A TikTok influencer and former Cisco employee went viral after showing his 900,000 followers “how to protect 1099 workers who get pre-taxed money from getting audited.”
The company has since announced that he no longer works at Cisco.
Ethan Keiser (@itsethankeiser) original clip, which has racked up 3.1 million views, showed a dancer who allegedly made $33,700 in three days. Some have perceived the video as showing people how to make money from reporting strippers to the IRS
“It looks like she’s storing it in a sock drawer”, he said.
“According to the IRS, you can fill out a form and you can get 30 per cent of money if you report them and they’re not paying taxes.
“It’s business, baby”, he concluded.
He did, however, caption the clip: “I’m trying to educate y’all on why this is bad” and explicitly written in the clip: “Do not do this!!”
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Ethan explained to Indy100 that Cisco put his dismissal down to “poor performance”, which he said was never really brought up during his time at the company. He also added that the company highlighted “failure to notify HR about my Tiktok content, and “endangering workers.”
“When I asked further about the last reason, they just repeated themselves ‘endangering other workers’”, he added.
In defence of his TikTok videos, he said he had noticed there was a trend that shown people flexing how much cash they make in a matter of days. “Many of these people were 1099 workers, meaning they still need to pay taxes on it,” he said. “My videos were to protect 1099 workers by letting them know anyone can tip off the IRS and be compensated. I never encouraged reporting people.”
After being issued a three-week leave from Cisco, he was terminated on October 7. “I disagree with their conclusion,” Ethan said. “I just feel like I made a pretty good point and I was funny about it and that’s what I’m being penalized for, but whatever.”
Ethan explained that his intention wasn’t to target certain people or groups. “I’ve made it clear time and time again that the intentions of that content was to raise awareness about the IRS and the danger of “flexing” significant cash, yet to be taxed, online”, he said. “Many tax attorneys on Tiktok agreed with me.”
“I’ve never even mentioned dancers directly, I solely spoke about 1099 workers.
“That being said, I am truly apologetic to anyone who has received harassment from ill intentioned people that hijacked my message for their misogynistic agenda.”
Indy100 reached out to Cisco for comment.