Previously in March this year, worrying reports hit Tumblr of sexual manipulation of fans by creators in the Youtube community. One of those criticised, Alex Day, acknowledged at the time through a Tumblr post that he had been manipulative in relationships and his idea that ‘only no meant no’ was an incorrect understanding of what willing consent in sexual relationships is. He asked his then record label DFTBA to remove his merchandise from the site, which they quickly did, and apologised before disappearing from the internet for the next six months.
Alex Day’s Tumblr along with this post appears now to have been deleted, but his return to Youtube comes just as further Youtube stars Sam Pepper and Jason Veeoneeye (Jason Sampson) are accused of sexual assault, relationships with underage fans and manipulating the power their Youtube fame granted them.
In a half hour video entitled ‘The Past’ posted to his Youtube channel Nerimon, Day speaks out for the first time about the allegations, hoping that by telling his side of the story he will be able to help the Youtube community. Fans and fellow Youtube creators have en masse disagreed, with petitions to get Day, as well as the other accused male Youtubers, removed from Youtube partnership – the programme that allows Youtubers to make money from adverts on their channels.
Youtube user Neafcy posted a response video entitled ‘Why I don’t believe Alex Day’ in which he discusses the syntax of Day’s original video and casts doubt on the genuineness of his apologies. In particular he focuses on how Day addresses only the smaller incidents, for example an underage girl who felt uncomfortable in his presence, and fails to address the more significant allegations, claiming that it is to protect the privacy of the girls involved. Neafcy however suggests that this is Day’s way of manipulating the situation to try and remove legitimacy from the girl’s claims.
Alongside his return to Youtube comes the publication of Day’s new book, The Underground Storyteller, leaving fans questioning whether his return to Youtube is merely a promotional tool after all.
[Emma Ainley-Walker – @emaw23]