YouTube stardom is a relatively new phenomenon in the entertainment industry, and it comes with a whole lot of downsides. Between young people getting famous and wealthy too fast, industry execs trying to cash in on creators’ popularity, people learning that scandalous behavior gets the most clicks and thousands of impressionable fans hanging on YouTubers’ every word, you have a unique recipe for disaster that can be difficult to avoid.
In the wake of the recent Fine Brothers controversy, we decided to look back at some of the most explosive scandals in the YouTube community over the last several years, based on the amount of mainstream press coverage, viewer backlash and severity of the incident in question.
Sam Pepper’s ass-grabbing prank, whether or not it was staged, is by far the winner of this dubious prize, rocking the YouTube community with accusations of sexual assault and even rape and putting Pepper’s entire career into question. His attempted comeback with another staged prank where he pretends to murder a Vine star in front of his best friend didn’t help matters, and it remains to be seen if the community will accept his recent apology.
Also in the top five are Nicole Arbour’s “Dear Fat People” video, which turned her into one of the most hated people on the internet; lifestyle vlogger Zoella’s debut novel Girl Online allegedly being written by a ghostwriter; makeup superstar Michelle Phan being accused of using unlicensed music in her videos; and British YouTuber Alex Day admitting to having sexually manipulative relationships with young fans.
What YouTube scandals would you put in the top five? Let us know in the comments.