One of the longest tenured content creators on YouTube, Anthony Padilla is leaving popular comedy channel Smosh after more than 11 years.
A native of the Sacramento region, Padilla co-founded the sketch comedy channel with childhood friend Ian Hecox in 2005. Both grew up in Carmichael.
Padilla announced his departure Wednesday on his Twitter page.
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In a video on his own channel, Padilla said he had been contemplating the decision for a long time.
“I had to come to terms with the fact that Smosh being part of a company has put all of my creative decisions through a filter of what’s appropriate for the Smosh brand as deemed by the company,” he says in the video. The Smosh brand is owned by Defy Media.
As of June, Smosh has more than 22 million subscribers and over 6.5 billion video views on YouTube. The main channel has been in the top 10 subscriber counts on the site for most of its existence.
Hecox and the official Smosh account confirmed the news on Twitter.
Padilla and Hecox made a video announcement explaining the news.
“I just need to do what’s best for me, and that right now for me is to focus on creating stuff as an independent creator on my own channel,” Padilla says in the video.
In an interview with Variety, Padilla said he wants to open up more about his personal life in his videos, and is also interested in breaking into the TV business.
Smosh fans and casual YouTube viewers alike had strong reactions to the news on social media.