Since its debut in 2005, YouTube has become one of the most popular video sharing websites worldwide, amassing over 1.3 billion users as of July 2019. Many people have even been able to make successful careers off of the platform. This seems like a dream job, but what happens when you lose your internet fandom? Several popular YouTubers over the past years have been faced with controversies that have put their views, subscribers and careers in jeopardy.
On Aug. 7, 2019, Brooke Houts accidentally uploaded a video that showed her beating, shoving and spitting on her pet dog, named Sphinx. The video was meant to be a prank video where she was attacking the Doberman in a joking way; however many viewers have seen it as dog abuse.
On Sept. 19, Houts uploaded a video titled “A Message For You” which addresses the controversy. “I have never intentionally, willfully or maliciously hurt an animal and I never will,” Houts said.
Houts has not uploaded since then, and her channel currently sits at over 300k subscribers as of Oct. 16.
The next controversy involves the fall of ProJared. Jared Knabenbauer, known by his YouTube username of ProJared, is a gaming YouTuber. However, on May 8, Knabenbauer’s wife, Heidi O’Ferrall, posted a tweet saying that, “In [sic] recently learned that my husband @ProJared has been [f***ing] @HollyConrad behind my back for months… Jared tried very, very hard to make me feel responsible for everything that’s gone wrong in our relationship.”
Shortly after, allegations would be released that claim Knaubenbauer solicited nude photos from minors. His subscriber count dipped from over one million to as low as 800,000.
On Aug. 27, 2019, ProJared uploaded his first video in over eight months, titled “YOU’VE BEEN LIED TO”. During the 42-minute video, Knabenbauer spent time talking about and attempting to disprove some of these allegations.
“I always made it clear that it was for consenting adults only…what I was doing was unpredatory [sic], but it was unhealthy,” Knabenbauer said. This video has gained 3.2 million views and many fans have returned to the channel.
As of Oct. 2019, he has nearly reached 900,000 subscribers.
Lastly, James Charles and Tati Westbrook got into one of the largest feuds of any two beauty personalities. Charles and Westbrook were known to be great friends in the industry, but after James Charles ran an ad for SugarBearHair on his Instagram story Westbrook became upset. This is mainly because SugarBear is a direct competitor to Westbrook’s company, Halo Beauty.
Westbrook would release a 43-minute video, titled “BYE SISTER” making several allegations against Charles, including claiming that he abused his presence to inappropriately intimidate men.
Charles would not take very long to release his response video, which apologized for the claims that Westbrook brought upon him. This apology really only hurt him because many thought that it was poorly said and overall a very weak and drawn out apology. Charles then released a follow-up video titled “No More Lies” which aimed to disprove Westbrook’s claims through photo evidence from Charles’ messages on his cell phone.
Charles lost over three million subscribers during that time, and Westbrook gaining three million.
After breaks, they have each resumed using YouTube but have seemingly not yet made up and have gone their separate ways. Youtube is only going to continue to have these problems as it grows, and it remains to be seen what will happen next.