From Logan Paul to PewDiePie, YouTube stars have had their fair share of falls from grace. The social media platform's scandals have ranged in severity from pranks gone wrong to filmed illegal acts that actually earned the YouTuber jail time.
Continue reading to see what kind of scandals have gripped the social media forum's biggest stars.
Even those unfamiliar with the celebrities of the YouTube world heard of Logan Paul's scandal at the very end of 2017, which bled into 2018. The 22-year-old former Vine star sparked severe outrage when he posted a video showing the body of an alleged suicide victim in Japan's "Suicide Forest."
In the video, Paul and his friends laugh at the body and behave disrespectfully toward it. While teasing the clip, Paul said, "I think this definitely marks a moment in YouTube history because I'm pretty sure this has never hopefully happened to anyone on YouTube ever. Now with that said: Buckle the f— up, because you're never gonna see a video like this again!"
The backlash was swift and severe, with YouTube suspending his account and many lashing out against him on social media. Paul tweeted an apology and said he would spend time out of the spotlight. Three weeks later, he posted a new video explaining his hiatus and addressing the social media attacks he received after sharing the "Suicide Forest" video.
"I will never, ever forget who I am at my core and no one can make me think I'm stating otherwise. And as long as I'm learning and improving and getting petter as a person, then we good," he said. "And even though I f—ed up — like, I'm an idiot — it doesn't feel good to have millions of people telling you to go die."prevnext
Jake Paul inherited his older brother's vlogger tendencies and grew a dedicated fanbase throughout his Disney Channel acting career. But in 2017 he made headlines when his neighbors began complaining about the noise and dangers created by him and his team of digital creators — his "Team 10" — all of whom lived in his West Hollywood home.
“We used to be a really nice, quiet street and now we’re just this, like, war zone,” neighbor Maytal Dahan told KTLA. “We’re families here, and we’re more than happy to have them live here if they’re respectful of their neighbors — but they’re not.”
“I feel bad for them, for sure,” Paul said of his neighbors. “There’s nothing we can do, though — the Jake Paulers are the strongest army out there,” referring to his millions of followers.
Amid the drama, Paul was fired from his Disney Channel show, Bizaardvark.
Then, in early 2018, Paul was criticized after saying the N-word during a freestyle rap. A video published by TMZ showed Paul saying the derogatory word twice.prevnext
Felix Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie to his YouTube subscribers, was well on his journey to YouTube fame when he came under fire in early 2017 for sharing a video that featured two men holding up a sign that read, "Death to all Jews."
Kjellberg defended his video, which he admitted was a paid stunt, from those calling it anti-Semitic. He said that he had posted the video "to show how crazy the modern world is."
The video stayed published on his channel for over a month before YouTube dropped him, despite his YouTube Red show slated to premiere its second season. "We've decided to cancel the reals of Scare PewDiePie season 2 and we're removing the PewDiePie channel from Google Preferred," a YouTube spokesperson told Variety.
In 2018, Kjellberg stirred up controversy once again when he called YouTuber Lilly Singh a "crybaby" and an "idiot" after she spoke out about wage and gender equality in the digital world.prevnext
Michael and Heather Martin
Michael and Heather Martin, a Maryland couple who ran a controversial YouTube channel, DaddyOFive, pleaded guilty in September 2017 to child neglect charges and were each sentenced to five years probation. Their channel featured prank videos involving their blended family of five kids, specifically 11-year-old daughter Emma and 9-year-old son Cody.
The parents are not allowed to have contact with Cody and Emma unless approved by a court as part of their probation, prosecutors say. They are also prohibited from filming the kids for posting on social media.
Their videos, which consisted of Heather and Michael destroying their children's belongings and berating and swearing at them, have been removed from YouTube. They continue to make videos of only themselves under the name MommyOFive.prevnext
Monalisa Perez and her boyfriend Pedro Ruiz III, the father of her two children, were slowly gaining YouTube popularity in June 2017 when she accidentally killed him when she shot in him the chest. The criminal complaint against the 19-year-old detailed that they filmed a stunt in which Perez, who was pregnant at the time, shot directly at an encyclopedia that Ruiz, 22, was holding in front of his chest.
In December 2017, Perez entered her plea in the Norman County District Court in Minnesota, and in March 2018 was sentenced to six months in jail.prevnext
Former Big Brother star Sam Pepper posted a video in 2015 called "Killing Best Friend Prank" which featured a masked Pepper "kidnapping" fellow social media stars Sam Golbach and Colby Brock, and forcing Golbach to watch Pepper "shoot" Brock, who was in on the hoax.
Although thousands of people called for the removal of the video, Goldbach defended Pepper, saying the message was "about living life to the full... not taking life for granted and loving it because it's short."
The year before that, Pepper posted a video called "Fake Hand Ass Pinch Prank" where he seemingly pinched unsuspecting women's behinds after asking for directions. Since the video was published, women have accused him of sexual harassment, which he denied. He also said that the video was staged and scripted.prevnext
Dillon Burch was arrested after falsely telling guests at a Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida that there was an active shooter on the property in May 2018, later telling police he was standing a YouTube stunt.
He was sentenced to three days in jail after pleading no contest to disorderly intoxication and disturbing the peace at a public lodging.prev