Black creators face debt after app Triller promises to pay them millions

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Triller, a short-form video app similar to TikTok, offered hundreds of black content creators millions of dollars last fall that many say they didn’t receive, according to a report by the Washington Post revealed.

A total of $14 million has been pledged in contracts to as many as 300 people as part of “the largest ever one-time capital commitment to black creators,” Triller said in a November 2021 press release.

However, black creators are still struggling to get paid by the company nearly a year later.

A detailed Washington Post report found that many have received none of the promised money or are rarely paid, according to more than a dozen testimonies from black creators, managers and former Triller employees.

As TikTok’s growth skyrocketed from 2020 to 2021, Triller was looking to beat its competitor.

The app has launched content houses in Hollywood, treated itself to lavish dinners and cars for TikTok’s most followed, and even promised star content creators $10,000 for streaming on TrillerTV.

According to documents obtained by The Washington Post, the company specifically promised a number of black creators $4,000 a month, half of it in capital.

Now, black creators tell the Post they’ve been forced to follow Triller’s demanding schedule and vague requirements to receive what have become infrequent payouts.

Many creators who signed Triller contracts said the app left them facing debt, evictions and skipping meals to get by.

“We were made to look like fools” David Warrenwho has more than 500,000 followers on TikTok, told the Post.

After Triller started making headlines last month for its allegedly inconsistent payments, a number of black creators said they started receiving back payments.

However, payments were contingent on signing a confidentiality agreement, the creators said.

Triller CEO Mahi De Silva disputed claims that the company “has met its financial commitments to the creators of this program and will continue to do so”.

“We are especially proud of our role in creating a platform that celebrates content from black creators,” De Silva said. “No other medium has done as much as Triller for this often overlooked and underrepresented part of the creator economy.”

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