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By Molly Hankins and Jordan Mafi

Late last week, the internet had a field day with the now-infamous Sheck Wes troll video courtesy of Ridge Production, who put out a self-narrated version of the music video they shot for Sheck’s single “Gmail” and didn’t get paid for. We spoke with the company’s founder Pat Ridge, who explains at the top of the troll video that they received a cease-and-desist from Sheck’s legal team as well as DMs from Sheck himself in regards to an early version of the video Ridge uploaded after Sheck’s team completely ghosted them without payment. Pat says at the top of the above video, “If you would have just asked me nicely… I would have just taken the video down.” But instead the ravenous internet beast that is Reddit got ahold of it, mostly circulated by users who freelance and are thus familiar with the practice of clients refusing to pay contractors once the job is finished, claiming the finished product doesn’t meet their standards, and ultimately using it anyway.

We tracked down Pat Ridge himself to find out exactly what his thought process was leading up to such a unique form of revenge that every media-specific freelancer who’s ever been stiffed has surely dreamed of. “People are super interested in this topic, it’s kind of amazing,” he said in response to the attention the video has received. “I didn’t realize the impact it was gonna have. I just felt like it was the right thing to do even though it was kind of scary, and there’s probably a lot of other people that are being taken advantage of, from Instagram influencers to artists. I think that when you have a huge following, everybody is jumping to do things for you to get exposure. A lot of people don’t end up getting compensated, but in this particular situation we had agreed upon a very small, fair price — more than fair, really, we weren’t really making any money to begin with.” Pat explained he was excited to make the video and it’d be a good look for the company, but in his own words, Sheck “wasn’t pleasant.”

“He wasn’t nice,” he said. “He didn’t thank us. There was trash left at my house. I’m not mad at Sheck, really, but I think he has a lot to learn. He’s young and I think that he’s got a big head and I think that he’s sort of trying to have this kind of persona, and I don’t think he knows yet that it’s actually cool to be nice. The most gangster people I’ve ever known are the nicest people and they have manners,” he continued. “But when you’re faking it, you feel like you gotta be a hard-ass and a dick, and I think life experience teaches somebody that being nice is really what’s up.”

I asked if there was any hesitation to put out this video after the team got ghosted by Sheck: “Oh my god, yeah,” he said. “I mean, we’d been sitting on this for months. I guess he didn’t like the video so the label ghosted us, like, they just stopped responding to us.” Pat went on to say that he’s gotten exposure before, but never quite like this. To learn from this experience, I asked Pat if there’s any advice he’d like to give to someone else in the same situation of getting fucked over by an artist and their team: “If you don’t follow your heart — this might sound cheesy, but if you’re not true to yourself and you don’t do what you believe to be is right and sort of abandon all fear, then you’re gonna end up compromising yourself more and more and more, right? Eventually you’re just gonna be in a position where you’re like, ‘Fuck, I hate my life now.’ It’s not about the money — it’s about standing up and having the confidence to just go for it. Fuck it. I thought the video was dope and I was proud of it, and we never got paid.” We’re definitely stoked they decided to go for it. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch the video above and check out their latest update in a video they published this morning.

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