YouTube Star Claims The Collective Withheld Money From 'Annoying Orange' Show (Exclusive)

Annoying Orange Art Horizontal - H 2011

Annoying Orange Art Horizontal - H 2011

It's no secret that YouTube stars have gotten so successful, they are being courted by Hollywood managers, agents and producers. With burgeoning popularity comes business headaches, like that of One Management's digital distribution division, which allegedly has hit such hard times that it has refused to turn over revenue.

The ramifications, according to court papers filed on Tuesday by Dane Boedigheimer (aka "Daneboe"), is the possible end to The Annoying Orange, which attracted such a large following that it was picked up by Cartoon Network.

At the center of the lawsuit is the Collective Digital Studio, an offshoot of The Collective, which once boasted clients like John Leguizamo, Emile Hirsch and Eliza Dushku. After some partners left The Collective, the firm focused on its music management business with clients like Linkin Park, Slash and Toni Braxton. But then another transformation would happen as the firm, run by Michael Green, began to focus on the digital-video business.

Boedigheimer was one of the biggest stars at Collective Digital Studio, reportedly backed by German broadcasting giant ProSiebenSat.1

The Annoying Orange had over four million subscribers on YouTube — one of the most subscribed and most watched YouTube channels of all time — and entertained audiences with an animated orange who knows what's juicy.

"Most episodes consist of Orange heckling the other characters until they meet a sudden and gruesome end, usually by evisceration with a chef’s knife or blender or other implement," explains the lawsuit. "Ironically, it is now The Annoying Orange itself that is in imminent danger of meeting a sudden end since Collective Digital Studio's conduct threatens to permanently eviscerate The Annoying Orange."

A petition to compel arbitration, filed on Boedigheimer's behalf by Marty Singer, puts the blame on those who agreed to support the YouTube star.

"If you want to go into business with a company that will not live up to its contractual obligations, you should make a deal with Michael Green and Collective Digital Studio," states the lawsuit. "For months, The Collective has refused to pay Boedigheimer and his production company, Annoying Orange, Inc., any revenue generated from the exploitation of The Annoying Orange and other content and has kept all of the revenues for itself."

According to the lawsuit, The Collective "may be going out of business and does not have the financial ability to pay Boedigheimer the money he is owed."

Boedigheimer says he filed a demand for arbitration in late November, but that Collective Digital Studio is now stalling, refusing to arbitrate the dispute. So he's looking to a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to immediately order the firm to arbitration "before it becomes completely insolvent and unable to satisfy any arbitration award."

Twitter: @eriqgardner