Illustration by Sandra Than.
Due to the pandemic, many people are trapped in their homes. Although this is a tragedy, it has led to a lot of good change, too. People are picking up new hobbies, staying safe, and being more grateful and aware of what they do have. However, there is, of course, the other end of the spectrum: online drama and cyberbullying.
Although internet drama is very widespread today, I feel that more people are aware of it now that we spend most of our time online. The result is something that’s just horrible. I never thought that people would try to ruin the reputation of influencers, for almost no reason. Some examples I would like to mention would be Dixie D’amelio, James Charles, and Pokimane and Fed. If you’ve never heard of these people, these are online entertainers who’ve grown in popularity mostly through social media. This could be through dancing, singing, playing games, showing off other talents, or just being funny. D’amelio has about 50 million followers on Tiktok, James Charles has 25 million subscribers on Youtube, and Pokimane has 6 million followers on Twitch.
To start off, I’ll give one example of a small incident with Tiktok star and dancer Dixie D’amelio. During a video with her housemates and James Charles, she was given a snail to eat by her chef. She felt disgusted by it and threw it up off to the side, but still in front of everyone. Hundreds of people criticized her for being rude to her chef and for having no manners. People made short videos mocking this incident as well. Even after she explained that the chef and crew team were trying to get a reaction out of her and knew she “throws up at the smell or taste of anything a lot,” people weren’t convinced. Some commenters questioned why D’amelio’s team put her through that situation. All it did was make her look bad. Her sister, Charli D’amelio, responded by saying, “If this is the community that I’m in and the community that I put myself in, I don’t know if I want to [create content] anymore,” and “It was all just one huge misunderstanding and I’m sorry, but I think it’s become completely blown out of proportion.” I agree with her and it is so devastating that the community was so toxic for such a pointless reason that the creator started wanting to not be a part of it in the future. These comments actually put down real human beings and discourage them from doing what they love. These “controversies” are rooted in such minor things that I don’t know why people are even talking about it. Just go outside.
Another infamous incident was between James Charles and Tati Westbrooke (both are makeup artists). Tati made bold claims against James, stating he had tried to romance minors, betrayed Tati as a friend, and more. A lot of people automatically believed her and started unfollowing James Charles, denouncing him, and trying to end his career as an internet personality. A bunch of other people online started sharing their own anecdotes about James as well as other baseless rumors. James Charles later came out with his own explanation and debunked a lot of the accusations against him while also admitting that during the time, he went through a dark place because of all this drama. This is a well-known incident because it involved an internet celebrity having their career almost destroyed purely because of baseless rumors. This should have been a lesson to all viewers to check their facts and not bandwagon on online drama, but people are still doing that to this day. Not only that, but cyberbullying can cause permanent damage to another human being physically, mentally and emotionally. Did those bullying PSA’s teach these teenagers nothing?
A final example involves two people named Pokimane (Poki for short) and Fedmyster (or Fed for short) who were both friends and became popular for streaming games. They lived in the same streamer house, a place where multiple content creators work together. Around the end of June of 2020, Fed got kicked out of the house due to allegations of him harassing and bad-mouthing his female friends and coworkers. A few months after his release, someone leaked a Google document containing his response to these claims, including screenshots of private messages that prove his points. Their audience went crazy, blaming Poki, sticking with Fed, blaming this and that, leading to a few more Google documents being published by both sides. Personally, I didn’t read any of them. I’ve heard the jist of it from my friends. I find it to be pointless to try and analyze who is right and wrong about what is supposed to be a private, noncriminal matter between two people. There will always be information we don’t know, different sides to every story, and not everything is black and white. Fed has been kicked out, the house solved it, and that’s the end of that. I think random internet trolls just want to feel rewarded for having a correct opinion, which is ironic because there’s nothing more unfair than determining someone’s worth (who you’ve never met) based on limited information. Just acknowledge what’s happening, and continue on with your life. Get employed.
All of these internet personalities were overwhelmed by baseless drama while the people bullying them simply laughed. We need to realize the harm of trying to ruin careers and “cancelling” people for such minor things. Recognize if your words are doing any good and if the situation is worth addressing. Even if you aren’t the type of person to participate in online drama, call out your peers if they do indulge in these acts and ensure you don’t fall into the same trap in not just online drama, but in your personal affairs as well. A singular tweet from a decade ago is not worth ruining someone’s life or even your life over. Be mindful of what you post and say about others.