h3h3Productions (2013– )
Ethan Edward Klein (born June 24, 1985) and Hila Klein (née Hacmon, Hebrew: הילה חכמון; born December 12, 1987) are an American-Israeli husband and wife duo best known for their YouTube channel h3h3Productions. The majority of content on their main channel comprises reaction videos and sketch comedy in which they satirize internet culture. The pair also run a separate podcast channel.
Ethan Edward Klein was born on June 24, 1985 in Ventura, California, to an Ashkenazi Jewish family. His parents are Gary and Donna Klein, and he attended Buena High School. Ethan studied at the University of California, Santa Cruz from 2004 to 2009, and he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature. His paternal grandfather was Leonard Katzman, the showrunner of the soap opera Dallas. He worked as a marketing executive in Israel.
Hila Klein (née Hacmon, Hebrew: הילה חכמון) was born on December 12, 1987 in Holon, Israel, to a Sephardic Jewish family. Her father is of Libyan-Jewish descent, whereas mother is of Turkish-Jewish descent. Hila served as a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces for two years. During her military service, she met Ethan Klein in 2007 while he was visiting the Holocaust Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem at the time on his Birthright Israel trip. She then attended the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Israel, but did not complete her studies. Hila became a naturalized U.S. citizen in September 2019.
After several years together, the couple married on October 12, 2012. During the early years of the channel, the couple lived together in Israel, in the Florentin neighborhood of Tel Aviv. In April 2015, the Kleins moved to the United States, first living in Los Angeles then moving to New York City in September 2015 and later back to Los Angeles in August 2016. They are secular Jews. They have one son together, Theodore Yochanan (Hebrew: דור יוחנן), which they named due to the fact that Hila wanted him to have a name that worked in Hebrew as well as English, in order for her family to be able to easily pronounce it.
The Kleins registered the h3h3Productions YouTube channel on April 29, 2011. The primary format of videos uploaded to the channel involves the Kleins providing critique and commentary in reaction videos, consisting of clips of a source video intermixed with commentary and absurd sketches, a style which has been described as a cross between the works of comedy duo Tim & Eric and the television series Mystery Science Theater 3000.
The channel has gained a reputation for critiquing internet trends and a range of online personalities, as well as several YouTube policies. On July 15, 2016, after winning a Hot 97 contest, Ethan met DJ Khaled and showed him a series of comedy videos. The pair have responded to several online controversies, many of which concern badly received prank videos posted to the site. The Kleins leased a short documentary on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive gambling, which involves trading skins for real-world currency. The channel criticized several YouTubers for attempting to attract young viewers to their gambling websites.
The H3 Podcast channel was registered by the Kleins on April 8, 2017, on which they upload recordings of their tri-weekly podcast.
Fair use lawsuit
In April 2016, Matt Hosseinzadeh, an American YouTuber who goes by "MattHossZone" and "Bold Guy", filed a civil action against the Kleins for copyright infringement. h3h3Productions made a reaction video to Hosseinzadeh's video "Bold Guy vs. Parkour Girl". Hosseinzadeh claims that he initially contacted the Kleins "to politely ask them to remove my content from their video", but that they refused. Hosseinzadeh's lawyer, Tim Bukher, claims that the video used more than 70% of his work "while contributing nothing substantive to it."
After a video on this was released by h3h3Productions the following month, fellow YouTube personality Philip DeFranco started a fundraiser on GoFundMe to help raise money for their legal fees, citing the need to protect fair use on YouTube. The fundraiser raised almost $170,000, receiving large donations from notable individuals including Fine Brothers, Markus "Notch" Persson, PewDiePie, Markiplier, Jacksepticeye, Justin Roiland, and Garry Newman. On May 26, 2016, Ethan and Hila announced that the funds raised will go into an escrow account called the "Fair Use Protection Account" (FUPA), overseen by Morrison & Lee LLP to be used to help people defend fair use. On June 27, 2016, Lee announced on Twitter that he had filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
Court filings from November 2016 state that Ethan and Hila Klein had new attorneys and were no longer represented by Morrison & Lee LLP. Later claims by both Ethan and Hila that the switch was due to among other reasons, "things not working out". They also discussed that the alleged fees charged by the new firm were US$54,146.57 for one month of work. There is currently no evidence that Morrison & Lee LLP had ever controlled the funds raised by H3h3Productions, and Morrison & Lee LLP has not confirmed the allegation. On March 17, 2017, the trial set for April 17, 2017 was adjourned in anticipation of ruling on summary judgment motions.
The Kleins won the lawsuit; U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest ruled that the Kleins' commentary video constituted "fair use as a matter of law", describing it as "quintessential comment and criticism." The case is the first of its kind to receive a judgment, and while not binding across the United States, provides a significant and persuasive argument to be cited in future cases relating to fair use on YouTube.
Allegations against The Wall Street Journal
H3h3Productions, alongside several other channels, supported YouTube personality PewDiePie amid a 2017 controversy over Nazi jokes in one of his videos from January. On February 14, The Wall Street Journal ran a story about PewDiePie's previous references to Adolf Hitler, which brought nine other videos into the debate and elicited frequent discussions on whether they were taken out of context. When YouTube subsequently released tools to allow advertisers to avoid offensive videos, Ethan Klein claimed that the tools were overly broad and negatively affected unrelated content, including his own channel.
One of the authors of the Wall Street Journal piece, Jack Nicas, wrote another article on March 24, claiming that YouTube did not do a good enough job of keeping major advertisements away from racist content. Klein accused the report of being written selectively to maximize outrage. Specifically, the article showed a Coca-Cola ad playing on a video of the country song "Alabama Nigger" by American white supremacist Johnny Rebel. Upon seeing that the video was not contributing to the uploader's income, Klein alleged that Nicas had used an altered screenshot and asserted this in a video. Hours later, he was informed that the video was indeed monetized, but through a copyright claim rather than an explicit choice of the user. Klein withdrew his accusation in response and The Wall Street Journal released a statement that it stood by the authenticity of the screenshots.
Ethan Klein has the highest rating on wikifeet, a popular website where users can rate celebrities feet. He has held the number one spot since march of 2020 after the post of the "OJ Simpson Blocked Ethan After Getting Burned On Twitter - H3 Podcast #181".
From September 5 to 12, 2017, Ethan and Hila, along with Justin Roiland, Alex Hirsch, Dana Terrace and YouTube prankster Joey Salads, raised over US $200,000 in donations to Direct Relief for relief efforts in Houston, Texas, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Ethan and Hila also appear in a character pack for Payday 2 titled "h3h3 Character Pack". Although originally appearing as an April Fools joke, the character pack was later confirmed for an actual release. The profits from the pack sales are donated directly to the Kleins, helping them with their legal fees.
In 2017, Hila Klein founded her own clothing company named Teddy Fresh.
In May 2020, Ethan was dropped as a sponsor for Old Spice because of resurfaced footage of Ethan saying derogatory slurs in a 2017 interview.
In September 2020, the Frenemies podcast with Trisha Paytas debuted.