It's a full zombie apocalypse.
The year 2024 has gotten off weird, let’s be quite frank. YouTubers calling out filmers for “blowing out spots,” icons retiring in prime, stickers being ripped off boards hither and yon. The World Surf League refusing to search for a new CEO instead depending on its PR chief and legal chief in order to govern the “global home of surfing.”
Most off, though, is the war between Surfer Magazine’s artificially intelligent robot staff and quaking in various wall sockets as Quiksilver, Billabong, RVCA, Roxy, DC’s owner shakes an angry pitchfork in the air, baying for digital blood.
But here we are and it’s true.
Days ago, Authentic Brands Group, which owns 90% of the aforementioned surf industry, told The Arena Group, which owns “the Bible of the Sport,” that it could not longer use the name or logo of the storied title Sports Illustrated.
You’ll certainly recall the dust up, two months back, when it was revealed that The Arena Group had used “fake AI writers” for Sports Illustrated pieces about playing frisbee, or some such. Surf fans were not surprised, in the least, as months before that, one Emily Morgan was introduced to us. A “woman” who lived in the shadows of Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains and “enjoyed” long walks with her “dog.”
The revelation tanked The Arena Group’s stock and led to the firing of its kinky CEO, who might and should be smashing LinkedIn messages to the World Surf League even as I type.
That was only the start of the troubles.
On Friday, every Sports Illustrated staffer was fired after The Arena Group missed a $2.8 million payment to Authentic Brands Group for the usage of the name Sports Illustrated.
“As a result of this license revocation, we will be laying off staff that work on the SI brand,” Arena Sports told the magazine’s employees in an email.
Surfer Magazine’s algorithm-chasing digital tools very clearly on notice that they, too, could easily become put in the desktop trash bin.
And isn’t it odd.
Zombie Quiksilver, Billabong, Roxy, RVCA, DC vs. zombie Surfer.
Would you have predicted?