A whole lot of drama happened at and shortly after VidCon that I had the good fortune not be be involved in. Nevertheless, I have opinions about these things.
Most of the drama can be placed into two categories. They are:
1) Boundary issues
Some things fall into both categories. Some things do criminally so.
Let’s start with drama strictly relating to boundary issues:
Remember when I wrote in my VidCon primer: “VidCon is still a very new Con and is still trying out cool new things. You don’t want to be the one responsible for ending one of the cool new things, because of selfish reasons.” ?
Well, many of the younger attendants clearly did not get the memo. A horde of fangirls and some fanboys made it their 24 hour goal to stalk and follow their most favorite youtubers. The youtubers in question were young, mostly British and boys.
The fangirls/fanboys camped out in the hallways of the hotel floors where those boys had their rooms. Thus making it impossible for those youtubers to have even an ounce of private time without fear of being overrun by strangers.
At one point I was waiting for an elevator when one of the heart throbs showed up and wanted to get to his floor. A press of fangirls pushed me rudely to the side as they closed in a tight crowd circle around him. I was happy that I could get away from them.
Let me make this very clear right now. VidCon is not youtuber hunting season.
All the popular youtubers who go there and show up and perform and sign are volunteering their time and talent, even though they don’t have to. They put on shows, that are stressful to do in such a crazy and vibrant environment. They sit and sign your stuff and meet with you for hours. They owe you nothing.
They deserve a break and they deserve respect and privacy. If you can’t understand that, you are clearly not mature enough to go to VidCon.
Because there were stalkers who were relentless, still at two in the morning, there will be much stricter security measures next time. It might mean that your favorite youtuber will be on a guarded floor. It might mean that your favorite youtuber will not show up at all, because they don’t want to experience being hunted down ever again.
Congratulations, stalker fan, you just messed up the community experience. Your selfishness killed one of the great things about VidCon.
Let’s move on to sexism:
Apparently it is still okay for male youtubers who are advertising their product to dismiss any criticism they get from a female audience.
My dear boys of youtube, let me tell you something: If you have not lived as a woman, you have no idea what you are talking about. Dismissing the female experience and calling less than enthusiastic responses to your work nothing more than a mean-spirited agenda is not helping your case. It just makes you look bad.
Why anyone would prefer to defend his work by alienating huge parts of his audience is simply beyond me.
Also, if you as a male performer can’t put on a good set without insulting and demeaning women in the process, then I am sorry you suck at being a good performer and at being a decent human being.
Now on to the boundary issues that include sexism:
It is not okay to physically pick up any person who walks along the way and does not know you. That you did that with girls for your personal enjoyment and also made a video about that, shows me that you see girls not as persons, but just as objects to toy with. Let me tell you something: It is not funny. It is not a joke. It is assault. I am very happy that you will never be allowed to come back.
I won’t even go into the alleged rape case. I’ll leave that to the authorities. I just hope that the authorities do get involved. Criminal behavior deserves legal consequences. A simple sorry should not be the end of it.
It is sad that those negative experiences tainted an otherwise awesome experience. But I think it is important that we as a community notice these incidences, talk about them, and make sure they will not be repeated next year. I do know that these bad things are just a tiny fraction of the whole that was VidCon 2013, but they make the whole thing not look very attractive. I for one will promise to pay more attention to these things next year, to speak up and to make sure that everyone feels safe. I hope you will too.
After all, we are an awesome community and I know that most of us DFTBA.