streaming service suggest that Quibi turned more than a few heads on Monday. The platform launched with dozens of original titles — Quibi offers no library content — and boasts significant star power. A wide variety of household names, from Cardi B and Chance the Rapper to Idris Elba, Will Forte, and Kaitlin Olson, star in various Quibi series, and entertainment industry heavyweights such as Steven Spielberg and Steven Soderbergh are working on upcoming projects for the platform.
While hundreds of thousands of users have downloaded the app, only time will tell if they stick around long enough to make the $1.75 billion-backed platform a success. Quibi is offering a lengthy 90-day free trial, which no doubt helped court early adopters, and a yearlong subscription is available for free to select T-Mobile customers. An ad-supported version of Quibi costs $4.99 per month, while the ad-free version runs $7.99 per month.
IndieWire praised a handful of Quibi's launch titles, including LeBron James’ documentary “I Promise” and the noire-inspired “Movie in Chapters.” That said, “Memory Hole,” one of IndieWire's top rated Quibi launch titles, became the center of controversy when an art collective claimed the show plagiarized its art and other material.