YouTube Stars Who Ruined Their Career With A Single Video

YouTubers are placed on pedestals by their subscribers, but that same rabid fanbase has the ability to tear down what which it builds. YouTube has always been a fickle and volatile place, though the stakes are so much higher today than they were in the early days of the platform. When it comes to the top creators, there are millions of dollars at stake, which is why the stars of YouTube have to be extra careful with the content they're putting out. 

The life of a YouTuber can be a fast-paced one, however, and the constant need to keep the views up can sometimes lead even the biggest names astray. So what happens when a YouTube star makes a mistake? That depends on the nature of the mistake. If said YouTuber has a dedicated fan base, they can sometimes weather the storm and survive controversy, but some videos are so offensive that they kill careers on the spot.

Nobody was interested in Pogo's 'social experiment' video

Nick Bertke rose to YouTube fame under the name Pogo. He became known for his trippy remixes, taking music and soundbites from famous movies and crafting them into what The Verge described as "dreamy chillwave" tracks. His music videos have been viewed millions of times and have even been promoted on the official YouTube Twitter account, but unfortunately for Bertke, a video he recorded back in 2016 came back to haunt him. In summer 2018, said video reemerged and brought his successful career on YouTube to a grinding halt.

In the NSFW video, Bertke expresses wildly homophobic views and uses deeply offensive language, referring to gay people as "an abomination" and championing the 2016 massacre at gay nightclub, Pulse. "I've always had a very thorough dislike of homosexuals," Bertke said in the shocking video. "I've never liked a grown man acting like a 12-year-old girl. I've always found that to be quite disgusting."

Why would anyone think that sharing such extreme views on YouTube was a good idea? In a now-deleted quasi-apology video, Bertke claimed (via The Verge) that he was simply conducting a social experiment of sorts. "It has never been my intention to hurt people or to offend people," he said. "I feel very strongly that it's been very naive behavior on my part." He was well on his way to surpassing a million subscribers at the time of the incident, but, unsurprisingly, his career has stalled since.

Latasha Kebe's Cardi B takedown video sparked a major feud

Question marks have been raised over the authenticity of Cardi B's feud with Nicki Minaj, but the former's beef with YouTuber Latasha "Tasha K" Kebe is very much the real deal. The gossip vlogger made a video about the rapper that backfired big time — Cardi B sued for defamation. Kebe (who has made a few different videos bashing Cardi B) has called the "Money Bag" singer a prostitute, claimed she had herpes, and that she does drugs, The Blast reported. The rapper asked for unspecified damages and demanded that every video Kebe has ever made about her be taken down, but the YouTuber fired back with a lawsuit of her own.

According to court documents obtained by The Blast, Kebe is claiming that she's the one who has been defamed, pointing to the fact that Cardi B called her a "h**" and a "dumb a** b****" on social media. According to the rapper, Kebe's suit is nothing but "a transparent attempt to garner media attention and retaliate." The back-and-forth looks like it might go on for some time, but one thing's for sure — making that first video about Cardi B was a mistake. Kebe claims that she's been on the receiving end of "gang-related threats" since the drama kicked off. She also claims that she's had to move out of her home as a result, and that she's losing subscribers and advertisers, impacting her financially.

Sam Pepper ultimately pranked himself right off YouTube

Prank channels used to be massive on YouTube, but (like reality TV star-turned-YouTuber Sam Pepper) they're old news. Pepper was once a star on the platform, gaining millions of views for his pranks. His videos often pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable, but in 2014, the Brit finally crossed the line. He uploaded a video called "Fake Hand A** Pinch Prank" in which he touched unsuspecting woman in an inappropriate fashion. The backlash was swift and heated. The YouTuber claimed that the prank was part of a larger social experiment meant to "highlight the difference between abuse towards a man and abuse towards a woman" (via BuzzFeed News), but people weren't buying it. "If you're a horrible person, just claim it was a social experiment, then it's everyone else's problem if they're offended," fellow YouTuber Tyler Oakley tweeted.

Pepper went on to claim that the video was staged, but it was too late — his career was in tatters. Multiple women came forward claiming they'd been subjected to sexual abuse from Pepper off camera. In an ill-advised attempt to bounce back, the Brit uploaded a video in which he pranked Vine star Sam Golbach by pretending to abduct him and his friend. In that video, "KILLING BEST FRIEND PRANK," Pepper staged an execution, leaving Golbach in clear distress. It backfired spectacularly. He was branded a "disgrace to our YouTube community" by Cole Ledford. Unsurprisingly, Pepper is now YouTube history. 

One video made Logan Paul 'the most hated person on the planet'

The most famous example of a YouTuber doing irreparable damage to their career with a single video is Logan Paul. He caused major uproar in 2018 when his millions of young subscribers potentially saw footage he uploaded of a man who'd taken his own life. Paul and his entourage decided to take a trip to Aokigahara (a.k.a Suicide Forest) to film a video while in Japan. The wooded area on the slopes of Mount Fuji is notorious for suicides, and, as fate would have it, Paul and co came across a recent victim. Instead of turning back, they filmed the body. The backlash was instantaneous.

"In less than 24 hours I became the most hated person on the planet," Paul later said. "I had made an inexcusable mistake, completely destroyed my image, lost every professional relationship that I had, became the internet's favorite meme and, most importantly, had my eyes opened wide to the consequences of my actions. I felt every ounce of disappointment and hate directed at me."

Much of that hate came from YouTubers, but a number of mainstream celebs (most notably actors Aaron Paul and Sophie Turner) weighed in, too. Paul still has a massive YouTube following, but his chances of parlaying that into a career in the mainstream are now slim-to-zero. Before the Suicide Forest video he was getting friendly with Dwayne Johnson and appeared to be on the verge of a Hollywood breakthrough, but he shot himself in the foot big time.

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

Dear Nicole Arbour: Bullying isn't cool

NBA cheerleader-turned-YouTube comedian Nicole Arbour has been pushing the boundaries of bad taste for years. In 2015, the internet pushed back. The Canadian content creator posted a video entitled "Dear Fat People," which appeared to mock overweight people for views. "Fat-shaming is not a thing," Arbour said in the controversial vid, adding, "Fat people made that up. That's a race card with no race. I'm not saying this to be an a**hole, I'm saying it because your friends should be saying it to you." Angry responses followed in both in the YouTube community and mainstream media. "There are a lot of reasons why people are overweight or obese," Whitney Thore, the star of TLC's My Big Fat Fabulous Life, told ABC. "This idea that shaming us will make us behave better is just ludicrous."

Numerous outlets reported that Arbour was fired from her role as a choreographer on the anti-bullying dance film Don't Talk to Irene as a result of her harmful video, though she refuted these claims at the time, and continues to deny them to this day. Whether she was fired from the film or not, one thing's for sure — "Dear Fat People" killed any chance she had of taking her comedy mainstream. And if that didn't do it, her widely mocked "women's edit" of Childish Gambino hit "This Is America" most certainly did.

This prank video ended it all for Arya Mosallah

According to Acid Survivors Trust International (via The Sun), "the UK has one of the highest rates of acid attacks per capita in the world," which is why a prank video posted by teenage YouTuber Arya Mosallah caused widespread outrage in Britain in 2018. Mosallah's video "Throwing Water On Peoples Faces PT. 2" led to his channel being permanently shut down. He didn't mention acid in the video, but Mosallah's actions resembled an acid attack, and the fact that it was filmed in London (where the majority of acid attacks have taken place) triggered countless people. In a statement, London's Metropolitan Police Service said that they had been "made aware of a man carrying out stunts that may cause alarm or distress to members of the public" and urged anyone who had been a "victim of this man's irresponsible behaviour to contact police."

When Mosallah spoke to the BBC about the incident, he admitted he was thinking about nothing but views. "What YouTubers like to see is views," he said. "Honestly, they don't care about the dislikes or the comments, nothing like that, as long as they get the views they want." His channel had over 650,000 subscribers when YouTube yanked it. He's been forced to start from scratch, but has only managed to pull in around 24,000 subs, as of this writing. Seems like the joke was on him.

Will Brooke Houts' YouTube career ever get out of the doghouse?

Accidentally uploading raw footage to YouTube is something only amateurs do, right? Wrong. In 2019, up-and-coming YouTube star Brooke Houts brought her career to a grinding halt when she accidentally shared an unedited video in which she hits her doberman puppy, Sphinx, a total of three times for playfully jumping up at her as she attempts to film. She also appears to spit at her dog, though she flat out denied this in a lengthy apology posted to Twitter. "I understand how it could look like I did [spit]," Houts said. "Did I get in his face and take unnecessary actions towards him? Yes I did, and that was not the way I should've handled the situation. Did I spit on my dog? No."

The Los Angeles Police Department told Business Insider that its animal-cruelty task force was "looking into the matter," but the department later informed BuzzFeed News that Houts' actions "didn't rise to the level of animal cruelty." PETA wasn't quite as willing to let the YouTuber's behavior slide, however. The animal charity took to twitter after seeing the shocking video, urging YouTube to terminate her channel. "Dogs deserve respect," the tweet read. "If you can't treat them with kindness and instead hit them, don't get one. Attention YouTube, please remove Brooke Houts from your platform." Houts took a short break before coming back with an apology video that was torn to shreds by fellow YouTuber, Amanda the Jedi.

Going to jail is never good for one's YouTube career

You may not have heard of Daniel Jarvis, but if you enjoy watching elaborate pranks on YouTube, you've probably heard of Trollstation. The British channel amassed millions of views with videos such as "Make way for The Queens Guard Social Experiment," in which one of the team posed as a member of the traditionally stoic Queen's Guard in London and lashed out at actors when provoked. Most of their pranks are relatively harmless, but in 2016, Trollstation member Jarvis and three others were jailed for a total of 72 weeks after a video they filmed at London's National Portrait Gallery went terribly wrong.

The YouTubers staged a fake robbery at the art gallery by attempting to walk out of the building with fake paintings, which ended up setting off an alarm. It was supposed to shock visitors, but instead it sent them into a panic, and numerous people were trampled during the stampede that ensued. All four men pleaded guilty to two counts of threatening behavior causing fear of unlawful violence.

The judge presiding over the trial told the YouTubers that they wanted to "humiliate" members of the public and caused "high levels of fear of violence" in the process. "I don't like harming people or making people upset," Jarvis told the BBC. "I hate people crying. I like to see people happy and love making people happy. It wasn't a nice feeling to see people scared."

Did this one video finally cancel Trisha Paytas?

She's been described as a "jack of all trades celebrity" by The Telegraph, but Trisha Paytas is best known for her YouTube channel. She doesn't hold back in her videos, and that's the main reason she's been able to amass millions of subscribers over the years. She shed a chunk of those subscribers, however, in early 2019 when she got drawn into drama with Ethan Klein of h3h3 Productions.

According to Yahoo!, it all started when Klein criticized Paytas for looking "unrecognizable" in her Instagram photos, shining a spotlight on the culture of over-editing. Paytas went off on Klein in a series of tweets (she called him "a disgusting piece of s***") and then proceeded to make a retaliation video that backfired on her — she lost 55,000 subscribers as a result. That wasn't the video that killed her career, however.

In October 2019, Paytas appeared to hammer the final nail into her own coffin when she released a video titled "I AM TRANSGENDER (MALE TO FEMALE)." In it, she makes a series of contradictory and ill-informed claims, telling viewers that she identifies as a "gay man" but also "1000 percent" identifies with her "natural born identity." The backlash was swift, with numerous people accusing her of jumping all over trans issues for views. "I never would want to offend that community," she said in an emotional apology video, but for many (Fellow YouTuber Patrick Starrr included), Paytas had simply gone too far this time.

The 'mob' came for Chris Boutté

Speaking of Trisha Paytas, she's the reason YouTuber Chris Boutté wound up getting canceled. Boutté attracted nearly 100,000 subscribers to his channel The Rewired Soul in his first year on YouTube by making mental health-angled videos about YouTubers. "The Rewired Soul is meant to educate on important topics in psychology, but critics say it's a gossip channel in the guise of mental health advocacy," The Verge claimed when the drama erupted. Boutté (who isn't professionally licensed) found himself in the firing line after Paytas responded to a video he'd made about her. "He acts like he's such an expert," she said. "It's honestly dangerous and it's honestly unhealthy."

This created a snowball effect, with a number of other creators making their own videos criticizing Boutté's approach. "This entire fiasco absolutely ruined me financially," Boutté revealed in his book, Canceled. "With cancel culture and the court of public opinion, there's no spectrum for wrongdoings. In the eyes of the hate mob, I'm no different than Ted Bundy or Charles Manson, and they want people like me sentenced to death." That's a little dramatic, but the backlash was definitely a death sentence for The Rewired Soul, which lost a fifth of its subscribers.

Nikita Dragun jumped into drama when she shouldn't have

Beauty YouTuber Nikita Dragun has been involved in two of the biggest YouTube dramas in recent memory. She was one of the vloggers that went against YouTube makeup guru Jeffree Star in 2018, although she managed to come through that particular scandal relatively unscathed. The same cannot be said, however, of the Tati Westbrook versus James Charles drama that erupted the following year. Westbrook called Charles out for his questionable behavior in a video takedown, and Charles lost a whopping 3 million subscribers as a result.

Charles apologized, but he was considered toxic for a while. The tea was red hot and nobody wanted to get burned, however viewers were dying for some inside knowledge of the situation. Dragun tried to take advantage of this, and it backfired. The beautuber, supposedly a friend of James Charles, informed her Twitter followers that she would be "uploading a very shady YouTube video." Naturally, people watched the video (entitled "What Really Happened") expecting her to lift the lid on the beef, but the video was essentially a 21-minute advert for her beauty line.

Dragun made no mention of Charles, which led to her losing subscribers by the thousands. "You just used your friend's pain and his scandal to clickbait your title," YouTuber Peter Monn said. "That might be shadier than what anybody else has done or said in this whole situation." Dragun still has over 2 million subs, but her shameless clickbaiting left a black mark on her reputation.