Of all the people on YouTube, very few have proven to be lightning rods for controversy like Jeffree Star.
After gaining notoriety on MySpace—in 2006, he was the most-followed person on the gone-but-not-forgotten social media platform—the influencer born Jeffrey Lynn Steininger Jr. made a brief foray into the music industry (believe it or not, a track on his first and only album, 2009’s “Lollipop Luxury,” features a verse from Nicki Minaj) before beginning his own cosmetics company in 2014, which he promoted to his many subscribers on YouTube. Four short years later, he was making $18 million from his YouTube endeavors along, according to Forbes, making him the fifth-highest paid star on the platform that year.
His rise to beauty mogul has been littered, however, with accusations of racist behavior, both past and present; accusations that he’s owned up to at times—”I don’t know who that person was,” he said in a video posted in 2017 as he attempted to contextualize video evidence of him using the n-word as a slur as the manifestations of anger and depression. “I know who I am today, but I do not know who that person was.”—and ignored at others. (When Nigerian-American beauty YouTuber Jackie Aina said in an open letter to Jeffree a year ago that she would no longer “excuse his blatantly racist behavior,” adding that “no one in the community should feel like they are protected enough to continuously say things to make black women feel ugly and ashamed in their own skin,” followed by his former hairstylist Daved Anthony Munoz releasing a video showing messages where Jeffree allegedly referred to Jackie as a “gorilla,” he remained conspicuously silent.)
The accusations and rumors continue to haunt Jeffree despite (or perhaps because of) his enormous successes. And that’s something he and fellow influencer Shane Dawson, who knows a thing or two about causing controversial moments himself, addressed head-on during last year’s five-part docu-series The Secret World of Jeffree Star. During the series, in which Shane attempted to get a better understanding of the mysterious (and rich AF) life that Jeffree lives, the two spoke about the moments in Jeffree’s past, moments that he again attempted to recontextualize. The thing about throwing battery acid in a woman’s face to lighten her skin tone? It was a comedy sketch, he said. Calling people the n-word on the street? They were white women, so it wasn’t about race, he insisted.
A mostly sympathetic ear to his explanations, Shane, too, has some darker moments in his YouTube past, moments that, beginning in 2008, saw him use blackface and the n-word, as well. He wouldn’t apologize for the blackface until 2014. More recently, he’s come under fire for crass jokes about bestiality and pedophilia and for giving Jeffree and other controversial YouTuber Jake Paul sympathetic platforms after they’ve taken heat from the community at large.
Something tell us there’s most controversy to come. After the success of The Secret World, Shane and Jeffree have teamed up for a sequel series, The Beautiful World of Jeffree Star, a nine-part series debuting on Shane’s YouTube channel on October 1, 2019. While the series ostensibly follows the two as they attempt to make a makeup and merchandise brand from scratch, it’ll also appears cameras were running when influencers Manny Gutierrez, Laura Lee, Nikita Dragun and Gabriel Zamora came for Jeffree over his alleged racist behavior after a falling out last year (only for each of them to have their own brushes with racist behavior exposed in the aftermath, when Shane’s old jokes came under fire, and when the influencer world was thrown off its axis as James Charles and Tati Westbrook had their falling out—a scandal that came to involve Jeffree as well before all was said and done.
It remains to be seen how Jeffree and Shane respond to their latest round of controversies in the course of filming the new series—and whether those reactions are reflective of people who’ve truly grown and changed or just people looking to keep their unbelievably lucrative careers afloat with as little damage as possible—but while we wait, let’s take a look at the biggest scandals to have hit YouTube since the video-sharing website began cranking out this new era of celebrities.
Tara Ziemba/WireImage; Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Vanity Fair
James Charles & Tati Westbrook
Westbrook, a cosmetics guru with more than 6 million subscribers, sent the YouTube community into a frenzy when she publicly addressed her dramatic falling out with Charles in a nearly 45-minute video posted on May 10, 2019. In it, Westbrook, who Charles has heralded as his mentor and “mom,” shared her side of the apparent betrayal, which involved Charles promoting Sugar Bear Hair Care vitamins on his Instagram, a direct competitor to Westbrook’s own supplement company.
“How entitled do you have to be to think that you have it rough?” Westbrook vented in the video. “You are a 19-year-old millionaire. You do not get to wake up and stress out about how unfair your job is. That is so ridiculous to me. Get off your high horse and have some respect. You don’t have any for the people who are in this industry and that’s the sad fact.”
Dawson’s need to clarify that an old joke about participating in sexual acts with his cat was just that—a joke—was hardly the first time the popular vlogger has found himself embroiled in scandal over questionable comments or behavior. In January of 2018, a since-terminated YouTube channel released a video entitled “I think Shane Dawson is a pedophile. Here’s my proof.” The video proof was an edited clip from another episode of Dawson’s old podcast in which he said he looked up “naked baby” online and called the search results “sexy.” Dawson quickly responded with a video of his own in which he played the clip in full, which included him quickly saying he was “kidding” after calling the images “sexy.” “I wanted to play that clip in full—that moment especially in full—just for context because that seems to be missing nowadays. I cannot believe I’m having this make this video,” he said, before declaring that he is “not a f–king pedophile.”
That same year, he also found himself embroiled in controversy courtesy of his sponsor BetterHelp, a wellness app that described itself as “the largest online counseling platform worldwide,” aimed at helping people deal with issues “such as stress, anxiety, relationships, parenting, depression, addictions, eating, sleeping, trauma, anger, family conflicts, LGBT matters, grief, religion [or] self esteem.” The service advertises its services costing anywhere from $40 to $70 per week, billed monthly, and many felt that Dawson and the other YouTubers who made videos praising the services were actually profiting off their followers’ mental health issues.
Fans of Olivia Jade were shocked last week when it was revealed that the Gen-Z lifestyle queen with nearly 2 million YouTube subscribers was at the center of the alleged college entrance exam controversy otherwise known as Operation Varsity Blues thanks to the charges leveled against her famous parents, Full House star Lori Loughlin and fashion mogul Mossimo Giannulli. According to court documents obtained by E! News, Loughlin was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud to get her children into college. “The Guannullis agreed to a pay bribes totaling $500,000 in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the USC crew team—despite the fact that they did not participate in crew—thereby facilitating their admission to USC,” the affidavit noted.
As a result of the arrests, Olivia’s seen her endorsement deals disappear into thin air and been forced to disable the comments on both her YouTube channel and her Instagram account, where her followers total over 1.3 million.
In June 2017, Austin Jones, who’d amassed over 500,000 subscribers thanks to the acapella pop music covers he uploaded onto the video sharing website, was arrested and charged with two counts of production of child pornography. According to court documents obtained by E! News, the then-24-year-old YouTuber had allegedly been in communication with two underage female victims in August 2016 and May 2017 over Facebook, with the complaint describing Jones requesting that one girl “prove” she was his “biggest fan” by sending him sexually explicit videos. The arrest followed a 2015 incident where he apologized for lying about his age to solicit “twerking” videos from underage fans. On February 1, 2019, Jones pleaded guilty and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in federal prison with a maximum of 20 years. In May, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
To ring in 2018, Logan Paul treated his Logang (of which there are currently over 18 million) to a video entitled “We found a dead body in the Japanese Suicide Forest…” In the 15-minute video, which has since been deleted, Paul and his entourage visit Aokigahara, a forest on the slopes of Mt. Fuji in Japan, which has been home to hundreds of suicides. In the film, he comes across the body of a person who had hanged himself from a tree, blurring out only the victim’s face. Reaction to the tasteless video, which racked up over 6 million views in less than a day, was swift and overwhelmingly negative, prompting Paul to apologize and assert that he didn’t “do it for the views. I get views.” His channel was later removed from Google Preferred by YouTube and Paul said he would be taking a break from posting. He returned to the site on February 4.
A year after posting the controversial video, he returned to the headlines when he declared on an episode of his Impaulsive podcast that he would “go gay for just one month” in March of 2019. After being condemned from just about everyone, GLAAD included, for perpetuating the idea that homosexuality is a choice, Paul claimed it was a “very poor choice of words” before eventually apologizing.
Buckle up, because this one’s bizarre. Back in 2016, fans of popular UK vlogger Marina Joyce noticed a marked difference in the then-19-year-old beauty YouTuber’s personality. What was once upbeat and quirky now seemed sullen and uncomfortable, with videos full of silent stares and off-camera glances. They even thought they heard her whisper “Help me” in one video. Soon, the hashtag #SaveMarinaJoyce was trending worldwide and fans were frothed up in hysterics, postulating that she was being held against her will or using drugs or, in the most outlandish theory, had been absconded by ISIS. Eventually, police in her hometown made a visit to her residence to check on her well-being and determined there was nothing wrong. A year later, she would finally speak out about the ordeal, saying the reason she waited so long to speak about it was because she was “not in the right mind” to provide an answer. She added that she had been suffering from depression and felt “so grateful to this day that I am still alive.” To this day, fans still don’t seem to be buying it. In the comments on her most recent video, uploaded on March 14, 2019, one user wrote, “I feel like you are scared of something I think your [sic] in horror if I’m telling the true send me a emoji under my comment,” while another said, “I hope you are ok and not kindaped [sic].”
In June 2017, then-19-year-old Monalisa Perez claimed she accidentally killed her boyfriend and father of her two children, 22-year-old Pedro Ruiz III, when she shot him in the chest. The couple had begun posting videos in May and wanted to increase their viewership, so they thought up a stunt involving Perez shooting Ruiz while he held a thick encyclopedia. They believed the book would stop the bullet. It did not. Right before the tragic incident, Perez (who was pregnant with her second child) tweeted, “Me and Pedro are probably going to shoot one of the most dangerous videos ever HIS idea not MINE.” After pleading guilty to second-degree manslaughter in December, she was sentenced to six months in jail in March 2018. As part of her plea agreement, she was allowed to serve her jail time in 10-day increments. She has since returned to YouTube, where she has over 35,000 subscribers.
Michael & Heather Martin
This Maryland couple who ran the controversial YouTube channel DaddyOFive, which saw the five children of their blended family subjected to humiliating pranks and abusive behavior in order to film their reactions, were eventually turned into the authorities by fellow YouTubers in April 2017. By September, they had both pleaded guilty to child neglect charges and were sentenced to five years of probation each. As part of their probation, they lost complete custody of 11-year-old daughter Emma and nine-year-old son Cody and were barred from filming their other children for social media. Their videos have since been removed from the streaming site, but the Martins have resumed posting videos of only themselves, under the name MommyOFive.
In November 2015, Sam Pepper, a British YouTuber, uploaded a video entitled “Killing Best Friend Prank,” which featured fellow internet personalities Sam Golbach and Colby Brock, whom were kidnapped by a masked Pepper. In the video, Pepper takes both men, only one of whom was in on the prank, to a rooftop where one is forced to watch as he “shoots” the other, leaving the horrified Golbach in tears. Over 100,000 people signed a petition calling for YouTube to remove Pepper from the website over the cruel prank, while, in an interview with Metro, Golbach tried to defend his friend, saying the video was “about living life to the full.” With the criticism unwavering, Pepper turned to GoFundMe, stating he would delete his channel if $1.5 million was pledged to him. The campaign was quickly removed, along with the accompanying video on his YouTube channel.
It wasn’t the first time one of Pepper’s videos had landed him in hot water. In September 2015, he uploaded one called “Fake Hand A-s Pinch Prank,” in which he seemingly accosted unsuspecting women. Facing allegations of sexual harassment and rape, Pepper claimed the video was “staged and scripted,” with sexual harassment “the focal point of the experiment.” He later removed the video from the streaming service.
Trevor Martin & Tom Cassell
These two gamers, known online as TmarTN and Syndicate, respectively, shared videos in which they heavily promoted Counter Strike: Global Offensive. In the videos, they were seen playing and gambling on the game, which seemed harmless enough until everyone learned that the pair actually owned CS:GO Lotto, the gambling website affiliated with the game that permitted users as young as 13 to join in. Cassell apologized for his shiftiness on Twitter, but Martin refused to, saying in a 2016 video, “Obviously, on my end, me playing on Lotto rather than other sites gives me an advantage because it promotes my own site, but it is not immoral, there is nothing wrong with it. I am 100 percent honest.”
Michael Tullberg/Getty Images
Kian Lawley, who launched his first YouTube channel in 2010, was well on his way to a more traditional acting career in 2017 when he landed a role in the film adaptation of the socially-conscious YA novel The Hate U Give. But he had the film role swiftly taken away on February 5, 2018 when a video of him using racist language surfaced on YouTube. Replaced by Riverdale star KJ Apa, Lawley later tweeted about his “mistakes,” writing, “If u don’t learn from ur mistakes, u can never grow as a person. I’ve learned a lot & i am grateful to have the power to change. i never want to be who i was yesterday. we’re in a constant battle to become a better version of ourselves, use ur voice as ur weapon.”
Sam & Nia
Sam and Nia Rader, known to their fans simply as Sam & Nia, began vlogging about their daily life as a Christian family and rose to prominence with a March 2014 video of them lip-synching to the song “Love Is An Open Door” from Frozen. In August of 2015, they went viral yet again with a video of Sam surprising Nia with the news of her own pregnancy. As he claimed in the video, he’d secretly used some urine his wife had left behind in the toilet, prompting some to question whether they were telling the truth. Three days later, another video was posted, revealing that Nia had miscarried, adding even more fuel to the naysayers’ fire. Three days after that, it was revealed that Sam had an account on ashley madison, the website where people arranged to cheat on their spouses. (He confirmed he had an account, but insisted he never wen با هر چیزی.) چند روز بعد ، در حالی که در یک کنفرانس ولگردی بود ، سام با برخی از وبلاگ نویسان درباره اظهار نظرهای خود درباره سقط جنجال روبرو شد و در نتیجه وی را به زور از این رویداد دور کرد. پس از آن اتفاقات رشته ای شدید ، آنها یک وقفه نامعلوم را در پیش گرفتند ، یک ماه بعد به سایت بازگشتند. p>
در سپتامبر 2015 ، کمدین خودساخته شده نیکول آربر strong> ویدئویی را در کانال خود با عنوان “عزیزان عزیز” بارگذاری کرد. در این فیلم شش دقیقه ای ، وی به طرز بی رحمانه و بی امان نسبت به افرادی که اضافه وزن دارند ، صحبت می کند ، تا جایی که طرفدار شرم کردن چربی است. نیازی به گفتن نیست ، خوب پیش نرفت. او از یک فیلمبرداری شغلی در آینده اخراج شد ، به طعم جالب ، یک فیلم ضد قلدری برای کودکان. با حضور در View ، آربور سعی کرد از این کلیپ به عنوان “طنز” که “برای توهین به مردم ساخته شده بود” دفاع کند. او ادعا كرد كه با TIME “من می بینم که سر کسی به صورت توهین آمیز منفجر شده است. من می بینم کودکانی که بیش از حد کافی غذای اهانت آمیز در کشور گرسنه هستند. من می بینم که بدن زنان برای مقاصد مذهبی مثله شده است ، برای من توهین آمیز است. توهین آمیز ” او همچنان به ارسال ویدیوها در کانال YouTube خود ، جایی که بیش از 400000 مشترک را در اختیار دارد.
کریس جکسون / گتی ایماژ
فلیکس كیلبرگ strong> ، یا ، همانطور كه او برای بیش از 90 میلیون مشترک YouTube ، PewDiePie شناخته شده است ، یوتیوب توتون سوئدی است كه بخاطر تفسیر بازی های ویدئویی خود و كمد یك حرف های بی نظیر شناخته شده است. او همچنان یکی از کاربران مشترک در این وب سایت است. و در اوایل سال 2017 ، وی ویدئویی را منتشر کرد که در آن دو مرد ، که او را استخدام کرده بود ، نشانه ای را نگه داشت که می خواند ، “مرگ بر همه یهودیان”. در حالی که بسیاری این فیلم را ضد ستیزی می دیدند ، وی از آن دفاع کرد و گفت که وی آن را ارسال کرده است “تا نشان دهد دنیای مدرن چقدر دیوانه است”. هرچه معنیش باشد پس از انتشار این ویدئو ، یوتیوب فصل دوم نمایش YouTube خود را Red، Scare PewDiePie را لغو کرد و کانال خود را از Google Preferred حذف کرد.
در اواخر سال 2018 ، او یک بار دیگر پس از تبلیغ و پیوند دادن به کانال کاربر دیگری که فیلم های آن اغلب شامل زبان همو هبی و ضد ستیزی است ، بار دیگر تحت آتش قرار گرفت. در آن سال ، وی همچنین او را پس از ابراز نگرانی از عدم حضور کامل زنان در لیست اخیر Forbes از پردرآمدترین یوتیوب ، ستاره جدید اواخر شب NBC ، لیلی سینگ strong> را “ترسو و احمق” نامید.
الكساندر تامارگو / گتی ایماژ
جیک پائول strong> ، برادر کوچکتر لوگان و مشهور YouTuber به حق خودش ، در ماه ژوئیه سال 2017 هنگامی که همسایگانش در محله بورلی گروو در لس آنجلس شرکت کردند ، تحت آتش سوزی قرار گرفتند. بعد از اینكه آدرس خانه خود را علنی كرد ، باعث شد تا جمعیت زیادی از هواداران در خارج از محل اقامت جمع شوند و خیابان را به یك خانه بزرگ تبدیل كنند. وی گفت: “من مطمئناً برای آنها احساس بد دارم.” وی قبل از افزودن ایستگاه محلی KTLA به ایستگاه محلی KTLA گفت ، “کاری که ما نمی توانیم انجام دهیم وجود دارد. روزهای پس از شکستن گزارش ها ، وی از سریال کانال دیزنی بیزاروردارک em> اخراج شد ، در حالی که اواسط فیلمبرداری فصل دوم بود. p>
در ژانویه سال بعد ، یک فیلم به بیرون درز شد. TMZ که وی را دو بار کلمه n را ضبط کرد. او هنوز هم به طور لذت بخش از 18 میلیون مشترک ویدئوهای خود را در کانال خود ارسال می کند.
آه ، همان کسی که همه چیز را شروع کرد. وقتی YouTube فقط از زمین خارج شده بود ، همه ما به اندازه کافی ساده لوح بودیم تا باور کنیم که همه چیزهایی که در سایت ارسال شده اند ، می دانید ، حقیقت ، همراه با Lonelygirl15 بود. همه ما اعتقاد داشتیم که در حال تماشای دفتر خاطرات ویدئویی از یک دختر نوجوان به نام Bree هستیم که در 16 ژوئن 2006 راه اندازی شد و با نوعی دیوانه وار که همه با آن آشنا هستیم برخورد می کرد. به نوعی ، وبلاگ Bree به یکی از محبوب ترین YouTube تبدیل شد. سه ماه بعد ، ما می آموزیم که در واقع Bree به هیچ وجه Bree نیست ، بلکه او یک بازیگر 19 ساله به نام جسیکا رز strong> بود و همه چیز توسط سه سازنده مش پرده ، مایلز بکت strong> و گرگ گودفرید strong> ، تحت عنوان کاری بچه های Anchor Cove . و دقیقاً مثل آن ، ما هرگز به هیچ چیز دیگری اعتماد نخواهیم کرد.
دنیای زیبای ستاره جفری ستاره em> در روز سه شنبه ، اول اکتبر در YouTube.
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