NewMusicNation.ca, Ed the Sock, and why you should RUN, not walk away.
Hey there, friends and internet strangers.
At least a few dozen of us up here in Canada know who Ed the Sock is. For many of us, he was a staple of passive after-school TV watching in our youth, and for some people now, it’s been a bout of happy nostalgia when a D-list Canadian “celebrity” follows you on Twitter.
But, you know that saying about “don’t meet your heroes?”, right?
Speaking as someone who has personally known and briefly worked with Ed the Sock (a.k.a. Steven Kerzner) and his wife Liana… the abusive sock puppet character isn’t just a schtick.
No. The man behind the sock and the wife behind that man are far, far more abusive and acerbic than Ed has ever been or ever could be. And that includes his juvenile lashing out in ways like his racist and defamatory comments about Jagmeet Singh (you know it’s bad when even the Liberal party dissociates themselves from you, lol).
There’s a reason that networks like Bell and their upcoming MuchMusic re-launch on TikTok have no interest in working with the Kerzners anymore. And what that reason comes down to, at least off the record, is how HORRIFICALLY the Kerzners frequently treat other people. The Kerzners will sometimes claim they are being “censored” or “discriminated against” by BellMedia or other networks… but the simple truth is that they have been narcissistic assholes who take advantage of others’ kindness for too long, and people who have been on the receiving end are tired of dealing with their abusive, threatening, and harassing behaviour.
First off, the Kerzners and their company Kerzner MediaArts frequently exploit other artists. They seldom, if ever, pay their creative contributors for their work. When they do pay (i.e. often when they are forcibly held accountable) they still seldom, if ever, compensate other creatives fairly for their time and their work, despite having plenty of money in the bank for themselves.
Instead, the Kerzners will often ask for volunteers… while making you feel special that they’re giving you their attention. They are old hats at leveraging their now-waning “celebrity” status while wilfully manipulating your good nature and desire to be helpful and included. The way they groom young collaborators is just one of hundreds of red flags of their narcissistic behavior, fyi.
People who do work with them often don’t realize what is happening until it is too late, and then the Kerzners have turned on you too for some perceived slight, as they have done to so many before you.
One of the reasons that there’s not more easily-findable discussion of their abusive behavior online is that the Kerzners are enthusiastic SLAPP-ers. One of their favourite techniques when someone does pursue payment from them or tries to hold them accountable for their abusive behavior is to threaten a lawsuit, and/or phone the police with false narratives about how this other person has allegedly behaved criminally in some way. They know how to use the legal system to threaten and intimidate people into silence, and they have been doing so for years.
There is a Toronto actor who has spoken bluntly and openly about their abusive behavior… and in kind, the Kerzners have perpetuated a decade-long campaign of defamation against this person, so as to conceal their own abusive and predatory behaviours.
In Ed’s recent AMA on Reddit, someone brought up valid concerns about the Kerzners scamming people out of crowdfunding money and Ed/Steven’s unhinged response in the comment thread down below was to list a bunch of batshit crazy things that he claims one woman has done… while completely failing to EVER display even one piece of physical evidence to back up his unproven allegations of animal abuse, eviction, and court convictions for alleged “crimes”.
Then, Ed/Steven also mobilized his naive followers to downvote the people asking for transparency and accountability from him, both on his AMA and in similar posts made by others on Reddit.
And speaking of Reddit, another person who worked with the Kerzners detailed some of her own experiences at their hands, culminating in how their now-defunct ‘charity’ event for Epilepsy came to a close because the Kerzners ALSO had a falling-out with their epileptic nephew and his parents.
There’s more, too. Yet another person, going by Ed the Suck on Twitter took the time to compile significant evidence regarding the Kerzners not fulfilling past crowdfunding campaigns.
(Author’s note: This one is a little less journalistic, to say the least, so bear with the read.)
All in all though, Ed the Suck’s criticisms are fair. Especially considering that Ed/Steven ALSO ran a 2018 Indiegogo for “The FU Network” which was also supposed to be (in his own words):
“The FU_Network is an online network of brand-new programming and returning favourites in the spirit of old-skool Muchmusic. Honest, unpredictable relevant & irreverent curated online content featuring current affairs/politics/comedy/music/movies — all with the sly, subversive spontaneity of classic Much and Ed the Sock’s unique ability to say what we’re all thinking — better than we could say it. Your voice, out loud.
Which, uh… sounds a LOT like NewMusicNation, yes? Which he had ALREADY raised nearly 30K for, going by that Indiegogo alone…
But wait, there’s more! In the ONLY news article on his IMDB, ET Canada in a 2017 article talks about how Kerzner is “waging a war against his former TV home [Bell]”.
If you take the time to read that article, you’ll see that the Kerzners know EXACTLY what they are doing by trying to make themselves seem sympathetic and like they are being “bullied” (Steven Kerzner’s own words in the above article)… while they are actually the ones perpetuating the aggression and bad faith actions, and seeing how much they can get away with. It’s practically guaranteed that there were lawyers involved and some out of court settlements between Bell and Kerzner back in 2017/2018 regarding the content of that article.
Look. I get it. I was once dazzled and deceived by them too. And especially during the pandemic, for those of us trying to hang on to any small happy things (like our nostalgia for earlier and easier days), latching on to something like NewMusicNation seems harmless. But we need to take a concrete stand against abusers in the media space, and the time for the Kerzners’ reckoning is long overdue.
Going forward, as more and more public reckonings of past atrocities come to light, it’s important that we no longer give platforms or support to people like the Kerzners. The kind of people who wilfully, repeatedly cause harm to others. The kind of people who wilfully defame others to cover their own abusive actions. People who gladly, repeatedly exploit other artists for their own gain.
Don’t let yourself be fooled by their narcissistic charms any longer.
It’s time for Steven and Liana Kerzner to retire into quiet mediocrity, and finally face the consequences for how they have repeatedly harmed and exploited others.