I’ve been following YouTube drama for about a year now. Mainly one specific corner of YouTube that I previously didn’t care too much for. I’d mention specific YouTubers, but the two in particular that I enjoy watching their lives spiral out of control to make myself feel better are also the type that will Google themselves obsessively and then send their personal army of teens ages 10-16 out to swamp and overwhelm and attack anyone who speaks of them negatively on the internet. I’ve seen this happen a LOT over the last year and I’d rather not deal with it. So we’ll just call them Anna and Rick. I would use their real names, or their YouTube handles, or any other name they use that may be more obscure – but as stated, they are obsessive about Googling themselves. Which we’ll get to in a bit how that plays into all that drama.
Now then, let’s start with Rick. Mainly because I found out about Anna due to watching the downward spiral that is Rick.
Rick has been doing YouTube for nearly as long as YouTube has existed. He’s made a LOT of money through ad revenue. He became super popular for the “lol so random” style of comedy that’s usually a favorite of pre-teens and young teens. There were a few videos that became so popular they were viral for a while. Well, over time he built up a MASSIVE following of over 2 million subscribers. Unfortunately a lot of his “comedy” started to dwindle when drama in his real life started (a divorce and numerous scandals) and rather than keep his private life private, he started airing his dirty laundry through his YouTube channel. This made him really popular with the pre-teen and young teenagers because “omg he so gets us!” and capitalized on the whole “emo” trend. More and more his multiple channels became more about his life and the drama in it, and how everyone hates him for being honest and truthful and they’re just jealous of his success – and less about actual comedy.
Near the end of last year another YouTube drama whore came to my attention. Anna. Anna is known, apparently, for rooting out bullshit. And for making 20+ videos on any given topic wherein she him-haws around about stuff but only gives a small nugget of information that may or not be accurate. She latches onto other YouTube dramas and drama whores and sucks from the tit of clickbait until it runs dry and she needs to find another target for her attention. She deliberately stirs up drama where there is none, and pretty much is a garbage human being who claims to have illnesses that if she truly did have them, on the best pain management days she certainly wouldn’t be able to push out 10+ videos a day, plus a minimum of 1-3 live streams a day, plus in every single video and stream be flapping her arms about like a complete and utter fool. If the conditions she claims to have all at once are legitimate, there’s no way she would be able to function half of what is shown on camera as the majority of the illnesses she claims to have seriously affect mobility – and the combination she claims to have not only restricts movement but also would have her bedridden on the best of days. Now I know treatment affects people in different ways and I’m no expert on the subject but given the claims, some of which are conditions I also deal with, they simply cannot be managed using severely diluted homeopathic medicine only. That’s like taking nothing but placebos. Sure, mentally you believe it works and the whole mind over matter thing, but that’s not going to fix the degenerative diseases you claim to have. Your bones are still going to disintegrate, and your joints are still going ot get massively inflamed, and your migraines that are getting worse and worse (so you claim) are obviously not going away or easing up but in fact are becoming a bigger problem the longer they go untreated. Anyway, I digress.
Anna came to my attention because Anna made 50-ish videos about Rick late last year when yet another scandal had come up surrounding Rick. This time rather than about his love life, it was about one of his websites and encouraging underage girls to post intimate photos of themselves so he could judge their bodies on YouTube. (Intimate meaning bra and panties, or less.) The youngest that anyone had found out about as 12 years old. He claimed he only picked the people that were 18 or older for his multiple body shaming videos (though he calls them “empowering”), but that was proven wrong when someone noticed he used a photo of a 16 year old. That caused people to dig into his website, believing there may be more underage girls so that he could be reported to the police. Before anyone could report him the website was taken down for a few days and purged of incriminating evidence before being put back online.
Anna caught wind of this, and her entire brand is based on, like I said, sucking the tit of clickbait and YouTube drama whores. The two ended up in a spat over who was the more desperate drama whore. Rick sent out a faked Cease and Desist letter that Anna believed was legit for a time, and she did back off making videos of Rick for a while. Recently she’s made 3 or 4 about him but has mainly focused on a child abuse scandal she “helped” uncover (she didn’t do shit but cause more drama so she could get views and collect that sweet ad revenue), and dealing with some fallout of drama about her “illnesses” among other personal drama people have finally brought down upon her.
She’s made more videos than usual per week now however because of the Adpocalypse tat started earlier this year. For simplicity sake the adpocalypse was the event wherein advertisers started pulling their ads and funding because they didn’t want their brands associated with certain types of videos plus YouTube changed their system around a few times which caused creators to have videos quietly demonetized or their entire channels placed into age restriction mode which cut their viewership drastically. As a result people like Anna and Rick had their videos demonetized and, in Rick’s case, their channel(s) placed into restricted mode.
Now, why does this matter? Because YouTube drama whores thrive off ad revenue. The more subscribers and views they have, the bigger their egos get. The bigger the egos, the more the drama they post online or scandals they get involved in. When those numbers begin to drop, they make multiple videos filled with guilt tripping their viewership. In some more extreme cases, like in Rick’s, they threaten to kill themselves if their viewers don’t donate to their Patreon page.
Watching YouTube drama is better than watching reality TV. Reality TV is 100% scripted, and while much YouTube drama is also scripted in some way, it has a very different feel to it. You know ahead of time that these people are only in it for the money (that is, if they can even have ads on their videos at that point) and for the fame. You know that the person you see on screen isn’t usually how they really are in real life – because in real life they are much much worse than what you see.
Now, I’m not saying that everyone who Vlogs on YouTube is a drama whore. Because there’s honestly some great content creators who, all they do is talk about their lives and their dreams and things like that. There’s a few I’ve followed for years who are actually just as they are on screen only in real life, they might swear a bit more because they don’t have to watch their language for the kiddies that might be watching. But then there’s the darker corner of YouTube, where the drama whores congregate and snap at one another. It’s like watching a tank of piranhas and putting a single small piece of meat in the water just to watch them fight over it.
There is a darker side to all of this unfortunately. As I mentioned before the two that I specifically watch, Anna and Rick, have a large following of pre-teens and young teenagers. This is an age of experimentation. Of trying to figure out not only puberty but also yourself. What kind of things you like, the kind of person you want to be, and a lot of a person’s personality is shaped by the things they hear, see, and do at this age. An age where if your idol will just give you five minutes, or glance in your direction, you’ll do anything to keep their attention. Some girls will post nearly nude photos of themselves to a forum just to get a single word back from their idol. Others will blindly do anything they’re told because it proves that they’re “a real fan”. Five years ago, I would have been pissed if my favorite YouTubers were put into restricted mode. As a teenager I’d have been even more pissed and lied about my age just to watch their videos (which let’s be honest – anyone who grew up with the internet has done this – and those too old to have done this grew up in the age of fake IDs so it’s not exactly a new concept here). Now, however, I have the perspective of being a parent. And this perspective changes a LOT of things. For instance if my son were aged 10-16, I would not allow him to watch Rick’s videos. Ever. Not until he’s old enough where I can’t do anything about it and he’s old enough to understand that Rick isn’t exactly “normal”. And if he DID happen to watch Rick’s videos, or videos like Rick’s, then I’d sit him down and have a very long talk about personal responsibility and the reality of whatever the video(s) was/were about rather than what he saw portrayed. I know, as a parent, I can’t keep my child from 100% of everything that will be bad for him, but I can teach him to know the difference between right and wrong, and how to spot harmful content and people to avoid. Because I don’t want to open a bank statement or a credit card bill to discover that my kid’s donating a lot of money a month behind my back to someone who keeps threatening suicide if their “real fans” don’t give them money.
And that’s a very big problem as well here. Something that not only irritates me but frightens me about certain types of YouTubers with large followings of young teens and kids. They could be really chill and awesome role models like Markiplier (who legitimately does care about his fans), or they could be utter garbage fire of human beings like Anna and Rick (who routinely use their fans as a personal army to attack detractors and to fund themselves through avenues like Patreon by honestly making their young fans believe if they don’t get at least $1 from you then you’re not a real fan and they’re going to off themselves). I mean hell, usually I don’t shy away from naming and shaming, but here I am using made up names for these people because I don’t want to contribute to the cycle of abuse they use on their young fans by becoming another target for them to be aimed at.
That’s just fucking sad.
On the plus side, I get to watch – for free because I use multiple adblock extensions – YouTube drama whores cannibalize themselves without having to pay for cable or anything, and legitimately know that what I’m watching may be scripted but it’s much closer to reality than any reality TV show could possibly get.