November 27, 2017

HQ CEO throws a temper tantrum, learns about journalism

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The story Taylor Lorenz planned to write for the Daily Beast was about how HQ—the live trivia game that hundreds of thousands of people are playing every day from their smartphones (aren’t you?)—has become such a raging success. The story she ended up writing was about HQ CEO (and Vine co-creator) Rus Yusupov throwing a proper temper tantrum when he found out she’d interviewed the game’s host, Scott Rogowsky, without his permission. 

Not only did Yusupov threaten to fire Scott if the Daily Beast ran the piece (a “lighthearted profile on [Scott’s] career and how his life has changed post-HQ fame”), he also demanded that a reporter read him the story “word for word,” insisted Scott can’t say he likes Sweetgreen (“We do not have a brand deal with Sweetgreen!”), and “implored” the reporter to take out a line about people liking trivia (“He cannot say that people want trivia”).

The whole thing made Yusupov look like a lunatic, which he apparently realized once the piece ran. “At the end of the day, the Daily Beast got an even more exciting story about HQ Trivia than anticipated,” Becky Peterson wrote for Business Insider, “and Yusupov got a crash course in how to handle being on the receiving end of unflattering press.”

“Looking for a good PR agent,” Yusupov tweeted afterwards. And then:

Taylor Sperry is an editor at Melville House.

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