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YouTube can be the easiest way to waste a few hours. You go on it to watch a vine compilation or a make-up tutorial and before you know it, you’ve spent four hours falling down the YouTube rabbit hole. While this platform has made stars out of many of its creators, it has come at a cost.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the most controversial creators to ever grace YouTube:
1. Jefferee Star
Love him or hate him, everyone has an opinion on Jeffree Star. He’s one of YouTube’s most successful beauty gurus with over 9 million subscribers to his channel. But he hasn’t earned that crown without a few scandals along the way.
Jeffree has been accused of racist behaviour on multiple occasions, as well as being known for having an aggressive and unforgiving attitude towards his haters. He has also had his fair share of drama on YouTube, starting beef with many fellow creators and gurus, including Kat Von D and Gabriel Zamora.
He recently decided to confront his previous controversies in the YouTube series “The Secret Life of Jeffree Star”.
2. Shane Dawson
The man behind the five part series “The Secret World of Jeffree Star” is no stranger to controversy himself. A heavyweight in the world of YouTube, Shane has been a creator on the platform for 11 years, and is popular for his conspiracy theory videos.
But he has been heavily criticised in recent years over the use of blackface in some of his older YouTube videos. He also faced fresh controversy at the start of 2018, when he was accused of promoting paedophilia when a podcast of his from 2012 resurfaced, featuring extremely offensive content.
3. The Paul Brothers
2018 has been a year of scandals for the Paul brothers. Older brother Logan started off 2018 with one of YouTube’s biggest controversies, after he uploaded a video of him exploring a well-known Japanese “suicide forest”. Many viewers were disgusted that he had little regard for mental health as he explicitly filmed a hanging victim and appeared to mock them.
He was also accused of disrespecting Japanese culture in the travel vlog he uploaded to his channel days later. As a consequence of his controversial uploads, he was dropped from YouTube’s Preferred programme.
Younger brother Jake has also had his fair share of bad press of late. The 21 year old former Disney actor first landed himself in trouble in mid-2017, when he made his home address public to fans, which resulted in hoards of them continually showing up in his neighbourhood.
This led to noise complaints from his neighbours and a public nuisance lawsuit was filed by Cobra Acquisitions, suing Jake Paul for $2.5 million. As a result, Jake was also dropped from the Disney show Bizaardvark.
4. James Charles
The 19 year old beauty guru first rose to prominence in 2016, when his yearbook pictures went viral and he became CoverGirl’s first male spokesman and “CoverBoy”. He was accused of racism after he tweeted an offensive joke about Africa and the Ebola virus in February 2017. He was also exposed in March of the same year of falsifying the truth of his viral yearbook pictures by fellow YouTube beauty guru Thomas Halbert.
He also faced backlash from Ariana Grande fans earlier this year when he labelled her the rudest celebrity he had ever met in one of his YouTube videos.
5. Tana Mongeau
20 year old Tana became well known on YouTube for her “Storytime” videos, were she would give viewers an insight into crazy stories that have happened in her life. One of her first controversies was in early 2017, when she was accused using racist language.
Her biggest controversy to date, however, is the infamous TanaCon. After being banned from the Youtuber convention VidCon in 2017, Tana announced in May 2018, that she would be hosting her own version, titled TanaCon. The event was a disaster, with the venue, The Marriott Hotel in Anaheim, not fit for capacity. This led to attendees being left waiting outside the venue for hours without food or water. It was even reported some attendees were brought to hospital due to severe sunburn, dehydration and fainting. Tana was criticised for the handling of TanaCon and the lack of professionalism handling the backlash.
Her most recent controversy was just earlier this month when she was accused by fans of using rapper Mac Miller’s death for her own fame.
Felix Kjellberg, also known by the name PewDiePie, is the man behind YouTube’s most successful gaming channel. He was the most subscribed to channel in 2013, and as of June 2018, his channel has received 18 billion views.
But controversy struck when PewDiePie began to expand his channel and began posting non-gaming focused videos. He faced backlash after he was filmed using a racial slur in one of these videos and has also been accused of using anti-Semitic imagery in multiple videos. As a result Maker Studios cut ties with the creator in 2017.
His most recent controversy was in July 2018, when he faced a barrage of anger from Twitter users, after making a distasteful and offensive joke about Demi Lovato’s addiction issues.
By Sarah Donnelly