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From Free Speech Hero to Scandal Silencer: The Decline of Bill Richmond
How one of Dallas’s top lawyers went from free speech hero to hatchet man in Steven Crowder’s war on his wife and employees.
Today’s article comes as an op-ed via Kenneth Hawkes
2023 has been a rough year for Steven Crowder. In April, his cohost Dave Landau departed from the show, detailing Crowder’s alleged bullying and aggressive tactics relating to contracts and NDAs. Later that same month, news of his divorce broke, complete with video of Crowder berating his then-pregnant wife. Over the coming months, employees came forward with allegations of similar abusive behavior, including claims that Crowder exposed himself at work and sent pictures of his genitalia to staffers. Crowder responded by doubling down in his war against his ex-wife and employees, demanding full custody of the children and threatening to fire any staffers who maintain friendships with ex-employees. Crowder’s hatchet man in his war against his wife and employees is lawyer Bill Richmond, of Platt, Cheema, and Richmond, PLLC.
Today, Bill Richmond’s main role may be silencing scandals and doing Crowder’s dirty work, but it hasn’t always been that way. Richmond is a prominent lawyer in Texas, frequently ranked as one of Dallas’s best lawyers. In earlier years of Louder with Crowder, he often appeared on the show as a guest under the moniker “Half-Asian Lawyer Bill.” Richmond’s appearances increased over the years, as his affable, bombastic presence resonated with fans, and he became an almost weekly guest on the show in the months leading up to and following the 2020 election.
Richmond had ample charisma to banter with Crowder on-air but was all the while waging a serious war against leftist control of Big Tech. The lawyer earned the nickname “the Kraken” for his bulldog tactics in taking on social media companies over free speech violations. In 2019, Richmond detailed his various battles with ABC/Disney, YouTube, and Facebook on Crowder’s show. In 2021, Crowder and Richmond made national headlines for their lawsuits, first against Facebook and later against YouTube. If Crowder was a leader of the conservative coalition in the culture wars, Richmond was his five-star general. After 2021, however, Crowder’s lawsuits fizzled, and Richmond seemingly disappeared from the show. Fans began to ask questions. Whatever happened to Richmond’s war on Big Tech? Had all the cases been dropped? Why wasn’t Bill on the show anymore?
Then in 2023, the news broke: Crowder’s wife Hilary had filed for divorce–not recently, but two years ago, at the end of 2021. It quickly became apparent why Bill Richmond may have had his attention elsewhere as the attack dog in Crowder’s divorce trial. Crowder announced the divorce to his 5+ million subscribers via a YouTube video, saying he was only to blame insofar as he “picked wrong” in his choosing of a wife. He went on to condemn Texas’s allowance of no-fault divorce and accuse fellow conservative Candace Owens of extorting him. In response, Hilary’s family released a video to reporter Yashar Ali of Crowder berating his then-pregnant wife and a statement that Hilary had allegedly suffered Steven’s “mentally and emotionally abusive behavior” for years.
As a result, Bill Richmond and Platt, Cheema, and Richmond, PLLC are now in an all-out war against Crowder’s wife. As reported earlier, Crowder’s messy divorce hearing was filled with so many motions that the judge began the hearing by expressing her displeasure at the volume of them.
But what shocked many on the right was the sheer vindictiveness of the strategy of Crowder’s legal team: they were demanding full custody of the twins. Crowder has a long history of pushing family values and emphasizing that children need both a mother and father in the home. More recently, he’s especially emphasized the idea that fathers are largely useless during children’s early years, and mothers are much more capable of caring for little children. Crowder even went so far as to contrast his lack of ability to care for his children with his wife’s adeptness on Twitter. Given that his children are only two years old, it would seem his legal team’s strategy of removing the children from their mother is at odds with the conservative values Crowder preaches on air.
Another strange move by Richmond was to move to have the courtroom sealed. This came after Crowder himself posted on Twitter that he had “filed a motion to officially unseal all files as they relate to the matter of legal record.” Steven has long preached the values of truth coming to light, building his brand on free speech, as well as undercover videos exposing hypocrisy on both the right and the left. Given Crowder’s recent controversies, Bill Richmond, once a Kraken to be released upon the enemies of free speech, is now tasked with doing the menial work of covering up Steven’s lurid personal scandals.
In addition to his involvement in Steven’s divorce, it would appear Richmond has had a key role in drafting increasingly binding contracts for Crowder’s staff, contracts so oppressive they caused cohost Dave Landau to quit. On Michael Malice’s podcast, Landau outlined the contracts Crowder’s legal team had drafted, including clauses saying he wouldn’t be paid for the day if he was five minutes late to work and prohibiting him from traveling on the weekends, essentially barring him from touring as a stand-up comic. Crowder’s offer of such a contract to Landau is especially hypocritical given his recent dispute with Daily Wire, in which he railed against the $50M contract offered to him, calling it a “slave contract,” and demanding that conservatives dispense with binding contracts that restrict the freedom of content creators.
Landau revealed that when he had previously expressed wishes to leave the show, Crowder called him screaming at him, telling him, “I own you!” presumably in reference to previous agreements Landau had with the company. Crowder’s legal team followed up by sending Landau an NDA with a monetary amount attached, to which Landau responded, “I’m not going to sign an NDA. That goes against everything your show stands for.”
Although Crowder’s lawsuits against Big Tech have come to a screeching halt, his battles with his wife and ex-employees show no signs of waning. In response to a Mediaite article earlier this month, Crowder threatened to fire any staff who maintained friendships with ex-employees, indicating Bill Richmond may have his work cut out for him for some time to come.
Current Revolt spoke with three Louder with Crowder ex-employees, who confirmed the lawyer oversaw employee contracts and NDAs during their time at the show and were puzzled by his continued relationship with Crowder. “Bill is usually a classy, employee-centric guy who seems to value good ideas and talent,” a former staffer told Current Revolt. “So it's mind-boggling that he'd prop up a guy like Steven Crowder who hasn't been funny in years and who's been exposed as abusive to his wife, his employees, and his peers.” Another ex-staffer commented, “It just seems bizarre that a guy who once championed free speech is now paying people off to be quiet. It’s sad to see Bill reduced to this.” A third ex-employee voiced similar concerns: “Employees would often see him as a safe person to confide whenever Steven stepped over the line or they had workplace issues. He was the closest thing we had to HR. It’s really disappointing to see how he’s changed. He went from a guy who protected us from Steven’s bully and intimidation tactics to an outright enforcer of them. Employees no longer have anyone at the top they can trust which is why they so often band together.”
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