Break the cycle of YouTube apologies

By Kourtney David | Copy Editor

If you’re like me, you’ve been spending way too much time on YouTube since you were about 12 years old. I watched the classics— like PewDiePie and Jenna Marbles — and went through the beauty guru phase. Now, here I am, 21 years old, still spending eight hours of screen time per week on the app.

While I have kept up with all the great things YouTube has to offer over the years, I’ve also kept up with the rise of cancel culture, the drama in the community and the really bad YouTube apologies. It can seem like content creators live inside our screens — as many are much less prevalent than traditional celebrities — but they do live real lives, and their actions have real consequences. It’s time that YouTubers are held to the same standards that anyone else would be if/when they mess up.

The YouTube apology follows a simple formula, but many who have used it have found it’s not very effective. First, the video is probably uncut and filmed in low resolution because less production obviously means the apology is more genuine. The person apologizing will usually wear no makeup or cry it all off and speak in a sad, low tone to indicate that they’re truly sorry. The most important factor of the YouTube apology is the constant deflection and lack of change we will see after.

A couple people have become veterans of the online apology, namely James Charles and Tana Mongeau. Even those not involved in the YouTube community can probably remember “dramageddon” with Charles at the forefront and Mongeau’s infamous Tanacon. While they have been involved in serious and dangerous allegations, both still have a booming platform full of fans who are ready to forgive and defend their actions time and time again.

Another person worth noting — who both is timely and ties Mongeau and Charles together — is Shane Dawson. Last year, Dawson was involved in a number of controversies involving his past videos and actions. While he may have been able to scoot past these things before, this time he was forced to leave YouTube.

Many speculated Dawson would make a return to YouTube, and they were right, as he has recently released part one of a series completely about himself. Did his time apart from the internet change him in any way, maybe fix his attitude toward his past or make him more virtuous? If you ask me, no, it didn’t.

We have to stop acting like leaving the internet for a couple months or a year is going to solve anything for anyone. The content creators probably aren’t feeling much punishment as they sit in their multimillion dollar houses in Calabasas or continue to sob on social media, as the popularity for their unpopular actions just gain them more money. Some of the things these people have done are crimes, yet fans turn a blind eye when it’s their favorite creator. YouTubers are just people with a platform, and it’s time that they act like it and face those consequences.