“Um, hi. Hello, the Internet. I’ve missed you. Kind of.”
Sitting in an open field, that’s how Alex Day—a YouTube musician who’s largely avoided the Internet ever since no fewer than 14 women accused him of emotional manipulation, coercing them into sex, or, in some cases, sexual assault—started out his first video in months (aside from a vlog talking about turning 25) to tell his side of the story. The video comes only days after a new wave of accusations against British YouTubers Sam Pepper and Jason Viohni came to light.
Like Ed Blann (a.k.a. Eddplant) before him, Day has refrained from making videos after the backlash against many of his former friends and supporters; Day’s last big update was posted seven months ago. He has argued in the past that he and Blann have a right to make YouTube videos and that fans should ignore the allegations against Blann; he also commented on Reddit that he’d written a post that denied doing anything without being 100 percent sure there was consent yet “a million other people chimed in and refused to accept that.”
But now, he’s posted a 31-minute, mostly unedited video titled “The Past.” If you would rather not watch it, there is a transcript available.
He spends part of the video preparing for the backlash and admits he’s afraid of Tumblr's response—saying the community there is “militantly liberal and intolerant of anyone else who doesn’t share their opinion.” He then goes on to explain in detail his perspective of one of the allegations in question, saying he never intended to make anyone feel pressured to do anything they weren't comfortable with, but adds, “ultimately, if that's how they felt, that's how they felt.”
17— the age of the first female fan who accused Alex Day of sexual coercion and manipulation at the time of the alleged incident
3— the number of members of Day’s trock band Chameleon Circuit who have been accused of inappropriate sexual behavior to date
14— the total number of women to date who have come forward to allege that Alex Day sexually coerced or assaulted them
5— the number of months Alex Day waited before he began posting comments on YouTube and Reddit arguing for his right to make a comeback.
(And yes, Alex Day has posted a new YouTube video.)
Tyler Oakley’s arms thrown up mid-fangirl captured entirely in Taco Bell hot sauce.
A Nutella Troye Sivan staring back at you from a white canvas.
This all describes the art of YouTuber and artist Conor Collins, a 25-year-old in Manchester, England, who’s taken a very nontraditional approach to capturing the stars of YouTube, inspired by the nature of their newfound celebrity.
“The people … are quickly becoming famous for just being them,” he explained to the Daily Dot. “Not being footballers or musicians or politicians, but just being them and saying what they thought. As an artist who paints people, this new group of influential people on the Internet tickles my creativity. So it just made sense that if I were to begin to make these portraits anyway, might as well do it in the way which best reflects them—on YouTube!”
The 15-year-old sprang to fame at 13 with a nine-second viral video titled “Calling All the Basic Bitches” that features him twirling his leg and making a special announcement before leaning close to the screen to whisper, “You’re basic.” It’s hard to quantify why the video struck such a chord—to the tune of 2.4 million views—but it spread quickly across blogs and over Gchat, well beyond the teen and tween viewership. In an instant, Quintal became the mascot for a new breed of teen superstar.
In his videos, he’s an unapologetically pure teenager. They’re emotional bursts of reactionary glory, mostly filmed from his mother’s Boston home, where he dishes about pop culture moments, reads hate comments, shares tips for everyday life as a teen, and collaborates with other YouTubers under the moniker of lohanthony, an homage to his favorite celebrity, Lindsay Lohan, who’s now a fan of his.
But he’s not resting on his laurels. He’s amassed more than 1.4 million Twitter fans and a gig hosting MTV’s Teen Wolf aftershow, and he has continued to be one of YouTube’s most popular voices since his start at age 10.
For The Kernel’s Teen Takeover issue, Quintal tells us how YouTube has changed during his time on the platform, which mega-mogul is a Twitter must-follow, and his dream collaboration.