[Content Warning: links contain occasionally graphic descriptions of emotionally and sexually abusive relationships. Names have been removed]
Over the last few days, allegations of sexual abuse and emotional manipulation have surfaced in the YouTube community. Specifically, the concerns have arisen in the various fandoms connected by DFTBA Records, a music label and merchandise manufacturer for YouTube-based entertainers co-founded by Hank Green and Alan Lastufka in 2008. (Green is also one half of the vlogbrothers YouTube project, along with his brother, young adult novelist John Green.)
DFTBA Records co-founder Alan Lastufka responded to the Milsom allegations by removing Milsom’s products from the site and by donating the profits he had earned by collaborating with Milsom to RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network). John and Hank Green also spoke out in support of her.
After the Milsom allegations were made public, several former fans of fellow DFTBA musician and British YouTuber Alex Day came forward with accusations ranging from outright sexual abuse to general emotional manipulation and lack of respect for boundaries. Alex Day’s initial response read:
At no point in my life have I ever had a sexual relationship with someone under the age of consent. (For full disclosure, I’ve said publicly that I lost my virginity at age fourteen, but the girl in question was sixteen – the UK age of consent – so this point stands.)
At no point in my life have I ever undertaken any romantic activity, sexual or otherwise, without being sure the other person wanted it.
Until yesterday, I thought that I had had only appropriate, though occasionally manipulative relationships with women. However, the model of consent that I followed, not that I specifically thought about it at the time – was that only ‘no’ meant ‘no.’ That is not what consent is.
The result of that belief that ‘only no means no’, is that I spent a long part of my life doing shitty things to good people and barely ever realising or acknowledging that I was doing the shitty things
These are people I know on a human level, not just through a computer screen. And those are the people that it is the most difficult to be disappointed by. But as I stated in my post earlier this week about Tom, this kind of activity is not okay, and we need to help other people in positions of influence or power understand that.
I’m angry that when someone is called out for emotional manipulation, that person gives their point of view in a post on the internet that was obviously crafted to portray that person in the very best light they could be portrayed, and people believe that like it’s not just confirming what has already been said: this person is good at manipulating you until you agree with him.