Calling Owen Benjamin a controversial figure is an understatement. He has built a career on being the villain in the story of a lot of people. The actor and comedian continues to court criticism and controversy at every turn, and he does not look like stopping soon. His comedic style is one that has been heavily reliant on political division and denigration. As a result, it has won him a lot of enemies. In a not so surprising twist, that same style has won him numerous fans as well.
Despite getting frequently negative press, Owen Benjamin has had a relatively successful career. His comedy and acting careers have both seen some varying amount of success. One of the most curious things about him is the mixed reactions he generates whenever his name is involved, or he has an event to promote.
Owen Benjamin Began His Comedy Career on a Promising Note
Owen Benjamin actively began doing comedy in 2006. He got his first start while still at college at Plattsburgh State College where he was involved with a student-run TV station. He had a promising career ahead of him and looked to be the next big thing to come from the comedy profession. Benjamin was initially christened Owen Smith by his parents John Kares Smith and Jean Troy-Smith (both professors at Oswego State University) but dropped the Smith for Benjamin when it was time to adopt a stage name.
He appeared on MTV’s Punk’d and performed with regularity at The Improv comedy club in Hollywood. His stand-up comedy circuit covered many venues across the country and kept him pretty busy.
He also displayed his musical-comedy talents when he appeared twice on The Jay Leno Show and performed parody jingles for local businesses. It really did seem like the world was at his feet.
He was booking numerous tours across college campuses and had a major Hollywood talent agency representing him. He also appeared on a few shows hosted by The Daily Wire and was a popular personality on PragerU. The latter is a nonprofit that distributes videos about conservative principles and ideas. How then did it all go wrong for him?
His ‘Unique’ Comedy Style Eventually Came Back to Bite Him
Owen Benjamin is not a conventional comedian. His comedy is intentionally offensive and involves frequent use of various slurs. Benjamin himself described his comedy as ‘criticism of political correctness and liberalism.’ As a result, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding his comedic style and utterances.
Initially, his performances received mixed reactions, but recently, they have been mostly negative. One of his signature bits during his sets involve him singing a song containing a racial slur. The performance of that song, ‘That N-word stole my bike,’ eventually led to the drop in his status and the reinvention of Owen Benjamin.
In November 2017, the University of Connecticut canceled one of his scheduled comedy shows after finding out he called someone a child abuser for raising a non-gender conforming child. He began losing shows and gigs, and his agent, CAA, eventually dropped him as a client.
An event at his hometown that became publicized catalyzed his fall. During his live performance at the Harrietstown Town Hall in his hometown of Saranac Lake, he sang his signature racial song. But like the first time, it did not sit well with the audience.
There was a severe blowback after the show in reaction to his performance of the song. The majority of his hometown residents ostracized him, the Catholic Church rejected his charitable donation, and even his son’s nanny quit. The town supervisor also issued a statement apologizing for letting him perform in the town hall. Large parts of the conservative movement also ostracized him.
The Negative Reception Led to His Evolution as an Alt-Right Commentator
His performance at the town hall and subsequent reactions proved to be the beginning of the end for Benjamin’s mainstream success. He struggled to organize shows as venues would pull out at the last minute and cancel the show. His YouTube channel, a major source of income, was demonetized by YouTube. The video-sharing platform also withdrew his live streaming ability.
In late March 2018, the New Hazlett Theatre canceled his scheduled event in Pittsburgh after more details about his personality and comedy style came to light. In response to the unending backlash and his ostracization, he began veering from conservative comedian with a controversial style to more alt-right beliefs and orientation around winter of 2018.
As he faced increasing negative reactions and backlash to his career, he responded with even more extreme actions. To observers, the belief was that he was doing this to keep attention on himself and grow a new fan base. He expressed anti-Semitic views and showed support for Adolf Hitler.
Some of the beliefs expressed by Benjamin include HIV being a hoax, and the moon landing did not occur. He also claimed zero gas chambers usage during the holocaust, and that Jews are running the whole media industry in the United States.
Owen Benjamin is Banned from A Lot of Social Media Platforms
Due to his often controversial and divisive statements, Owen Benjamin has found himself banned from numerous social media platforms. Twitter permanently banned him from the platform in March 2018. The decision came after he spoke about the genitals of Parkland shooting survivor, David Hogg. Benjamin also questioned his physical maturity and ability to tell others what to do concerning gun ownership.
On December 3, 2019, Benjamin’s YouTube channel was banned as a result of it violating YouTube’s terms of service. The channel had previously been demonetized before this permanent ban came into effect. Just ten days later, Facebook and Instagram banned followed suit after multiple policy violations. He is also banned from PayPal and Patreon.
He Was Once the Lead Actor in a Romantic-Comedy
It is easy for people to get lost in Owen Benjamin’s career as a comedian and the numerous drama surrounding him perpetually. It is worth noting, though, that during his pinnacle, he managed to build a small filmography as an actor. In 2008, Owen Benjamin had a supporting role in the movie The House Bunny.
He bagged his first lead role in the romantic comedy, All’s Faire in Love, opposite Christina Ricci just a year later in 2009. Then in 2010, he was on Comedy Central’s Comedy Central Presents. He also spent three seasons on TBS’s original comedy sitcom Sullivan & Son, from 2012 to 2014.
He also appeared on various web-only video series such as Sony Pictures Television’s C-SPOT, Gaytown, Chance Stevens on CBS Interactive’s Heckle U, and his series, Owen Benjamin Presents. He hosted the annual ADG Excellence in Production Design Awards for three years from 2014 -2016. He also hosted Esquire Network’s The Next Great Burger in 2015 and was a correspondent on OWN Network’s It’s Not You It’s Men in 2016.
Owen Benjamin Nearly Got Married to His All’s Faire in Love Co-Star
After they met on the set of All’s Faire in Love, Owen Benjamin and Christina Ricci began a romantic relationship. In March 2009, they announced their engagement and planned to get married. Two months later, though, Christina Ricci called off the engagement, and the couple separated. Details about the cause of the break up remain undisclosed.
Owen Benjamin did eventually get married, though. The identity of his significant other is not well known. He has also fathered two sons during his marriage with the second son arriving in 2017.