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Why is YouTube So Okay With Problematic Creators?

TW: Rape, pedophilia 

Youtuber apologies used to be so fun for me to watch, either because the apology was so ridiculously bad or because the issue was over something so small it didn’t even warrant an apology. Beauty youtuber Laura Lee’s infamous apology is a perfect example of a ridiculously bad one, and retired youtuber Jenna Marbles’ fish tank apology was so wholesome and genuine it was almost adorable. But within the last couple of years, most recently with David Dobrik and James Charles coming under fire, these apologies are getting worse and the behavior being apologized for is getting more serious.

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Apologies used to be about meaningless drama between two youtubers that ended with someone saying something out of pocket, or about an offensive tweet that resurfaced half a decade after it was posted. While both of these things warrant apologies, we are seeing more and more youtubers apologizing for literal crimes. David Dobrik facilitated intoxication underage women and encouraged sexual assault, James Charles engaged in innapropriate online contact with multiple underage boys, Jeffree Star has exhibited consistently racist behavior, and Shane Dawson has said and done countless inappropriate things involving children. Not only is this public knowledge now, but in many cases, Youtube has known about it for years.

YouTube homepage
Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

Several of the crimes that these youtubers are being accused of are documented on their Youtube channels, where the video has been monetized and generating ad revenue for months or years. And Youtube has never done anything about it. The above-mentioned content creators have tens of millions of subscribers each, their content is watched by young children and teenagers, and Youtube seldom restricts the content. Youtube let several of these videos be monetized, run ads, and appear on the trending page. 

payroll clerk counting money while sitting at table
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

What Youtube has allowed on its platforms and the type of creators it has platformed and promoted is inexcusable. While nothing can be done to fix what happened to the victims, whose trauma has generated profit for their abusers, Youtube can start being much stricter with its content creators. The vetting process for videos needs to be much more thorough, and Youtube cannot keep waiting around for viewers to deplatform problematic creators; they need to do it themselves.

Isabella Guerrero

UC Riverside '21

A writer learning as I go.
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