Imagine: you wake up in the morning, dreading the day ahead of you. You use your luxury espresso machine to make yourself a double-shot almond milk cappuccino and you Postmates yourself a $17 slice of avocado toast. You go for a “non-makeup makeup look”, some light foundation that leaves the undereye bags and non-waterproof, easily smudgeable mascara. You sit down in front of your video camera and set up a ring light. You put on a designer hoodie because you’re “too upset” to get fully dressed. If this is you, you’re probably a famous Youtuber making an apology video because you’ve just been “canceled”.
David Dobrik, Shane Dawson, Tana Mongeau, James Charles, Laura Lee, PewDiePie, and Logan Paul have all been notable victims of cancel culture. Brook Kato, a writer for The New York Post, refers to cancel culture as “the phenomenon of promoting the “canceling” of people, brands, and even shows and movies due to what some consider to be offensive or problematic remarks or ideologies. Because Youtubers are under the public eye, their wrongdoings and controversies become large-scale scandals. Oftentimes, the backlash results in the Youtuber creating a dramatic apology video.
One of the most infamous examples of Youtube apology videos comes from James Charles after his dramatic 2019 feud with Tati Westbrook. It all began when Westbrook posted her video “Bye Sister,” which attacked Charles for supporting another hair vitamin company when she thought he was loyal to endorsing her own brand of hair vitamins. Betrayed, Westbrook also went on to diss Charles’ personality and sexual history. The backlash and the outcry on social media turned everyone against Charles. So, to “make things right” (reclaim his fame), Charles released an apology video saying “I wish I could say this is the last time that I’d make a mistake, but it won’t be”…and he was right. He makes sure to let his fans know how deeply regretful he is by saying “There won’t be a video tomorrow. My heart is still too heavy.”
Another example of Youtuber drama resulting in an apology video is after Tana Mongeau’s “Vid-con” alternative “TanaCon”, which she promised to be a thrilling event turned out to be a complete and utter failure. In an hour-long video explaining why the event was canceled, Mongeau (with a full face of makeup, but a ponytail to show she’s not trying) points out everything that went wrong and then points fingers at someone else, blaming them instead of taking accountability. Being over the length of a full TV episode, it seems that the video was less of an apology and more of a drama.
On a more political note, many celebrities have been canceled for racist things that they’ve said either in a video or in the past. In 2017, PewDiePie was under fire (rightfully so) for saying “the N-word” during a live stream. As far as apology videos go, PewDiePie seems to be authentic. There’s no fake crying, he doesn’t play the victim, and even the lighting of the video is bad. On the other hand, when beauty YouTuber Laura Lee’s racist tweets were uncovered, her apology video received a highly negative response for being fake and performative. Lee (also with a full face of makeup, but a ponytail to show she’s not trying) is seen drying up tears that aren’t even there. The apology video was arbitrary, it seemed more like clickbait than a genuine apology.
Youtuber apology videos are just that: arbitrary. These videos all contain millions of views, so by following the trend of addressing the scandal through a video, these creators are actually gaining popularity. I do believe that celebrities should be held accountable for their actions, but I think that making an inauthentic apology video to avoid being canceled is unnecessary and extreme. Although at the very least, they provide quality entertainment and juicy, drama-filled talking points for your next Sunday brunch.
Featured Image Via Rangeviewnews.org
Stella Sarett is a freshman writer for the Entertainment section studying Art History & Communications. Her obsession with popular culture and the world of celebrities is apparent whenever you strike up a conversation with her.