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10 Most Controversial YouTube Stars of All Time

Like every medium, YouTube has its fair share of bad apples. After all, a service that emphasizes freedom of expression is bound to attract those who thrive off of controversy. It’s unfortunate, because YouTube is home to a great many content creators, whose videos have enriched the lives of millions of people.

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Sadly, their contributions are often overlooked by the press, particularly when dealing with troublesome creators. The YouTubers on this list have managed to step on a few feathers over the years. While we may not dislike them personally, we can see why some fans hate their guts.

10 TJ Kirk

Thomas Kirk, who once operated under the name The Amazing Atheist, was one of the first major atheist channels on YouTube to reach widespread popularity. Since his first video was uploaded in 2006, Kirk has become a leading voice among the site’s freethinking subculture.

Unfortunately, Kirk has gotten himself involved in movements other than Atheism, who some may argue diluted his message. Kirk has become heavily involved in anti-feminism, and he once attacked a sexual assault survivor online, using graphic language that crossed way beyond the bounds of good taste.

9 Calvin Vail

Better known by his alias Leafy, Calvin Vail had, at one point, one of the fastest growing YouTube channels. Through LeafyIsHere, Vail gained millions of views making commentary videos, where he roasted strange YouTube videos and voiced his opinion on various dramas.

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However, Vail found himself in hot water after he mocked an autistic content creator named TommyNC2010. Vail claimed that he didn’t know that Tommy was autistic, but that didn’t stop his fans from harassing Tommy’s channel. Vail apologized, but the incident tarnished his reputation, and he became known as one of the site’s most prolific cyberbullies.

8 Nicole Arbor

A Canadian YouTuber best known for her rant videos, Arbor rose to infamy thanks to a video called “Dear Fat People.” In it, Arbor seemed to endorse the idea of fat shaming, a move that angered by much of the community. Arbor tried to reason that the video was satirical, but most viewers felt that her explanation was disingenuous.

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Not long after, in early 2016, a tearful video from Arbor’s ex-boyfriend, and fellow content creator, Mathew Santoro, was uploaded, where he alleged that Arbor had physically and emotionally abused him during their relationship. Arbor tried to plead her case, but the bad blood created after “Dear Fat People” lead many to pile on the hate.

7 Carl Benjamin

Under the screen name Sargon of Akkad, Benjamin has become one of the leading right-wing reactionary commentators. He grew to fame during the Gamergate debacle, where he helped propagate a largely unsubstantiated conspiracy theory, alleging that radical feminists were infesting the game’s industry and trying to push an anti-male agenda.

His videos ranked millions of views, and Benjamin is considered one of the leading Gamergate voices. Understandably, this distinction earned Benjamin considerable controversy over allegations of misogyny, and the fact that some of his viewers went on to harass famous feminists with rape and death threats.

6 Logan Paul

The Paul brothers are two of the most loved and hated creators on the platform. While their content provides a steady stream of views, their obnoxious behavior has divided audiences.

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But it was Logan who proved to be the bigger jerk, when he stumbled across the body of a suicide victim and decided to film it. The video was taken in Aokigahara, a forest in Japan that has been the site of countless suicides over the years. The video was beyond tasteless, especially since children make up a considerable amount of his viewer base. The graphic video has since been taken down, but its legacy will haunt Paul for the rest of his career.

5 Sam Pepper

One of the propagators of the term ‘social experiment,’ Sam Pepper tapped into the prank channel trend that dominated YouTube in the middle of the decade. However, it seemed Pepper’s idea of a ‘prank’ was groping women without their consent.

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While Pepper later claimed that the stunt was scripted, it didn’t stop the torrent of sexual harassment allegations that followed. Pepper has been accused of rape and sexual misconduct by many women over the years, all of which he has denied.

4 Alex Jones

YouTube has been struggling with the issue of conspiracy theorists for a while now, as their predisposition to spread misinformation has resulted in real-world problems. One of the biggest voices in the world of conspiracy theories is Alex Jones, who frequently finds himself at the center of such debates. The creator of Info Wars, an alternate news site that predates YouTube itself, Jones used the service to spread theories involving 9/11 truths, chemtrails, and the Illuminati.

But it’s his coverage of mass shootings that have caused the most ire. Jones believes that most of these heartless acts of violence are staged by the government. However ludicrous such beliefs are, there are many who believe in them, some of whom have gone on to harass survivors of such atrocities. After Jones and his followers attacked the survivors of the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school shooting in 2018, people had enough, and Info Wars was purged from YouTube.

3 Daniel Keem

Better known as Keemstar, Daniel Keem is a natural born troll, whose antics can be traced all the way to Halo 3 griefing videos. Today, he is best known for his channel Drama Alert, where he reports on YouTube drama. YouTube drama is already viewed as a scummy topic in and of itself, and as the leading channel on such content, Keem regularly finds himself in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. It doesn’t help either that Keem’s abrasive personality and shoot-from-the-hip style of commentary embroiled him in quite a few nasty incidents.

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One of the earliest of these came in 2016, when his comments on an elderly Twitch streamer named Tony resulted in the poor man getting harassed to the point of tears. Keem offered his apology, but he has continued to find himself in similar situations since then.

2 Marcus Wilton

Under his screen name Lionmaker, Marcus Wilton was one of the biggest Minecraft let’s play channels. That is until he faced accusations of soliciting nudes from minors through Twitter. Lionmaker tried to claim that his account was hacked, but it became impossible for people to believe him after multiple sources came forward, all of them minors, claiming that Wilton had either asked or tried to pay for naked pictures.

Then there was the whole incident where Wilton bragged about being in a relationship with a 15-year-old girl, and posted nudes of her online. Not cool, man.

1 Gregory Jackson

Oh boy, where to start with this one? Better known as Onision, Jackson exploded onto the scene with a number of silly viral videos that racked in millions of views. Then the allegations began. Over the years, multiple women have come forward accusing him of sexual misconduct. He faced accusations of child grooming, and even once admitted that he used a legal loophole to have sex with a minor.

Jackson allegedly worked with his spouse to lure young women into a web of deception and manipulation, where they would exploit them for their own sexual gratification. And yet, Jackson has faced zero repercussions for these alleged encounters. Jackson continues to plead his innocence, though the allegations continue to pile up.

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