With the Harvey Weinstein domino-effect conveniently spurring out scandal after scandal, no stone was left unturned. Politicians like Roy Moore or comedians like Louis C.K. have only shown how the silence is slowly being broken. But what many people tend to forget among the storm of allegations is that this has been happening for a long time. Not just with movie stars, journalists or musicians, but new age media celebrities that have been making a name for themselves through vlogs and funny videos on YouTube.
YouTube stars specifically are no stranger to sexual abuse scandals, lawsuits and other controversies. Call it YouTube drama or YouTube rape culture, but here are several stories of some of the latest sexual abuse cases in the world of YouTube.
YouTube Star Austin Jones Caught with Child Porn
YouTube singer Austin Jones had a pretty large fan base and reputation, where he mostly racked up millions of views singing covers of pop songs. Jones was charged with two counts of production of child abuse images, according to a complaint filed on June 13 in the US district court in Chicago, where he appeared.
Austin Jones is even more disgusting than I thought. pic.twitter.com/HO5phYDqdm
— Damon Fizzy␌ (@deefizzy) June 13, 2017
He is accused of using Facebook and iMessage to solicit sexually explicit videos from teenage girls, pressuring them to “prove” that they were his biggest fans. His alleged victims were 14 and 15-years-old.
“Honest Trailers” YouTube Channel Creator Fired
Defy Media, parent company of the Screen Junkies YouTube channel which airs the series, announced on October 9 that Andy Signore’s contract has been terminated. “There is simply no justification for this egregious and intolerable behaviour,” the company said in a statement posted on Twitter.
— DEFY Media (@defymedia) October 7, 2017
Emma Bowers, a former intern that worked for Signore came forward with a detailed story about how he made comments about masturbating to photos of her.
— Emma?Bowers (@EmmaBowers) October 6, 2017
April Dawn, a fan of Screen Junkies, also gave a Twitter testimony on how Signore tried to assault her on multiple occasions.
“We are acting swiftly to address the concerns of the people affected, and that going forward, our community is free of harassment or discrimination of any kind,” said Defy.
YouTube’s Years of Sexual Abuse From Their Own Stars
Even though CrowdH is barely scratching the surface, the last few years of the fledgling medium have not been without such controversies. Whether it was Sam Pepper or Tobuscus, many of these YouTube stars ended up in court or charged with similar behavior.
But what seems so unique about their situations is how their work still continued. Pepper, for example, is still making prank videos, with his latest video releasing a few weeks ago.
Maybe, like films or television shows, YouTube has created some larger than life personalities that are likable and inspire many people around the world. Yet, when they are met with lawsuits or sexual abuse allegations, the viewer is able to simply separate the YouTube star’s real life and alter ego.
However, as the year draws to a close, perhaps more could be done to ensure that behavior like this gets exposed and to ensure that YouTube is safe for fans. After all, fans could become unsuspecting victims to some YouTube celebrities compelled by power and bad choices.