YouTube at its best is a hotbed of creativity where creators and fans can interact directly as artists upload their purest and most original works for public consumption. It is art for the sake of art, but it's also art with the possibility of a high payout based on audience consensus instead of managerial manipulation. At it's worst, YouTube is a sh*tstorm of *ssholes competing to see who can be the worst person and still walk away with millions of subscribers and a net worth to match. These are the scandals you probably don't remember from people who definitely forgot to be awesome.
Jeffree Star regularly says and does racist things, which people seem to regularly forget. Fellow beauty vlogger Jackie Aina called Jeffree out for his use of the n-word and "his efforts to eliminate spaces and opportunities for people of color" after his former hairstylist Daved Anthony Munoz shared screenshots of text messages that appear to show Jeffree calling Jackie a "gorilla." This came only a month after Jeffree was called out for wearing cornrows and ~once again~ using the n-word. Can we all just admit this man is a racist now and move on?
Shane Dawson is a thirty-year-old YouTuber who is constantly apologizing for what he has described as his 2014 "shock jock" persona. This included his jokes about having sex with his cat, joking about "ghetto pranks," and saying the n-word. Why all of these YouTubers at one point or another seem to have thought being a white person that says the n-word was a ~good~ idea is beyond me, but Shane took it one step further by basically performing a minstrel show at VidCon. He apologized for using blackface by saying he wasn't familiar with its history, which is a pretty half-*ssed excuse TBH. If you hadn't figured out that blackface is a big no by the time you're in your mid-twenties, that's nothing short of willful ignorance.
Laura Lee lost sponsorships and partnerships with Ulta Beauty and Diff Eyewear after tweets from 2012 resurfaced of her using the n-word and saying a bunch of racist sh*t. When is that going to happen to Jeffree Star? Anyway, Laura tweeted that she thinks black people could run from the police faster if they pull their pants up, and she expressed be confused at the Jay-Z banger "N*ggaz In Paris" because she "thought they couldn't afford to leave Compton." There's literally so much yikes to unpack there it's ridiculous, but she still has two million Instagram followers and a vlogging career even after losing hundreds of thousands of YouTube subscribers due to the controversy.
Beauty YouTube is a terrifying place. All of the MUAs seem to end up hating each other, half of them are racist, and your faves can be #canceled at any given moment. James Charles has mostly stayed out of the fray, probably because he's literally nineteen, but in 2017, James was outed for editing the viral photos that made him famous and lying about it. Legend has it that James had his yearbook photo retaken with a ring light to make his highlighter pop, but receipts from Thomas Halbert proved that James actually got permission from the photographers to edit the photographs before publication.
Adriana M. Barraza/WENN.com
It's honestly shocking that a pair of vloggers discovered by Jake Paul and Logan Paul haven't turned out worse. Their biggest controversy has been largely forgotten, mostly because it was probably only news in England. The DailyMail's reports from a huge meet-up that was canceled fifteen minutes before it was meant to begin makes it sounds like a prequel to TanaCon, with thousands of tweens left devastated in the chaos. The event was canceled because a Remembrance Day service was taking place in the park that day, something that could have easily been Googled before the *literal* day of their meet up.
Tana Mongeau is a YouTuber, but she's better known for two things: never wearing clothing and saying crazy sh*t. Oh, and briefly being in a throuple with Bella Thorne. It's hard to choose just one Tana scandal to fondly remember. No one has forgotten about TanaCon yet, she still brings up her possibly-fake relationship with Mac Miller, and she has *definitely* used the n-word and probably will again, but the drama surrounding Mongeau Siwa can never be replicated. Tana dressed up as a sexy version of fellow vlogger JoJo Siwa, which would have been mostly fine if JoJo wasn't literally fifteen. She got called out for the outfit because dressing up as a sexed-up child is high-key gross.
YouTube/LonelyGirl15 via The AV Club
This drama goes all the way back to the early days of YouTube in 2006, when the fledgling social media site was only sixteen months old. A vlogger named Bree Avery found then-unparalleled fame as lonelygirl15, racking up millions of views on videos chronicling her boring life as a homeschooled high school student in the middle of nowhere. Her videos started to get super creepy, as her parents' secret occult practices started seeping into the narrative, leading some fans to think lonelygirl15 might be a fake. An October 2006 exposé by the Los Angeles Times outed Bree as the actress Jessica Lee Rose in one of the earliest YouTube scandals ever.
YouTube/PewDiePie via The Verge
PewDiePie is trash, okay? Like, some might think he's pretty cute but he's also got a history of doing anti-Semitic and racist "pranks," so we can all go stan someone else now. His 93 million subscribers have either forgotten about his many controversies or just don't care, but assuming that people are fundamentally good, let's go with the former. Vox exposed Felix Kjellberg for using Nazi imagery in nine of his videos. Felix has explained this as satire, but for something to be satirical, it has to actually be funny. If you think there's anything funny about hiring people to hold up a sign that says "Death to all Jews," bowing over a swastika, or doing the Nazi salute, you can honestly just close this tab RN. Boy, bye.
Zoella aka Zoe Sugg's biggest scandal to-date are some classist and offensive tweets about X-Factor contestants from when she was twenty, which was way too old to be saying that sh*t on the internet, but whatever. More recently, Zoe tried to sell an advent calendar for €50 as part of her Christmas collection at Boots. After some investigation, it was outed that the twelve-door calendar only had €21 worth of product. You can't blame a girl for trying to get her bag, but it wasn't even €21 of stuff anyone would want to buy. Some confetti, stickers, and a cookie cutter? Thank u, next.
Full disclosure: This is not the worst thing you'll hear about Jake Paul in this list. His other offenses are so numerous and varied that things like your run-of-the-mill racism can get lost in the scuffle, but here's a nice reminder that Jake is an *sshole and a racist. He's a racist *sshole. In his vlog, "Self-Driving Telsa Drive-Thru Prank," Jake told a Kazakhstani fan that he sounded like he was "just going to blow someone up." He followed up by saying, "You're like, 'Send the nuke!'"
This also came right after he basically got fired from his Disney Channel show and promised to be more mindful of his words. Yup, sounds about right.
TBT to the days when Tobuscus was the biggest thing on YouTube. Unlike some of the content creators on this list, Toby Turner really did fall from grace after accusations of sexual assault arose in April 2016. The six million followers he still has may paint a different picture, but Toby lost about ten million subscribers amidst claims that he drugged and raped his then-girlfriend April Fletcher in 2013. Toby has denied those allegations and others that he was a serial cheater and drug addict reported by The Mirror, but April's story was convincing enough that barely anyone on YouTube even knows who Tobuscus is anymore.
Vine may have died but Cameron Dallas's career lives on, somehow. It's unclear exactly what he does now, but his social media presence is still going strong even after his December 2018 arrest for assault. People have already forgotten about the incident in which Cameron allegedly punched a man in the face at the Hyatt Residence Grand Aspen and was booked under felony second-degree assault. Cameron claims he was protecting himself and his loved ones, according to People, which is low-key hot if it's true, but the story still made huge waves in the news after it was brought to light in January 2019.
The sh*t that went down between Jake Paul and Team 10 is insane, regardless of its veracity. Most of Jake's original Team 10 left before Jake had the chance to officially disband his crew, and Ivan and Emilio Martinez shed some light on their beef with the garbage human being "It's Everyday Bro" rapper. The twins were bullied so heavily by Jake and some other house members both for being new and for being Spanish that they were afraid to sleep because they didn't know what prank would be played on them in the morning. Seventeen chronicled their many claims against the team including being forced to sleep in the living room for months and later to keep their doors unlocked, Jake preventing them from learning English, and having their money held hostage.
Another Team 10 departure that can't be fully explained in one paragraph is Alissa Violet's dramatic breakup with Jake Paul and his YouTube supergroup. Jake kicked her out of the house for supposedly cheating on him, but she countered by revealing that their relationship was always a scam and that Jake used Alissa's feelings for him as a way to gaslight her into following his strict house rules. All Team 10 members had to give Jake twenty percent of their earnings and if they didn't follow house protocol like being up by ten in the morning to film, it would result in hefty fines paid to Jake. That's not even mentioning the parade of girls Jake would hook up with while supposedly dating Alissa.
If you think Beauty YouTube is crazy, you *need* to google Vegan YouTube. Maybe it's the malnutrition or the lack of vitamin B-12, but these ladies are absolute savages. Rawvana, the raw vegan Yovana Mendoza Ayres was outed for breaking her vegan at a restaurant, where Marie Claire says she was seen eating fish and trying to hide it. The craziest part is that she continued to advocate for the raw vegan diet even after being told by her doctors that she had to break her veganism to end her plethora of health problems. Who knew a 25-day water fast was a bad idea? Oh, wait, literally everyone.
TBH, this wasn't so much "mocking charity" as it was "a white male being a gigantic dumb*ss" but Metro quoted the instant backlash for Alfie Deyes's £1 a day vlog as deriding him as the former. He didn't think to forgo his expensive car or its gas from the equation and kept an appointment with his physical trainer, then proceeded to drive to stores that were offering food deals for his meals. Meanwhile, he was constantly complaining about missing his quotidian luxuries. Alfie apologized and promised to donate the proceeds from the video to charity, but people were still pretty annoyed at his white privilege showing.
YouTube/GloZell via Gizmodo
The Tide Pod Challenge was literally the dumbest fad to ever sweep the internet. Like, even dumber than planking. Six people *literally died* but that didn't stop famous vloggers like GloZell from uploading their own videos eating lethal laundry detergent pods for laughs. The video has since been removed because social media websites cleansed themselves of the challenge to prevent its growth, but GloZell found herself in some drama as one of the biggest vloggers dumb enough to actually eat a Tide Pod and put it online. It was irresponsible and honestly not funny enough to outweigh the risks, which might be the biggest scandal of them all.
Shane Dawson, Philip DeFranco, and h3h3Productions (who have their own scandals to worry about) have been vocal advocates for BetterHelp's online counseling, which is advertised as professional and affordable therapy from the comfort of your computer. It was brought to light that their charges are different than advertised, which is a bit of a yikes, but Seventeen has receipts that the so-called mental health professionals aren't really professional at all. The site used to carry a disclosure that it does "not guarantee the verification of the skills, degrees, qualifications, licensure, certification, credentials, competence or background of any Counselor." Uh, what?
It should be no surprise to anyone that the most messed up item on this list was caused by none other than Sam Pepper, the guy who thought pinching women's butts with a fake hand was ~super funny~ in 2014. Not catching the hint that it literally wasn't funny at all, Sam upped the ante a year later in what should go down in history as the most messed up prank on the planet. Sam and Vine star Colby Brock kidnapped Colby's friend Sam Bolbach and made him watch as Sam pretended to execute Colby to ~prank~ Sam Bolbach into thinking his best friend had died and that he was next. I'm so over this website.
Nicole Arbour is another YouTuber who is definitely not as funny as she thinks she is. Case in point, her September 2015 video called "Dear Fat People," which is as horrific as you think it's going to be. She said she was joking when she called fat shaming "brilliant" because it will make people stop having bad habits that make them fat (because that's ~totally~ how metabolisms work, right?) and when she went on a six-minute rant about how obese people have inconvenienced her with their weight. She argued that it's important to make fun of everybody in a Time apology interview, but punching down is never the right way to go.