YouTube star Matthew Santoro has spoken out about being in an abusive relationship that he says isolated him from his friends and family and damaged his career and emotional wellbeing.
“This is not a video I ever thought I would make,” he begins in the 14-minute video. “I’ve decided to make a video discussing something that I never thought I would discuss publicly. It’s embarrassing…” he said, becoming emotional.
Without naming the individual, Santoro talks about an abusive relationship that lasted nearly a year. While it started out “better than you could ever imagine,” the woman soon began manipulating him to push away his friends and family and focus his entire life around her.
“This individual that I was with was extremely jealous - viciously jealous. If I had a female friend, I must have been cheating on her with them.”
On one occasion, Santoro says, they were having an argument and the woman hit him in the face. “When someone you care about strikes you, there’s so many emotions that go through you, it’s almost indescribable. You feel sadness, you feel shame, you feel embarrassment.”
Santoro recorded and privately uploaded the video last September, but a few days ago he accidentally made it public. He quickly made it private again, but when he saw the outpouring of support the video received, he decided it was something his viewers needed to see.
It's common knowledge that Santoro recently broke up with controversial YouTuber Nicole Arbour of "Dear Fat People" fame, and the details of his story match the account of the relationship by Santoro's friend Rob Dyke.
“The reason I’m making this video is not to disparage anyone, it’s not to pull anyone down,” said Santoro, breaking down. “It’s to tell you that domestic violence knows no gender. It happens to men and women. And it’s something that men never talk about, because we’re made to believe that we’re supposed to be strong, and I never talked about it because I thought that no-one would believe me, no-one would give a shit.”
He tearfully urged anyone else dealing with an abusive relationship to talk about it. “Whether you’re a man or a female, if somebody hits you, tell somebody. Tell a family member, tell a friend. Don’t bottle it up. Because it will do damage to you that will last for years.” He urged victims of abuse to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit www.thehotline.org.
Nicole Arbour has since responded to Santoro's video, saying that his story isn't true and that he actually abused her by putting her personal life on the internet and using his platform to try to damage her career. (She also said "I think there's something seriously wrong with YouTube, and it's the obsession with manufactured drama," which, considering her current business model of provoking outrage to get views, is a bit ironic.)
Our host Jay Walker sums up the situation: