I have about 1,000 asks that just say “What on earth is happening?” So, let me do my best to tell you.
This week, a young woman came forward who dated Tom Milsom when she was sixteen. She made it clear that that relationship, which ended more than a year ago, was manipulative and exploitative. I talked to Tom about this and he confirmed that the relationship was inappropriate and he regretted it.
I was really angry about it and I released a statement saying as much. After that, I realized how powerful my voice was and was actually a little bit terrified by that. I realized that I had, for a lot of people, made myself seem like the judge and jury of who is a good and bad person and that really freaked me out. I am not an investigation unit, nor am I a court of law. Honestly, I’m still freaked out because I’m worried that, with this post, I’m still doing it.
The positive and supportive response to Olga’s story about Tom enabled some people to come forward anonymously saying that Alex Day had engaged in similar romantic relationships with them that were exploitative and even abusive.
After that happened, several accusations were posted about other YouTubers including Dan and Phil and Tyler Oakley. Those were soon proven to be entirely false and the people who posted them confirmed that they were just making stuff up. I want to reiterate that posting false accounts of abuse undermines the legitimate problems we’re facing and mocks the difficulty that victims face in coming forward and it is a terrible thing to do.
However, the posts about Alex were very credible. But then Alex issued a statement saying he had never engaged in such a relationship.
On a personal note, I then had absolutely no idea what to do. My ask box was 200 asks deep with people asking me to clear the situation up for them, or to publicly condemn Alex or to publicly support Alex. I’d set myself up (accidentally) to look like the omniscient knower of the YouTube community. I was super freaked.
After about a day passed, Alex issued a statement confirming that, in fact, he had been in those relationships and had constructed situations that pressured people into intimacy and had used a model of consent that he admitted was terrible which he referred to “only no means no” which is both extremely disrespectful and a recipe for enabling abuse.
For what it’s worth, my personal read on this situation is that Alex knew he had been shitty and manipulative, but he didn’t realize until the victims came out the extent of what he had done. That does not excuse what he did…the fact that he was so unthinking and irresponsible as to not even notice has its own brand of gross.
This probably goes without saying but I am both furious and saddened that people in my community would have these manipulative, unhealthy, and even abusive relationships. I do not know all of the details of these relationships, nor do I believe it is my place to know, but I have no doubt that Alex and Tom took advantage of people and knew what they were doing and I am so tired of being angry that now I’m just sad.
Thank you for the victims for coming forward and thank you to this entire community for upholding these values in a way that I don’t think any other community in the world would be able to.
If you are in an abusive relationship, or just think you might be, there is help to be had. Sometimes even realizing the nature of your relationship is difficult. And getting out can seem impossible. It is not.
National Sexual Assault Hotline - 1.800.656.HOPE
For international information
This week has been pretty crappy, but it has made me so proud to work with Hank, John, and Alan, who agonised over every moment of every decision, and found themselves the arbiters of justice of the internet. I have so much respect for the survivors who have come forward, and everyone I know who is getting stuck in as much as they are able to tackle the problems endemic in our culture. Thanks for being awesome.