After weeks of drama that involved a viral pregnancy video, a miscarriage, the revelation that he was connected to AshleyMadison.com, and a confrontation that led to him being kicked out of Vlogger Fair, Samuel Rader of “Sam and Nia” has tried to explain his actions - but one of the YouTubers he confronted says he’s not telling the whole truth, and his friends are backing him up.
"He failed to mention the part where he wanted me to fight him," the YouTuber remarked, after watching Sam's latest video posted on Tuesday.
In the video, Sam gave his version of why they were kicked out of Vlogger Fair, saying Nia was “really upset” with him and that they’d be taking a break from vlogging for a week or so.
Walking away from the convention, with Nia walking some distance behind him in angry silence, Sam said he’d made a “really stupid rash decision” by approaching two other family vloggers, one who had criticized the couple on Twitter over the miscarriage story, and another who had favorited that criticism.
“They pretty much teamed up and were bullying us, that’s all that it was,” Sam said. “They were bullying our family.”
Sam said he told the first YouTuber that his criticism “extremely hurt our family” and brought Nia to tears, but “we’ve forgiven you, we’ve moved on, we’ve moved past this.”
But the YouTuber in question, who wishes to remain anonymous, told What’s Trending that wasn’t the whole story:
“He said ‘I forgive you for what you said about my unborn child. It really hurt our family and I know that you just did it for attention, and I want to punch you in the face.’
"I just kept intense eye contact and I was waiting to take a hit. I would have proudly for the cause, but I just stared at him and he awkwardly walked off.
“I really didn’t have anything to say to the kid. I still don’t. I still believe what I believe and that’s pretty much it.”
RJ Aguiar, a friend of the YouTuber who was also at Vlogger Fair with his fiancé Will Shepherd, said Sam’s version of events didn’t add up:
“He said that he was aggressed, but no one backed that story up. We were there with the founders of Vlogger Fair in the lounge when the decision was made for him to be removed, [and] they kept saying, ‘He’s in the wrong, Sam’s the one in the wrong.’”
Earlier, when they first arrived in Seattle for the conference, Aguiar and Shepherd had filmed a video saying they felt bad for Sam and Nia over the Ashley Madison scandal, even though they have spoken out against marriage equality and the LGBT community.
“I know what it’s like to have my personal information exposed [when] I don’t want it to be,” Shepherd said. “I just don’t think anything good comes of us perpetuating negativity.”
Aguiar added, “As much as I don’t shed a tear whenever hypocrisy is exposed, people are taking it upon themselves to play the role of investigator, judge, jury and executioner when it’s not their place. That’s what I have trouble with.”
He also said he felt uncomfortable that news outlets like PerezHilton.com and Gawker were the ones breaking the story, when they had a history of harassing people and being problematic themselves. (Gawker would later email him and a number of his friends looking for information, but they declined to comment.)
Aguiar told What’s Trending that he and his friends barely saw Sam and Nia at the conference, and they saw no sign of anyone approaching or harassing the couple over the Ashley Madison scandal.
“No one had any intentions of doing anything or saying anything in that regard. It was just an ‘all eyes on them’ situation of ‘How are they going to respond to this, are they going to disappear, are they going to cancel everything, or are they going to try and address this and nip it in the bud?’ We just didn’t know what was going to happen.”
Singer/songwriter Meghan Tonjes gained a lot of attention from Gawker and other media outlets after she called Sam and Nia out on Twitter over the weekend. She was responding to a now-deleted tweet from the couple’s account, saying: “It’s sad when members of this community of vloggers become competitors and bullies of other families. #unspokentruth #familyvlogs”
Tonjes elaborated on the incident in a video posted on Monday afternoon, saying she liked Sam and Nia’s viral pregnancy announcement. “This is a video that I totally shared. I watched it a million times. I thought it was so cute.”
She also didn’t like the harsh things people were saying about the couple. “I had the conversation with a few different creators, even at [Vlogger Fair], where I was like, ‘It makes me very uncomfortable. I kind of just wish the internet as a collective would just decide, okay, this is done now - now we’re going to focus on anyone else.’”
Tonjes said that she saw Sam backstage at one point and was careful to avoid him. But a few hours later, she was hearing rumors that Sam had put together a list of people at VloggerFair that he planned to confront over their reactions to the pregnancy/miscarriage story.
She knew about the first confrontation, and later heard about a heated exchange between Sam and a different creator, who was holding his child at the time, over certain tweets he had favorited.
Tonjes praised VloggerFair for removing Sam and Nia, saying it was any conference’s responsibility to make sure creators and guests felt safe:
“Everyone was trying to be nice, but [they were] also super uncomfortable, and no one really knew how to deal with it. So to be in the middle of that, and then to have enough ego to decide that you’re going to go up and instigate things - that’s a choice, and the consequence for that is once other creators start to feel threatened or unsafe, you’re getting removed. Which they did.
“The thing is, it had been documented at this point that this guy has said he wants to be famous, he wants to be huge. Once you open that up to the world and to the internet, people are going to start collecting receipts. They’re going to start questioning your authenticity. They’re going to start questioning your motivation for what you’re doing.”
Despite the blowback she’s receiving, Tonjes said she was glad she responded to Sam and Nia.
“It’s not bullying to hold people accountable publicly, for something that they’re publicly doing and publicly putting out there and publicly responding to, and twisting to make themselves look better, or not look as culpable of what they’re doing. I’m just not here for it. You tell the universe you want to be famous, you better be real clear on what you want to be famous for - because it listened, you’re famous, but it’s not for something good.”