BEG: YouTubers’ controversial actions deserve repercussions

BEG%3A+YouTubers%27+controversial+actions+deserve+repercussions

Photo by Andrew Himmelberg

Recently, many YouTube content creators have been exposed for their inflammatory and controversial remarks either from their pasts or their private lives. These creators are not held responsible for their horrible actions, and this must change.

Some YouTubers who have faced controversy are beauty vloggers Laura Lee and Jeffree Star. The beauty community in particular deals with a lot of drama, most likely due to its large audiences and presence in the spotlight.

Lee’s insensitive tweets from previous years resurfaced recently. One of these tweets included the phrase “tip for all black people if you pull ur pants up you can run from the police faster.. #yourwelcome.” This was posted in 2012 shortly after the tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African-American teenager. Viewers discussed this situation at great lengths because Lee is a creator who has her own makeup products sold in well-known and popular franchises such as Ulta, Sephora and Boxycharm.

Ulta tweeted how it will no longer be selling Lee’s products in its stores because it “value(s) equality and inclusivity in all that it do(es).”

Jeffree Star is another internet personality from the beauty community known to make racist comments. He used the N-word on multiple occasions and referred to all Mexicans as poor. He once made a video where he discussed throwing battery acid on an African-American woman’s face to lighten her skin. These comments are unacceptable and hurtful to people of color.

Even though these events occurred and those YouTubers became aware of their racist comments, Lee and Star still have the ability to post content. They receive money from their audiences, so the fact they still make content on YouTube means no real consequence was inflicted. Some argue that losing brand deals and followers is a consequence, but arguably not very severe. Both YouTubers have  platforms that receive much attention.

Shane Dawson, a YouTuber was exposed for offensive actions. He is a prime example of how this type of person continues to grow a platform. In 2014, he came under fire for using blackface and making other misogynistic, offensive videos. Despite this, his recent videos get around 15 million views. He continues to grow through both fame and net worth.

It is much easier for people who are involved with traditional media, such as television and movies, to be reprimanded for their controversial words and actions because they have stricter regulations.

For example, Twentieth Century Fox fired Kian Lawley, a Youtube video blogger,  from the film “The Hate U Give.” A video of him making racist remarks resurfaced on the internet, and he was cut from a large role in the film. Since the production company is a more traditional medium, it had the ability and power to do this. 

YouTube is not able to fire Kian Lawley and other content creators because the circumstances for banning channels are unclear. The site is a community of independent content creators who are not under studio contracts. YouTube has no legal right to ban them unless they are directly violating the website’s regulations. The grounds to ban a creator have no correlation to past actions.

YouTube’s policies prohibit nudity or sexual content, harmful or dangerous content, harassment and violent or graphic content. In addition to that, harassment, spam and threats are not allowed.

Beauty gurus have created an industry where they are not only selling fashion and makeup products, but themselves. When they have such large audiences and video portfolios, YouTube does not have the power to completely delete their channels without facing tons of backlash from their dedicated supporters.

As time passes, subscribers become more and more attached to the YouTuber as a real person rather than a character on a television show because these creators are portraying a slightly exaggerated image of themselves. It is more unlikely for an audience member to abandon someone when they have been watching on the internet for so long. This makes it that much more difficult for fans to take to heart the racist and offensive remarks of a YouTuber who they believe is such a lovable individual.

I connect to this phenomenon myself through my persistence of watching Shane Dawson videos. Some of his videos are in-depth, quality content, but it irks me a little every time I give him views because of his hurtful past.

The greater moral reasoning of lessening an offensive individual’s platform must outweigh the public’s desire to keep watching. Despite their videos and enticing internet content, giving views and increasing controversial YouTubers’ subscriber count just tells them they can keep being offensive without any repercussions to their money and fame.