Quibi may have found a way to earn the public’s disdain that isn’t just its content. The “quick bites” streaming service, which boasts 45 5-10 minute TV show episodes and movie “chapters,” has famously not had the best rollout. For one, shows designed for people to watch on public transit between their fast-paced jobs and errands are moot when, say, the world is hit with a pandemic that brings everything to a halt. Then there’s the fact that, no matter how many high-profile stars the company recruits, audiences just aren’t interested in paying for short-form content (the app reportedly lost 90% of its users after their free trials expired). And it doesn’t help their reputation that now, according to one creator, Quibi is reaching out to influencers to ask for unpaid work. 

Franchesca Ramsey is an experienced comedian and content creator, with over 300,000 combined subscribers on her YouTube channels and a resume that boasts both Comedy Central and MTV as employers. She has revealed on Twitter that Quibi reached out, via the agency Digital Media Management, with a request: one or two concepts for how she’d promote their show Dummy, delivered to them in the next 24 hours, for the possibility to be paid to execute said concept in the next week. 

“Yeah. Pass,” she wrote on Twitter, alongside screenshots of the email.

The email noted that Ramsey, who is Black, was on “the short list” of creators they were considering for the opportunity, so presumably other influencers received a similar request to do labor for the app without guaranteed pay. However, Ramsey returned an hour later with an even more damning update.

“[A]nother influencer just DM'd to let me know she was offered a flat fee up front (which was then doubled) for this same opportunity, 1 video with no request for unpaid pitches...interesting!” Ramsey wrote, adding, “and yes. she is”—seemingly confirming that the influencer is white. 

In subsequent Tweets, Ramsey gave advice for influencers looking for brand deals, including asking the brand for the budget instead of providing a rate up front, and having a manager or lawyer look over any contracts. Her advice for brands? Simple. Don’t ask for unpaid work—especially when you’re not asking white influencers for the same labor. 

Ramsey did not respond to a request for comment. Quibi referred me to Digital Media Management, who has not returned a request for comment.