Alex Day, current internet pariah, has just dropped a doozy of a video on YouTube. It’s an interesting sort of thing — he looks like he’s aged considerably, if that means anything, and it’s long. 31:21 is excessive for any sort of video unless there is some real soul searching going on, which, in this case, is ultimately debatable. It’s not NMR’s job to forgive or absolve anyone (though sometimes we condemn them — we’re like Torquemada that way), but at the very least we figured we could break down what Alex has to say into digestable chunks so you could make up your own mind as to what’s to be done with all this mess.
If you’re unfamiliar with Alex’s story specifically, here is the short of it: Around March, when Tom Milsom’s story was making headlines about a relationship with an underage girl, Alex Day voluntarily had himself removed from The Vlog Bros. record label for mysterious issues of a similar nature. Eventually it came out on Tumblr that a few different young girls felt like they’d been pressured by Alex into sexual acts.
Does the internet community at large forgive? Should it? Do you? Here is the breakdown of this massive video; decide for yourself:
1:46 — Alex admits he hasn’t wanted to talk about his side of the story. This is both good and bad — a LOT of time has passed since March, when all this started going down. Maybe it’s been reflective, but it sounds like he was just waiting for the internet’s rage to pass. Rage shouldn’t just “go away” on things like this.
2:16 — Alex explains what happened in the vaguest of terms.
2:53 — “I’ve never really cared what you think of me … if you don’t like it, you can unsubscribe.” Oof.
3:08 — His best friend Charlie McDonnell quit on him and decided he couldn’t call Alex a friend anymore. That sounds like a pretty serious condemnation from someone incredibly close to the situation.
3:44 — “I don’t feel like my defense will really be listened to…”
4:03 — “What I’ve learned …” Okay, good start. “… over the last two weeks …” Oooh, not as good.
4:42 — Sarcasm alert! This video is already so off the rails I would have tuned out a long time ago. There is a lot of humility yet to be gained.
5:37 — Finally we get down to the meat of what happened.
7:35 — First “I’m sorry” — to one of the Tumblr posters.
9:38 — “If that seems like I was hitting on her, that sucks. But I just had her best video-making intentions at heart.” (Editorial cough)
10:20 — “I don’t remember hitting on her at all … she’s 15 …” “She’s a lovely person, but I’m not attracted to her.”
12:10 — “A dozen women have said that it happened so he (Alex) must be a massive rapist.” Alex defends himself by saying the actual sexual assault stories just get lumped in with stories where he allegedly merely hit on girls on Facebook and was rebuffed. And it goes on like this.
14:43 — Okay, we’re halfway in and we’ve still only heard two stories about girls where absolutely nothing physical happened. His choosing to concentrate on these two stories makes me wonder how bad the other stories must be that he doesn’t actionably try to explain them.
15:08 — “There are three people who said — not that I had sex with them, but we ‘did stuff.’ I’m not going to go into detail about that.”
15:24 — “All I can say to that is I didn’t mean to make anyone feel pressured and that I’m really sorry for making anyone feel pressured.”
15:38 — “The only thing I can do at this point is think about it and learn from it … as I’ve already started to.”
16:14 — “To go into detail about those experiences (actual sexual accusations) makes me very uncomfortable.”
16:41 — Alex declares that the “proof” he has that he didn’t actually sexually harass/assault anyone isn’t the “point of this video.”
17:03 — “It doesn’t matter.” (Apparently in reference to that “proof stuff.”)
17:28 — “If they say they felt pressured (the accusors) … then that’s how they felt. … I could believe that they were lying …”
14:48 — “In most cases, it feels pretty reciprocal, man.” (The key word there is “most.”)
18:12 — “I refuse to believe they’re just lying about it for attention or whatever …”
18:24 — “I wish they’d told me (that they felt that way), instead of the internet. In a couple of cases they did … but obviously those conversations were not to those people’s satisfactions.”
18:40 — “They thought I was just a monster that wasn’t learning my lesson and the only way for me to learn it was to make it this public shameful thing and I’ve definitely learned it now so … that helped, in that sense.”
18:52 — “I’m grateful for everything that I’ve gone through … what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and all of that bollocks.”
19:03 — “I feel good about my life.”
19:31 — “People focus on what consent is and how to tell when someone is being consensual — I’ll go into that another time.”
19:35 — “What I think is important is more educating people on how to treat each other … the biggest thing I’ve learned is I’m not just going to try and have sex with people.”
20:08 — “I’ve made a few YouTube videos about how I’ve been a shitty person in the past.”
20:44 — “I hadn’t done anything new that was awful … on that scale anyway …”
21:18 — “When I stopped seeing people as ‘What can I get from them?’ there were some people I realized I didn’t want to be friends with any more.”
22:15 — “There are going to be many, many people who don’t think this (explanation? apology? defense?) is going to be good enough.”
22:55 — “I guess you can say, (for) maybe a few people, me making this video has made their lives worse.”
23:05 — “My hope is that more people will be eased by it.”
23:20 — “I’m sick of standing by and not trying to ease it, not trying to make things a little bit clearer.”
23:25 — “I’m not a rapist … I’m not a sexual predator. I’ve never forced anyone to do anything if I understood they didn’t want to.”
23:45 — “Lindsey Williams is sort of the main person who champions my dismantlement from YouTube … my removal from your existences … used to be one of my best friends. And I still care about her a lot.” (dog barks, Alex grins) “The universe is objecting to me saying this.”
24:24 — “I definitely took her for granted in a lot of ways … and, uh, I would never do that again.”
25:04 — (rehashing Lindsay’s 2nd Tumblr post) “I know that if I’d said ‘no,’ that he (Alex) would have stopped … The point is that she felt like she couldn’t.”
25:56 — “What do we do from here? We can either keep complaining about this forever, umm, or we can try and figure out what we can learn from it. And I’d like to start there.”
26:10 — “At some point soon, I’m going to make a video about where we can go from here … as a community …”
26:48 — (after saying he was going to post this online) “I’m not going to read the comments, you can say whatever you like …”
26:53 — “I’d like to clear something up briefly and I probably shouldn’t be saying this … because it’s like well-kept secret of the perpetrators of YouTube … but, um, a lot of people have come under scrutiny for deleting YouTube comments. Like a lot of people think I delete my YouTube comments if anyone mentions ‘the scandal’ or stuff like that … If you’ve ever watched my videos, you should know I don’t care enough to spend my time doing that … I don’t want to sit for hours on the internet trying to censor people … so YouTube has this feature called a ‘Blacklist.’ Basically how it works is that you put words into the comment section, like you put banned words, basically, and if anyone comments with those words … they won’t show up. Like their comments will automatically become ‘pending for approval’ … So if you wrote a comment calling me an asshole, and it didn’t show up, that’s probably why. It’s not because I saw it and deleted it, it’s because I got YouTube to sort of do it for me.”
28:15 — “I’m going to keep making videos as long as I have things to say … and I do have more things to say.”
28:32 — “I didn’t script it (his video) or think about what I was going to say, really.”
28:50 — “At some point you just have to start sticking up for yourself.”
29:15 — “Someone that I care about a lot recently said to me that I shouldn’t be on the internet because I make people feel vulnerable … I make people feel unsafe. And I realized, ‘that’s my fault.’ It’s not their fault for saying I’m like this awful person, it’s my fault for not trying to correct them. And I didn’t correct them because I didn’t care.”
29:35 — “I keep losing friends, people are constantly unfriending me every day or every week and they don’t tell me why. I suddenly had this moment of insight where I thought, ‘It’s my fault.’ They don’t hear anything to go on — they hear all these awful things about me and they just have nothing in my defense.”
30:24 — “If you’re upset by this or offended by this or of you’re angry by this, then I’m really sorry. I think the best thing to do would be to not watch my videos again … it’s probably not going to get any better for you. But I didn’t mean any harm … as always.”
Wow, half an hour and a total of three “sorrys.” And there were at least 13 incidents that he could find of issue, so there you go. Sometimes if you give someone enough rope, I guess they hang themselves. The YouTube community has already supplied a whole bag of “nopes” over this video — many won’t even bother watching it:
I haven’t watched Alex Day’s new video but nope nope nope nope. You are not a part of this community anymore. What. The. Hell.
— Hannah Witton (@hannahwitton) October 5, 2014
Alex Day belittled, pressured and generally exploited me when I was at my most vulnerable. so STOP telling me how I should feel.
— Lex (@lexcanroar) October 6, 2014
And we’d be remiss if we didn’t post a link to Connor Manning’s response to the vid. Several Tumblr accounts are posting full transcripts of Alex’s response so as not to contribute views. It’s up to you if you want to go that route, but make sure you don’t take the above quotes completely out of the context (for better or worse) that Alex makes them in.
Probably some consideration should have gone into his comments — because a lot of them come off as … icky. I don’t know if redemption is available in this case, but with the Sam Pepper stuff running concurrently … this feels like it’s not a great time to have this discussion. Alex probably should have waited a while longer. But, ultimately, that’s for you to decide.
Share this article because it continues that discussion Alex feels our community apparently needs to have.