Something Awful, a Cornerstone of Internet Culture, Is Under New Ownership

One of the oldest and most storied internet websites has changed hands.
October 13, 2020, 3:53pm
Something Awful

Something Awful, a long-running website that had a key role in defining much of internet culture and humor, has been sold by its long time owner Rich “Lowtax” Kyanka. 

“Lowtax has signed the paperwork—it is done. Something Awful LLC assets now belong to me,” Something Awful user Jeffrey of YOSPOS—a fifteen year member of Something Awful—said in an announcement on the site’s forums. “I know this has taken a long time, but it's been a long time coming before that." 

Kyanka declined to comment but confirmed to Motherboard that he sold Something Awful. Jeffrey of YOSPOS declined to comment.

Negotiations for the sale of Something Awful had been going on since July when large parts of the community turned against Kyanka following an alleged incident of domestic violence, which Kyanka denied. On June 22, 2020, police responded to a 911 call at Kyanka's home for an alleged incident of domestic violence involving Kyanka’s live-in girlfriend. “Due to conflicting statements and a lack of witnesses, no arrest was made,” the police report about the incident said. This isn't the first time Kyanka has been accused of domestic abuse. According to police reports, Kyanka’s second wife accused him of domestic assault on February 7, 2020. Motherboard has been unable to independently verify the specifics of these events, but news of them made it to the Something Awful forums, and have been a major topic of conversation among posters there for months. Update 10/30/20: On October 27, after this article was published, Kyanka pleaded guilty to a charge of disturbing the peace and and paid a $164.50 fine. The assault charge was dropped.

The Something Awful community was upset with Lowtax and his handling of the site before these allegations. Kyanka shut down the infamous FYAD forum—a haven for gross pictures and shitposters—in January. He reopened in at the end of June after members of the site turned against him. Something Awful users have also complained about general neglect of the site, the lack of upkeep of its backend, and difficulty using a site that, in 2020, looks much like it did in 1999.

“I just signed away the rights to Something Awful, goodbye and good riddance,” Lowtax posted on his Facebook page on October 9.

Kyanka registered the domain somethingawful.com in 1999. A precursor to 4chan, Reddit, and "weird Twitter," the Something Awful blog and forums were a place where users shared memes and made fun of each other. Its particular mix of dark humor and absurdity has spread across the internet. The prolific and hilarious Twitter user dril got his start posting on Something Awful. Many inside internet jokes that still circulate online today, like the bizarrely arranged "Groverhaus," started as Something Awful posts.

“I hope you will all find me to be a responsible and conscientious steward, the likes of which this site has never seen,” Jeffrey of YOSPOS said in a post on the site. “I will certainly have more to say but I have a ton of poo poo to do immediately. Congratulations everyone—this is a good day for Something Awful."

Jeffrey of YOSPOS also said he has taken down the Something Awful store—where new users went to register accounts for the site. As of this writing, that site is down and no new accounts can be registered.