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YouTube shame

08 August 2019 | Lucy Bishop
Ah, the simple life of a Youtuber, talking about what you’ve done for the day on camera and then getting paid to upload it to your loyal fans. I’ve noticed that as YouTube grows in popularity many YouTubers are now being viewed by the world as celebrities of sorts, so anything they do – whether this be good or bad – is quickly put under scrutiny by their fans and the media.

Earlier this month we found out that YouTube star Saffron Barker will be featuring on this year’s series of Strictly Come Dancing, following in the footsteps of last year’s runner up Joe Sugg. A wise move for producers as the opening show of the 2018 series had a whopping 8.1 million viewers tuning in – something that could be down to an increase of 16-year-old girls wanting to watch their favourite YouTuber try his hand at dancing. Perhaps this year then, will also see a surge in viewing figures.

I’m guessing that Saffron is using this opportunity as a way of increasing her fan base, having already done several interviews for popular magazines and newspapers. I don’t blame her for doing so, as the five seconds of fame she’s experiencing on YouTube can end any moment, so good for her to try and establish herself within the industry.

However, several other Youtubers have been in the news this week after footage posted on their channels has been deemed controversial.

The Ingham Family have been targeted on social media after uploading a video to their channel that shows them leaving their 4-month-old (note the month there) son alone on the beach while they swam in the sea while on holiday in Spain. One fan expressed their outrage on Twitter as they quite rightly pointed out that anything could have happened regardless if the family could see the baby or not.

After receiving a backlash from The Sun and trolls online the family responded by claiming they would never put their children in danger and that they simply went in the water to cool down from the heat. Why anyone would leave their children unattended regardless if the family are able to see them or not (they were quite far from shore!), is beyond me.

Another YouTuber that’s currently trending on Twitter for all the wrong reasons is Brooke Houts. She uploaded bloopers of her recent video to her channel where, shockingly, she can be seen hitting, shoving and spitting on her pet dog. In the video Houts’ Doberman dog named Sphinx, can be seen jumping up to his owner in an excitable manner before he’s hit across the face by Houts in an aggressive way. Later, Sphinx runs up to Houts before being pinned down and spat on (yes, spat on!) by his not so loving owner.

Understandably Houts has received an enormous backlash for her treatment of Sphinx, with many Twitter users claiming the dog should be taken away from her for its own safety and that she is an animal abuser. It’s no surprise that within hours of the video being uploaded it quickly spread across social media, with even PETA speaking out about her behaviour. Before long it came to the attention of the LAPD too, which is investigating the case further.

Houts has defended her actions, stating that she is in no way at all an animal abuser and that she’s in the process of training her dog, but that her aggressive behaviour towards him was unacceptable. Regardless of her apology though, the way she acted towards her dog was unacceptable – and I’m not sure a simple apology allays our fears that all will be well with Sphinx moving forward.

Questions remain as to why they chose to upload the videos (Houts seemed to have done so in error) but whether in error or not they’ve certainly caused a scandal. YouTube followers though are famously loyal, so whether the scandal affects them in the long term remains to be seen. Here’s hoping it doesn’t simply raise their profile and increase their audience!