- A YouTube channel called Coffee Break released a video accusing prominent science channel Kurzgesagt of being untrustworthy and released one-sided emails of his conversations with its founder, Philipp Dettmer.
- Coffee Break says Dettmer deleted videos off the Kurzgesagt channel that had misinformation in them, but only after he knew Coffee break was working on a project that would criticize one video.
- Dettmer responded to questions in an AMA on Reddit explaining his side of the story and allowed for the full emails to be released.
Popular YouTube channel Kurzgesagt has been accused of being untrustworthy by smaller YouTuber who was preparing to release a video critical of Kurzgesagts “Addiction” video.
Kurzgesagt is a well-known science channel with over 8 million subscribers. The channel is most known for its“In a Nutshell” videos, which take complex topics and break them down into more digestible pieces.
On Tuesday, a YouTuber named Stephen, from the channel Coffee Break, posted a video where he breaks down an experience he had communicating with Philipp Dettmer, Kurzgesagt’s founder.
Stephen starts his video with the question, “Can you trust Kurzgesagt videos?” to which he responded, “No. And, ironically, the reason you can’t trust them is that this video exists at all.”
He goes on to say he is working on a series about the “pop-science” genre, and how the simplification of complicated topics can lead to misinformation.
He specifically sites a TED Talk by Johann Hari called “Everything you know about addiction is wrong,” and Kurzgesagt’s 2015 adaptation of the TED Talk called “Addiction.”
Stephen said he reached out to both Hari and Dettmer to talk about the video and ask questions about possible errors in it. He said Dettmer responded almost immediately and requested to not be quoted. As a result, Stephen only shares his half of the emails in his video and gives paraphrased versions of Dettmer’s emails.
After the Coffee Break video was uploaded, Dettmer posted an “Ask Me Anything” post on Kurzgesagt’s subreddit, so people could ask him questions regarding the video.
In the thread, Dettmer authorized the release of his half of the emails, which were uploaded into an imgur file almost immediately by Stephen.
Stephen shows his first email to Dettmer, saying that he emailed him on Feb. 2 with “some tough questions about the video on Addiction that Kurzgesagt did.”
He continued that because the video was one of Kurzgesagt’s most popular, he was “worried that some of the major claims in that video are vastly simplified, if not outright incorrect.”
Stephen also asked: “Did Kurzgesagt conduct an independent fact-checking of Johann Hari’s book before agreeing to this?”
Stephen then paraphrases Dettmer’s first email in response: “Essentially he’s not thrilled about the interview or video idea, he was worried that the video might be a call out. He basically says ‘hey the addiction video wasn’t perfect, but I feel it was good enough.'”
However, in the actual email, Dettmer directly says he would “not make a video like that today for obvious reasons.” He acknowledged that “it’s not difficult to find criqitue of Hari’s work nowadays,” but said it was not common when the video was made.
Dettmer then says that he has received “countless messages” from people who told him the video helped them, and so he could not bring himself to take it down. He concludes his email by saying while addiction is a complicated topic, he believes the video can exist as a helpful opinion.
It’s also important to note the criticisms of Hari. Hari’s argument is that addiction is largely psychological, and not chemical, a theory that has received pushed back from many experts.
The main thing to note here is a question posed by Stephen in his original email, where he askes if Dettmer was aware of a public scandal Hari had that “threw his credibility in question.”
The scandal Dettmer is referring to was from back in 2011, when Hari was accused of plagiarizing other journalists work, and then anonymously editing Wikipedia pages to discredit people who criticized him.
Stephen then describes the next two email interactions with Dettmer, saying he shared his idea and some criticism. He said that Dettmer responded by saying he was busy traveling, and told him to wait until early March for an interview.
However, there are important parts of these emails that Stephen does not talk about in the video.
In Stephen’s email, he does explain his project, but he also challenges Dettmer’s claim that criticisms of Hari’s work were not available at the time, writing: “There are problems with Hari’s work, not just looking back from 2015, but holes in his research that were easily available at the time.”
Dettmer responded in his email that he did confront Hari about the critique, but that he was not comfortable discussing it with Stephen, because he felt Stephen’s project was a gotcha video.
After showing the emails, Stephen launches into the main accusations he’s making:
“And March 3 was the day I found what Philipp had been really busy doing, too busy to answer my questions. He had been busy making my video, for me, for his channel. He even did me the favor and interviewed himself by answering all my questions.”
Stephen goes on to show clips from the video and how they correspond with the questions in his emails. He then goes on to show clips from the video where it talks about how oversimplification can be distorting and provides a brief clip where Kurzgesagt says they deleted the addiction video.
However, in Kurzgesagt’s full video, they actually go in depth as to how they conduct research and how that system has evolved over the years.
They say that some older videos do not live up to current standards and that they have been trying to figure out what to do with them for a while. The video then says they were not proud of the video about addiction and another about refugees, and so they removed them.
Stephen then accuses Dettmer of preempting his own research and stalling the interview so he could get ahead of the criticism. He adds that it is unfair for larger creators to steal content from smaller creators and goes on to say that there is no way this could be a coincidence.
However, Dettmer refutes this in the AMA.
When asked if he removed the addiction video because of the Coffee Break video, Dettmer says that he had been working on script regarding the addiction video and removing it for two years, but did not want to tell Stephon because he believed his video was going to be a “hostile takedown.”
Finally, Stephen talks about Johann Hari.
He shows a clip from “Can You Trust Kurzgesagt Videos?” which said: “The addiction video was based on only one source that has amassed a lot of criticism over the years, that addiction is purely physiological and based on the life circumstances of the individual.”
Stephen explains that Hari does not believe that addiction is purely psychological and that that idea was only a simplification that came from condensing his book into a 15 minute TED Talk.
He says if you look at Hari’s book and any interview’s he’s done, he does not actually hold such a simplified view and assets that Dettmer never read Hari’s book.
Stephen then plays a clip of a phone conversation he had with Hari, where he essentially says no one believes that addiction is purely environmental or purely chemical, and accuses Dettmer of scapegoating Hari and portraying him as crazy.
Dettmer refuted this as well on the AMA. When asked if he did read Hari’s book, Dettmer wrote: “Of course I did. After reading it, I very enthusiastically emailed him and asked him to collaborate on the video.”
Dettmer also noted that Hari wrote most of the script, “Which is the reason why it has such a big overlap with his Ted Talk.”
The Two Email’s Not Discussed
There were also two emails included in the imgur file that Stephen did not talk about in his video.
In the last of Stephen’s emails that he released, he says that he spoke to Hari, and that his story changed considerably after their conversation.
That conversation might explain why Stephen starts defending Hari’s work later in the video. Stephen also does not discuss the controversies he claimed discredit Hari and prove that his work could be considered “false information.” A fact that is worth noting because the discussion of the factual basis of Hari’s work was a huge talking point in the emails between Stephen and Dettmer.
The final email was actually from Dettmer on Feb. 21. He asked Stephen to send him questions and tells him he can talk to him the next week.
Stephen never responded to Dettmer’s email asking him for questions and trying to schedule the interview.
This fact was pointed out in a Reddit thread and Stephen responded by saying the only day he could have done the interview was March 1. He says that day he was busy polishing a video and before that he was on vacation.
The timeline here is odd because one of Stephen’s biggest complaints is that he was never given an interview before Kurzgesagt’s video was released.
However, it seems like he was given an interview, and he was just busy.
It is also clear that he never even sent the questions to Dettmer, which could indicate the interview was not actually a top priority for him.
Finally, Stephen concludes the video by saying you can only trust Kurzgesagt to do what’s best for himself and his channel and to make him look good, even if it means taking other people’s research, saying: “Simply put, I don’t think you can trust him to do the right thing when no one’s watching.”
Rogue Rocket reached out to Dettmer for comment and he responded with the following statement:
I didn’t stall him with malice in mind, but I also didn’t motivate him to work faster. Of
See what others are saying: (Johann Hari TED Talk) (Kurzgesagt “Addiction”) (Reddit AMA)
PewDiePie’s T-Series Diss Tracks Banned in India
- A court order has blocked PewDiePie’s diss tracks “Congratulations” and “Bitch Lasagna” from being viewed on YouTube in India.
- Indian media company T-Series, which has been competing with PewDiePie to be the most-subscribed YouTube channel, filed a lawsuit against him alleging that his two songs are “defamatory, disparaging, insulting, and offensive.”
- Last month, T-Series temporarily surpassed PewDiePie as the most subscribed channel, prompting PewDiePie to post “Congratulations,” which mocked the company and referenced several allegations made against its chairman.
PewDiePie v. T-Series
India has banned two videos made by YouTube creator PewDiePie from the platform following a court order filed by rival channel T-Series.
Since late 2018, PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, has been squaring off against Indian media company T-Series for the highest subscriber count.
T-Series temporarily passed PewDiePie in late March. In response to the news, PewDiePie posted a video called “Congratulations,” in which he mockingly celebrated T-Series.
In the video, PewDiePie accuses T-Series of pirating songs and refers to allegations against the company’s chairman Bhushan Kumar. Kumar is reportedly being investigated for tax evasion and sexual assault, among other things.
“Congratulations” also mentioned a cease and desist that PewDiePie claimed T-Series sent him after he put out “Bitch Lasagna,” another diss track that he posted in 2018.
Ironically, the “Congratulations” video pushed PewDiePie back into the lead for most subscribers, though T-Series later surpassed him again.
T-Series responded to the videos by filing a lawsuit in Delhi High Court, calling for the removal of “Bitch Lasagna” and “Congratulations” from YouTube.
The lawsuit claimed the songs are “defamatory, disparaging, insulting, and offensive,” and said that comments on the videos were, “abusive, vulgar, and also racist in nature.”
“Congratulations” & “Bitch Lasagna” Blocked
According to reports, Justice Jayant Nath of the Dehli High Court ruled that PewDiePie must “remove and disable access” to both songs. The order also mandates that PewDiePie must also “ensure that the said videos do not ever get uploaded again on the platform.”
“In my opinion, it would be in the interest of justice that these videos are taken off by YouTube,” said Justice Nath.
Court documents also revealed that PewDiePie apologized in 2018 for posting “Bitch Lasagna,” claiming “it was all in good fun.” The lawsuit states that PewDiePie allegedly “assured that he [was] not planning any more videos on the same line,” but then violated this alleged promise by making “Congratulations.”
While many people thought there would be no legal precedent for India to remove the videos, PewDiePie’s editor, Sive, tweeted that both videos were unavailable in India and that comments had been disabled.
Other users in India verified this claim, posting screenshots of the now unavailable videos.
The court also reportedly asked YouTube to remove the two songs from the platform entirely and ensure no copies of the videos are re-uploaded. According to reports, YouTube has two weeks to respond to this request.
Check the live subscriber count for the ongoing battle here.
See what others are saying: (Distractify) (Dextero) (Game Rant)
Jeffree Star Slams Burlington for Selling His Stolen Cosmetics
- Jeffree Star Cosmetics suffered a massive loss last month when $2.5 million worth of product was stolen from the company’s warehouse.
- When fans learned that some of the stolen cosmetics were being sold at Burlington, they quickly notified Jeffree on social media.
- Burlington said they were pulling the products from stores and will work with authorities as they continue to look into the robbery.
Products Appear at Burlington
Discount retailer Burlington has come under fire for selling cosmetics that were stolen from internet personality and cosmetics brand owner Jeffree Star.
Earlier this month, Jeffree revealed that $2.5 million worth of product was stolen from his warehouse in California, including nearly an entire shade of an unreleased concealer. In a video discussing the robbery, Jeffree said he was working with law enforcement to track down the culprits, who he suspects are black market makeup sellers.
Since the robbery, listings for stolen goods have appeared on social media sites like Facebook. However, fans were pretty surprised to see some of Jeffree’s products at their local Burlington, formerly known as Burlington Coat Factory. Jeffree has joked about discount retailers being a makeup “graveyard” for some brands, so when his products appeared on Burlington’s shelves, fans reached out with questions.
Jeffree once again I hate to be a bother but I saw this on a fan group that im in and not sure if you allowed your products to sell at Burlington. I dmed you on if and I guess I’m not allowed to send pics so here you go pic.twitter.com/W6IsaULLT1— ????? ?? ?????????? (@RhyenOlivia) April 7, 2019
Jeffree responded to one user and said that the liquid lipsticks were not only stolen but also expired. “We had those in a destroy pile before they were taken,” he wrote. “My lawyer is dealing with it and finding out how and why @burlington would ever allow this.”
Soon after, Jeffree took to Snapchat to further explain that when products at his company are expired, they are placed in a destruct and destroy pile to be incinerated at a later time.
“How did Burlington allow stolen items to be sold in any of their stores?” he said.
“This ain’t Marshalls and TJ Maxx. My brand isn’t like not doing well so we got to sell some to someone else. Bitch this is stolen items and they’re actually expired and not even good to use.”
Jeffree said his team would reach out to Burlington and investigate how this happened.“I really cannot believe someone tricked some executive at Burlington to take these off of their hands, write them a check, and then sell it,” he said.
He then warned fans to avoid purchasing these products and reminded them that the only physical stores you will find his cosmetics at in the U.S. are Morphe stores.
Fans Find More
After Jeffree confirmed that the products were stolen, other social media users began telling him that they also found the products at their local store.
found another pic.twitter.com/VEzVLBgvBC— ⭐️chloe terry⭐️ (@_chloeterryy) April 10, 2019
Holy shit, I unknowingly bought one as well. ? pic.twitter.com/YQOY4iuMv8— Taylor. (@_taylorpiper) April 9, 2019
I saw them at the Burlington in Downey as well, and I bought one ? pic.twitter.com/HhyHluG4ve— Adri ? (@ADRIIANAA_S) April 9, 2019
Some even said they found them at other retailers, like Marshalls.
I’ve seen some of your products at Marshall before too— Delaynee (@Delayne74897712) April 9, 2019
Marshalls quickly responded to one user and asked them to share the location of the store where they saw the stolen products being sold.
Thanks for reaching out. Would you please DM us with the location of the store in Michigan you are referring to?— Marshalls (@marshalls) April 9, 2019
Burlington Pulls Products
After being hit with much backlash from Jeffree and his fans, Burlington responded to Jeffree on social media saying it was “committed to selling only authentic, authorized, and legally sourced products in our store.”
“We appreciate this incident being brought to our attention and we are swiftly investigating the matter,” the company added.
“We have discontinued sales of these products and are immediately pulling remaining units from our stores. We are happy to partner with you and the authorities as you continue to look into this situation.”
Jeffree later thanked Burlington for addressing the issue.
Numerous Sexual Assault Allegations Shake the Pokémon YouTube Community
- Nearly a dozen people have spoken out against at least five YouTubers in the Pokémon community, accusing them of sexual assault and harassment.
- The allegations first went viral in a video uploaded by a user named AttackOnSylveon, in which she described being abused by a man who was prominent in the Pokémon community when she was 15-years-old.
AttackOnSylveon’s First Video
Allegations of sexual assault and harassment have shaken the online Pokémon community, where numerous people have accused at least five prominent YouTubers of sexually abusing minors.
These allegations first started going viral after a user named AttackOnSylveon posted a video on March 27, called “Finally coming forward…”
In the video, AttackOnSylveon describes an interaction she had on Twitter when she was 15-years-old with a man who was six years older than her. In the video, she said she does not want to name names or take legal action, but said she felt like she needed to share her story.
AttackOnSylveon said that the interaction started when she posted a picture of herself in a swimsuit by a pool. They talked a lot, and he would often comment on how she looked and what she was wearing. She said that at the time she did not see a problem with that.
Then he started asking her to send him pictures.
One night, he started sending her pictures of himself shirtless and asked her to send pictures of herself in response. She did not send him pictures in return, but he started to get pushy.
“He continued to make me feel like the bad guy because I’ve done all these things to him and made him feel like he was being like left out I guess,” she said, “And I, I really didn’t want to do it.”
AttackOnSylveon then said she sent him a picture of herself covered in a blanket, but he told her she could do better. Again, she told him she did not want to, but he still pushed her.
“I knew it was wrong,” she said, “And I knew I shouldn’t have done it. But anyway, I went on and I sent him the pictures that he wanted.”
After that night, she tried to distance herself from him, but he continued to message her. Eventually, he gave up, and they stopped talking.
Then, about a year later, he messaged her again, wanting to reconnect.
AttackOnSylveon did not want anything to do with him. “He would not let it go.” She said, “He messaged me on twitter, on Snapchat, on Kik, and on Facebook multiple times. Asking if we could pretty much talk the same way we used to talk before.”
She goes on to say she felt like he was taking advantage of her because she was young, but she just wanted him to stop.
Eventually, she finally snapped and told him she did not want to talk anymore, she said, showing screenshots of their conversation where she ended the relationship.
She ends the video by calling for others in the community to speak out, “I just want people to know what happened, and know that if something is happening to them they need to do something about it.”
“For this entire time I’m 15. I was super young and he still took advantage of me,” she said, “He was 21 and he knew what he was doing. He knew it and he was wrong and he didn’t care and that’s the problem is the fact that he didn’t care.”
AttackOnSylveon’s Second Video
The next day, AttackOnSylveon posted a second video where she said that her initial post got a lot more attention than she anticipated, and that people were asking her to use the person’s name.
She said that it was brought to her attention that if she did not name names, they would continue to assault people.
“His name is Josh.” She said in the second video, “And you know the story about that. But what I didn’t mention in that video was the fact that that didn’t happen once with one person. That happened with three people.”
She said the second man was named Enrique, and that he was 21. She said he would send her explicit paragraphs, and did so under the guise of them being in a relationship.
She then said that the last person is named Nathan and that he is incredibly difficult for her to talk about because he had actually threatened her.
“That person’s name is Nate. Well, Nathan, I guess. And I never wanted to speak out because I thought he would hurt me or my family and that he would send out the pictures, but he did it anyway,” she said.
More Allegations & Initial Response
The response to AttackOnSylveon’s videos happened fast and was widespread.
Many of the men she named in her videos are well known in the Pokémon community, so a lot of them were identified.
Specifically, the man she refers to as “Nathan” is Nathan Putnam, known as Dekadurr on Twitter and NintendoEncoder on YouTube.
After AttackOnSylveon shared her story, more women came out and said they had similar interactions with Putnam, some of whom provided evidence.
In an article published in Kotaku, at least three women described similar interactions with Putnam when they were underage or 18.
According to Kotaku: “Two of these women described how Putnam aggressively demanded naked pictures from them even after expressing how uncomfortable they felt. Two more say he hit on them when they were underage.”
One user who was keeping a thread of everything that was going on posted a screenshot of a message allegedly between Putnam and an anonymous source.
In the message, Putnam denies the allegations and says he barely talked to AttackOnSylveon, who he refers to as “Felicity,” which is her name on Twitter. Then he says he’s going to upload a video later.
It is unclear if he ever did upload a video, because on the same day he deleted his Twitter and Instagram. The then deleted his YouTube account the following day.
While all of this was going on, numerous people took to Twitter to call out Putnam, with many saying they had heard about him preying on young girls in the past. One of Putnam’s friends even said they knew about it and told him to stop.
Others commended AttackOnSylveon on Twitter and in the comments on her videos for coming out and sharing her story
Accusations Against TheKingNappy
One of the people who came out against Putnam was prominent Pokémon Youtuber, Kyle McNeal, who goes by TheKingNappy.
In a now-deleted tweet, McNeal released a statement condemning Putnam. He said that while there were rumors about what he was doing, he never looked into the extent of it or the details.
“So I want to start this off by apologizing for not speaking, publicly, about this situation sooner.” He wrote, “First and foremost, I want to make it absolutely clear that Nathan’s actions are incredibly cruel and unforgivable.”
He then goes on to say he spoke to Putnam about the situation and promptly cut ties with him. He added that he did not “lead the charge against Nathan” because he “didn’t want to dive headfirst into another pool of drama and allow that to consume my Twitter or my Twitch.”
“In hindsight, if I would have just said something from the jump, that wouldn’t have been something I needed to worry about.” He continued, “For those affected by Nathan’s actions, you don’t deserve any of what you’ve gone through.”
Shortly after McNeal posted his statement, a user named Callum posted a statement claiming that McNeal guilted him into being in a relationship when he was 16 and McNeal was 21.
“I initially told him I didn’t feel the same way, and that I couldn’t be in a relationship with him. He gave me an ultimatum. Date him or we’re no longer friends.” Wrote Callum, “I eventually agreed to try dating Nappy. At the time I was very ignorant about relationships, I didn’t take them seriously and I was unsure of my sexuality, I wanted to see if I could form feelings for him.”
He concludes his statement, writing, “This is something I really didn’t want to get involved with, but I felt it was important I came forward and said my piece since it’s been a question on everyone’s mind.”
On the same day, another user named Luke posted screenshots of a conversation he had with McNeal, and said that he would continuously make unwanted advances on him.
McNeal denied the allegations in a live stream which he later deleted. “Callum I hope and pray that any shred of respect left in you, you will tell the truth regarding this.” He said, “There is nothing that went down between Calum and I.”
McNeal also blamed his accusers and said they were the ones responsible.
“Nobody else made those choices but you,” said McNeal, “You chose to show up. You show to be a part. You chose to be quieter about how you actually felt for so fucking long.”
Since then, other accusations from other users have come out against McNeal as well, and other statements have been made on the situation.
On Wednesday, a Twitter user named Gabe said in a Twitlonger that he had a similar relationship with Kyle when he was 16 and Kyle was 25. Gabe also included numerous screenshots of conversations he had with Kyle on Discord and over text.
Unfortunately, that is not where the story ends. Since then, other allegations have come out against more members of the Pokémon community.
According to two people who spoke with Kotaku, a Pokémon YouTuber who goes by Mudkip Mama, also known as VegasJamie “aggressively pursued them when they were either 18 or under 18.”
A woman named Nikki said in a Twitlonger post that MudkipMama became “overly sexual” with her in a DM which she also posted on Twitter, writing: “Mrs. VegasJamie trys to claim she doesn’t hit on kids yet I’m 15”
Nikki also shared a screenshot on Twitter where MudkipMama allegedly admits to “dating” a fan with an “age difference.”
Additionally, over the weekend, other people came out against a YouTuber who goes by Mizumi and who is known for modding Nintendo games.
A woman identified only as Tori said in a Twitlonger post that he asked her for nude pictures when he was 18 and when she was underage. When she sent them, he tried to blackmail her.
Another woman identified as Jenny told Kotaku that he pressured her into sending naked pictures by “talking about wanting to kill himself and self harming behaviors and said things about how getting nudes would ‘help him feel better.’”
In an email to Kotaku, Mizumi did not directly deny the allegations but wrote: “This isn’t entirely my fault. The line is grayer than what everyone thinks and everyone here is a victim in one way or the other.”
Yet another person who is only identified as BiseProductions was also involved in the accusations, with many people on Twitter connecting him to AttackOnSylveon’s videos, though it’s unclear if he is one of the people she names.
The day after her second video was uploaded, BiseProductions posted an apology on Twitter, though his account has since been deleted.
In the apology, which was re-posted by another user, he writes, “I am truly sorry for my actions,” continuing, “I was very aware, after the fact, that this was not ok in the slightest.”
It will be interesting to see how this community responds. It seems like they are largely in favor of holding people accountable, but if more accusations come out, it might become difficult to keep the community unified.