TW: sexual abuse. Disclaimer: Just a girl with thoughts and a hope for a better community.
Last night I stayed up until 3:00AM following a trail of links around the internet. Although I wish I now had cute cat videos and fail gifs to share with you all, unfortunately the endless videos and tumblr posts I was viewing were from this masterpost. That, my friends, is a masterpost documenting the accounts of sexual harassment, abuse and even assault that various people have opened up about, and the responses (if any) that the formerly (and, sickeningly, even currently) idolised, respected, successful YouTubers have made.
You’ve probably heard that Sam Pepper has been accused of rape. I say ‘accused’ because I am not those girls who have shared their stories and he has not confessed, but there is absolutely no doubt in my heart and mind that the accounts and claims linked in the masterpost are honest and true. Sam’s actions and his victims’ responses and stories present an extremely fascinating and disgusting story (the disgusting part being his actions, the fascinating part his pathetic attempts (and lackthereof) to defend himself), a case I think is worth learning more about.
Now, after watching a few videos regarding Sam’s actions, I was sickened. But if after only watching a few videos I was having a mild flu, then opening the masterpost gave me a terminal illness. The amount of YouTubers that have been ‘outed’ as sexual harassers and abusers, some of minors and of other YouTube content creators, is something I did not realised existed. I was aware of the issue of “YouTube culture” but I did not know that the abuse of power briefly mentioned in many videos regarding the platform’s culture was something that had actively occurred in the past, is occurring now, and to such a severe extent. Sam Pepper’s story is only one of the many cases of successful YouTubers taking advantage of their platform and fan base, manipulating girls and boys, most underage at the time, into unwanted sexual encounters. This is an extremely serious issue that much of the wider YouTube community is not aware of or had sort of brushed aside like I had before curiously clicking that first video regarding Sam’s actions.
I’m not going to into detail about each case, there’s a shitload of stuff linked on the masterpost (unfortunately) that you can check out, I assure you it’s worth a read/watch. Instead, I want to talk about what we, as consumers and creators in the YouTube community can do.