I’ve always been a fan of YouTube. I love the musicians, the personalities, the sketches, the vlogs, the merch, and the community it’s built. But recently, some things have been coming up that make me uneasy about this thing that I’ve loved so dearly for years.
For those of you who haven’t heard what’s going on, last week, quite a few girls came forward (via Tumblr) and wrote posts telling of their sexual encounters with YouTubers and musicians Alex Day and Tom Milsom. There were a few other names mentioned – most of them turned out to be extremely untrue (Dan Howell, Phil Lester, Tyler Oakley, and Charlie McDonnell, just to name a few,) and some turned out to be extremely true (Tom, Alex, Luke Conard, Alex Carpenter, again, just a few.) If you want to read more about the happenings, there’s a master post here that has everything that’s gone down that you need to know about. This is just my personal feelings and, well, ramblings, since I don’t really know how else to cope with it.
Even though I wasn’t personally involved in any way, shape, or form, I still kind of ‘grew up’ watching these guys and listening to their music (Alex and Tom, that is.) So to reiterate, I’m coming at this purely from a hurt fan’s perspective who has probably read more than she needs to on the topic, and almost a week later, still is confused on what exactly to think.
Anyway, like I said, I grew up listening to Alex Day and Tom Milsom. I’ve killed so many hours that I should have been doing homework watching these guys’ videos. I played their music on my local radio station and told people to support their music and sent listeners to their videos. I forced my friends to listen to “Forever Yours”, “Lady Godiva” and “Indigo” on repeat in the car. Almost a year ago I was dealing with some things, and I listened to nothing but Alex’s “I’ve Got What It Takes” for the entire drive from the airport to home – which was roughly four hours. I’ve spent a lot of money on digital and hard copies of their music, and recently I splurged on one of Alex’s ‘Pirates of Love’ t-shirts. Before this week, I was even working on a documentary that up-talked the content creators of YouTube – Alex being one of the first names on the list of people I wanted to work with, and Tom being one of my first-choice musicians that I wanted to showcase.
I wouldn’t call myself an extremely hardcore fan, but I was definitely devoted. Now I’m left in the sticky situation that is trying to decide if I can separate the person from the art. The problem is that I fell in love with their art because of their personalities. I started watching their videos and somehow, I got to know them pretty well. I felt like I was supporting friends. A very one-sided friendship, and a strange one at that, but a personal connection nonetheless.
Recently, I got Tom Milsom’s newest album, Organs, on vinyl. I already had a digital copy and the hard copy of the CD, but his record was what made me want to get a record player. The vinyl came in the mail the day before I found out about every thing. I’ve been able to play it once and truly enjoy it, because now, whenever Alex or Tom comes up on my music playing device, I have to skip the song. Whenever I focus too much on this subject, my heart breaks all over again. These two guys truly were two of my favorite musicians and YouTubers. I made a fake promo last semester in my production class that they were playing a show together, and now, whenever it comes up in iTunes (yeah, for some reason I have it in iTunes,) I can’t handle the strange emotions that come from listening to that spot I made just a few months ago.
I think what’s hard about this situation for me is that I would turn to their music when I was upset or in a situation where I just needed to think it through, especially Alex’s. So that’s confusing. Trying to figure out where to turn to, now that the place I’ve used for years is the source of the problem.
The more I read on the topic, the more confused I feel. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to separate the person from the music and content quite yet, maybe not ever, but I don’t think I’ll be able to go as far as burning the t-shirt or deleting the music forever. I think I’ll just need to take a break from them for awhile. It’s weird going back and seeing their videos (especially collab together) and knowing what was going on at the time or what had already happened at the time.
Beyond confused, I also feel betrayed. In a way, I kind of put my trust in these guys, too. I trusted them to be responsible with the fame they found when they were younger, and I spread the word to people who are loyal listeners of a station I represent.
I’ve been working on this little entry for almost two days, and I still can’t figure out how to say what I want to say, or what to even say. It’s a confusing and weird time, and I wish I was able to talk about it more with people. There’s so much I want to say, but I haven’t figured out quite how to say it. I guess that’s what I was hoping to accomplish with this, but blogging can’t save me all the time, I guess.
If anyone has any words of advice or something, that would be pretty great right now. I’m still conflicted with the whole ‘not knowing what to think’ and denial, but knowing that there’s some other people out there that might feel the same way kind of helps. In a really weird way.