Hayley G Hoover, an awesome feminist on YouTube has made a video about Underage sex and consent that I think is very important and worth watching especially considering the latest Youtube news.
To summarize, quite a few men have grown “YouTube famous” and have used their Internet fame to manipulate and abuse underage woman. Their behavior ranges from emotional manipulation to adultery to physical abuse. One of these despicable YouTubers, Mike Lombardo, is currently serving 5 years in federal prison for persuading underage fans to exchange sexually explicit images with him.
The guys who create these imbalanced relationships with their young fans already have the upper-hand on several fronts:
1. They are usually much older.
2. The younger party involved is a fan, who may be at an insecure emotionally vulnerable point in their life.
3. They have a crazy fan base behind them that will proceed to victim blame and shame anyone who comes out with stories of abuse.
John Green said it best: “the abuse of power we seem to see regularly in these manipulative fan/creator relationships is reprehensible and unacceptable.”
While these allegations have shaken the YouTube community, we have to remember that YouTube isn’t a totally unsafe place. Countless video creators have come forward to show their support for the survivors of this abuse and to begin a dialogue about sexual abuse and consent. This is really great considering that most of what YouTube is known for are the less substantial viral videos and cute cat videos.
And I think it’s also important that we remember that it is never the victim’s fault in any of this.
Here is another video that goes more detail of each of the perpetrators and the counts against them.
The master-list of men who’ve committed these acts is almost 17 YouTuber’s long and contains several accounts from several different sources and includes Alex Day, who has over 1 million subscribers himself.
Photo credit: LA times