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Austin Jones Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

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  • YouTuber Austin Jones was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of “receipt of child pornography.”
  • Jones has admitted to receiving explicit videos from six underage girls, some as young as 14.
  • During their interactions, Jones would acknowledge their age multiple times and give instructions on what each should send him in order to prove they were his biggest fans.

Jones Sentenced

Austin Jones was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Friday for asking underage girls to send him explicit videos in order for them to prove that they were his biggest fans. The sentence from U.S. District Judge John Lee is twice as long as the mandatory minimum sentence, which is what the defendant’s lawyers were seeking.

“I don’t think it’d be an exaggeration to say the victims here were probably some of his biggest fans, who cared so much about him, and yet for whom Mr. Jones cared so little,”  said Judge Lee at the sentencing hearing.

Jones’ lawyers were seeking the minimum sentence of five years in consideration of his history of abuse at the hands of his father and his commitment to therapy. However, Judge Lee said “I realize that you yourself suffered a great deal while you were growing up, and I’m deeply sorry for the treatment you received from your own father, but Mr. Jones, you of all people should know the tremendous harm that you were causing these girls that you targeted and preyed upon when you were doing it.”

Judge Lee did allow Jones to stay at home until a hearing Monday for the judge to hear from Jones’ mental health treatment providers.

The Allegations

Jones grew to fame on YouTube for posting acapella covers of popular songs, but back in 2015 accusations emerged that the singer was asking underage fans to send him videos of themselves. He addressed the allegations saying that he did request twerking videos, but denied going any further. “There were never any nudes, never any physical contact,” Jones said in a video posted to his channel about the accusations.

Then in 2017, Jones was arrested for soliciting explicit videos from two underage girls. One girl was 14-years-old and the other was 15. Throughout their interactions, Jones would acknowledge how young the girls were and gave them specific instructions on what to do in the videos they sent to him in order to prove they were his biggest fans.

In one message to a 14-year-old girl, he said, “At the beginning, get super close and say these lines: hey Austin, it’s (name) and this butt is (age) years old and then make it clap for 30 seconds. Got it?”

In February Jones pled guilty to one count of “receipt of child pornography” as part of a plea agreement. At that time he also admitted to getting six underage girls to send him explicit videos and said that on 30 separate occasions, he attempted to get other young girls to do the same.


Check out our previous coverage on Austin Jones
See what others are saying: (Chicago Tribune) (BBC) (NBC)

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Bleach Promoted as “Miracle” Treatment for Diseases on YouTube

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  • Jim Humble, a former Scientologist and founder of his own church, claims that the powerful industrial bleach – chlorine dioxide – can help treat a long list of diseases and disorders including HIV, cancer, and more.
  • This information spread widely on YouTube and Facebook, where several posts encouraging the practice have been shared.
  • The method has also been used by some parents who have given the chemical to their children in hopes of curing their autism, despite seeing several severe side effects.
  • YouTube and Facebook have said they are actively working to remove these types of posts from their platforms.

How Did This Start?

A mass spread of misinformation on YouTube and Facebook has resulted in parents giving their children chlorine dioxide, or bleach, as a “treatment” for autism.

The movement of using chlorine dioxide as a medical solution was started by Jim Humble. Humble is a former Scientologist and founder of his own church, the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing.

He calls the substance “Miracle Mineral Solution” or MMS., which he says he discovered in 1996 while prospecting for gold in South America. He says that during his trip, he used the chemical compound to heal someone with a case of malaria.

Humble claims that MMS can treat “most diseases known to mankind,” including M.S., H.I.V., cancer, autism, and more.

However, chlorine dioxide has a more common name you might recognize: bleach. It’s a potent industrial bleach typically used for stripping textiles.

While Humble claims that his MMS treatment is not a “cure” to anything, on his website he states it can “restore partial or full health to hundreds of thousands of people.”

“MMS is an oxidizer, it kills pathogens and destroys poisons,” he says in regards to how he believes it works.  “When these are reduced or eliminated in the body, then the body can function properly and thereby heal.”

However, most medical leaders say that ingesting this substance is dangerous and even lethal.

The FDA says they have no proof that chlorine dioxide can treat any disease. Health Canada even issued a statement back in 2015 calling it “dangerous to health.” Two deaths in the United States have also been potentially linked to its use.

In 2015, the Department of Justice arrested someone for marketing and selling the product. In a statement, they expanded upon the effects of the chemical.

“Chlorine dioxide is a potent agent used to bleach textiles, among other industrial applications,” the statement reads. “Chlorine dioxide is a severe respiratory and eye irritant that can cause nausea, diarrhea and dehydration.

However, because of the spread of misinformation online, people do use it. In fact, on his website, Humble lists where it can be purchased and also encourages people to make it themselves.

Misnformation Spreads on YouTube

As for how the misinformation regarding MMS has traveled, according to a report from Business Insider, YouTube might be the culprit.

There is a community of people promoting MMS as legitimate medicine. Humble used to have a channel of his own, but it no longer exists.  When YouTube became aware of Business Insider’s report, they took down numerous videos and channels pertaining to MMS.

But still, when “MMS Treatment” is entered into the search bar, the first page of results shows several testimonials from individuals who claim they have used it, as well as other videos advocating for its use.

According to Business Insider, before the videos were taken down, the top MMS videos had been seen by three million people collectively.

MMS Used in Ugonda

The use of MMS has also spread worldwide. On Saturday, The Guardian released a report alleging that an American pastor has trained people to administer MMS in Uganda. The substance is believed to have been given to around 50,000 people in Uganda to fight diseases like malaria.

U.S. Mission Uganda has responded to the news in a tweet, saying that the substance is “extremely dangerous and is NOT a cure for any disease.”

Use of MMS for Autism

MMS has also become popular as a “treatment” for autism. However, Humble is not the man fully credited for this movement. An NBC News report gives this credit to Kerri Rivera.

Rivera claims that chlorine dioxide cured her son of autism. She wrote a book about it, which was removed from Amazon.

She also had a YouTube page, but it can no longer be accessed. However several videos featuring her are still available.

Rivera even has a website, where she says 510 kids have recovered from autism using chlorine dioxide. On the site, she offers specific consulting regarding the chemical.

In various private Facebook groups, she has promoted her product to parents looking to “cure” their children’s autism.

NBC’s report follows two women, Melissa Eaton, and Amanda Seigler, who have inserted themselves as moles within these pages since 2016.

Since then, they have seen parents post about forcing their kids to take MMS, despite the fact that their children are experiencing severe side effects. These side effects include trouble breathing, vomiting, rashes, and abdominal pain. Some parents even mention their children screaming when being forced to take the substance.

The two have reported 100 parents to Child Protective Services since joining the group. However, as of now, they do not know if actions were taken in any of those cases.

Platforms Respond

YouTube responded to Business Insider regarding the videos on their platform. The company said it was working to remove or suppress some videos promoting the use of MMS.

“Misinformation is a difficult challenge and any misinformation on medical topics is especially concerning,” the statement reads.

“We’ve taken a number of steps to address this including surfacing more authoritative content across our site for people searching for related topics on YouTube. However, our Community Guidelines prohibit content intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm, and we work to quickly remove flagged videos that violate these policies.”

Facebook also said they were removing groups directly related to Rivera.

“We believe in giving people a voice,” they said in a statement to NBC. “But we also want everyone using Facebook to feel safe.”

See what others are saying: (NBC News) (Business Insider) (The Guardian)

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Tfue Suing FaZe Clan Over “Oppressive” Contract

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  • Popular gamer Turner “Tfue” Tenney filed a lawsuit against the gaming organization that he is a part of known as FaZe Clan.
  • Tenney’s lawsuit alleges that his “Gamer Agreement” with FaZe Clan is “oppressive,” and claims that his contract allows the organization to take up to 80 percent of his revenue from brand deals.
  • FaZe Clan has denied the accusation and the organization’s founder, FaZe Banks, posted a video and a series of tweets providing his side of the story and portraying the lawsuit as a betrayal.

Lawsuit

Popular gamer Turner “Tfue” Tenney filed a lawsuit Monday against FaZe Clan, the gaming organization he’s been a part of since April of 2018.

The lawsuit describes Tenney’s “gamer agreement” with FaZe Clan as “oppressive.” It claims that it allows the organization to take up to 80 percent of his earnings from brand deals brought by FaZe Clan and 5 percent of his earnings from tours and public appearances.

According to the lawsuit, Tenney tried to end his official agreement with the FaZe Clan back in September based on the organization’s “numerous breaches” of contract but says they would not let him break the deal.

One of those breaches included FaZe Clan receiving third-party payments from sponsorships and not giving the payments from those deals to Tenney.

The lawsuit goes on to say that FaZe Clan uses “illegal Gamer Contracts” to prevent Tenney from pursuing other brand deals that might be better than the deals acquired by FaZe Clan, and argues that it is illegal because it prevents him from competing in the marketplace.

Significantly, the suit claims that FaZe Clan’s gamer agreements violate California’s Talent Agency Act because the organization acts like a talent agency by procuring “employment and engagements,” but does not have a business license to operate as an agency

Due to this alleged violation, Tenney’s lawyers have also claimed that FaZe Clan violated the Talent Agency Act in a petition to the California Labor Commissioner on May 15.  

“Faze Clan pressures and encourages young artists like Tenney to perform dangerous stunts,” Tenney’s attorneys wrote in the petition, which was included as an exhibit in the lawsuit. The suit also noted that Tenney suffered an injury that resulted in “permanent disfigurement.”

“Faze Clan also encourages underage drinking and gambling in Faze Clan’s so-called “Clout House” and “FaZe House.” The petition said.

FaZe Clan Statement

The gaming community responded to the lawsuit almost immediately.

FaZe Banks, who owns FaZe Clan, took to Twitter to defend the group writing “we do NOT and have never taken 80% of anyones prize money,” adding “We’ve collected $0 from Turners prize money. ZERO.”

FaZe Clan also posted a statement on Twitter claiming that they have not collected any of Tenney’s tournament winnings or any money earned through his Twitch, YouTube, or other social media accounts.

“In fact, we have only collected a total of $60,000 from our partnership, while Tfue has earned millions as a member of FaZe Clan,” the statement said.

While all our contracts are different with each player, all of them – including TFue’s – have a maximum of 20% to FaZe Clan in both tournament winnings as well as content revenue, with 80% to the player. In Turner’s case, neither of those have been collected by FaZe Clan.”

A few hours later, FaZe Clan posted a follow-up statement to clarify the claim that they take 80% of branding earnings. “There is a clause in Tfue’s original contract where FaZe Clan could take 80% of the brand deal we introduce to him,” FaZe Clan wrote. “Let us be clear that we have NEVER collected on that clause from Tfue or any other FaZe Clan member.”

The statement went on to say that the clause is from old contracts and that the new contracts only give FaZe Clan 20 percent. The organization also says that they have been working with Tenney and have offered him “numerous versions of an improved contract,” but said he has “rejected or ignored” all of them.

The statement also said that FaZe Clan has “encouraged and supported any FaZe member interested in hiring a third party manager and/or agent.”

Faze Bank’s Video

Later in the day, Banks uploaded his own video called “Dear TFue.”

In the video, Banks describes how emotional and hard it is for him to deal with the situation because he was so blindsided by someone who he was close to. He then goes on to break down all of the allegations piece by piece, starting with the claim that Faze Clan took 80 percent of Tenney’s earnings.

Banks says that FaZe Clan has only ever made $60,000 off Tenney, which is just a fraction of the money he makes. “He earns a hell of a lot of money. A lot more money than you guys know,” FaZe Bank’s said.

“But I can tell you, that $60,000 of his total amount of money that he’s made is probably closer to like 0.1 percent. And mind you that’s $60,000, cause where it came from is important, that $60,000 came from two brand deals that we brought Turner that we took 20 percent of. So that is an 80 percent split to Turner and then the rest of the 20 goes to Faze clan.”

“We have collected zero percent of his prize winnings, we have collected zero on YouTube, we have collected zero on Twitch his subs, his ad revenue, nothing. Literally nothing,” said Banks.

In an earlier tweet, Bank’s shared a video clip of Tenney saying he keeps all his earnings. “Do I keep all my earnings? Yeah,” Tenney said in the video. “All like the regular tournament winnings, yeah.”

In “Dear Tfue,” Banks also addresses the allegation that FaZe Clan made Tenney and others do dangerous stunts. “Turner we all know you’re a fucking sicko. You jump off of shit, you’ve been doing that far, far, far before you met us,” he said. “And if anyone was pressuring anyone into doing it it was you.”

Banks goes on to discuss the claim that Tenney was pressured into drinking. “We went to a party at your current girlfriends house before you were 21,” he said. “Steve chugged a handle of alcohol and you were trashed in the video and you were 20 years old at the time.”

Banks also tweeted a video of Tenney shotgunning beers back in 2016.

Cloakzy Response

Tenney’s has still not come out and said anything.

However, on Monday, Tenney’s gaming partner Cloakzy release a statement of his own. Cloakzy he said that he did not want to speak on behalf of Tenney, but still wanted to share his point of view.

“Banks shouldn’t be getting hate for anything and you’re all braindead if you think he has anything to do with anything bad that has happened,” Cloakzy said. “Everything that you see FaZe doing today is because of him. He has shown us nothing but love and appreciation as he does every player that has ever played for FaZe.”

“Unfortunately we didn’t see eye to eye with SOME management,” he continued. “Lots of people wanted to make a lot right but their hands were tied, contract things that happened behind the scenes/situations that will not be brought to light not involving banks.”

Cloakzy also made a note to tell everyone to wait until everyone in the situation has spoken before jumping to conclusions.

Bank’s retweeted the statement and wrote: “I appreciate this tweet more than you could ever know.”

As for Tenney’s lawsuit, it could have huge implications for the esports community. If he wins, it could potentially change how esports is regulated. The lawsuit claims that because esports is a new industry, “there is little or no regulation,” but adds that the need for it is “dire.”

According to the lawsuit Tfue, “seeks to shift the balance of power to gamers and content creators/streamers.”

“As a result of this action, others will hopefully take notice of what is.”

See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (VICE) (The Verge)

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James Charles, Tati Westbrook, & Jeffree Star End Their Public Fued

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  • Over the weekend massive beauty YouTubers Tati Westbrook, James Charles, and Jeffree Star all posted their own videos further addressing the fallout since Tati’s original video ending her friendship with James.
  • Tati said she regretted the way the situation unfolded after her initial video prompted millions to unsubscribe from James and caused many to accuse him of being a “sexual predator.”
  • James released several screenshots to defended himself against a variety of topics, including the Sugar Bear Hair vitamin situation and the allegations against him involving the way he treats straight men.
  • Jeffree said he regretted inserting himself into the situation and both he and Tati said they want the public drama to end and will no longer comment on the situation.
  • James’s subscriber count has been steadily increasing since his video, with him now back up at 14.8 million.

Tati Says She Never Expected This Reaction

Tati Westbrook, James Charles, and Jeffree Star have all posted videos addressing the massive scandal in the beauty community, which was initially started by Tati’s “Bye Sister” Video, where she ended her friendship with James.

On Thursday, Tati posted a video called “Why I Did it …” where she explained her reactions to the fallout that has happened since she “exposed” James. She said that she did not expect the story to blow up to the degree that it did and expected most of the backlash to be directed towards her.

I thought that I would be the one that would take the hit,” she said. “I thought I was going against millions and millions of subscribers…If I could give all of the success back and all of the subscribers back, I would.”

She also said that she did not want people to attack James, adding that it is hard for her to see a lot of negativity on the internet targeted towards him.

“I want you guys to know that I don’t hate James Charles,” she said. “I don’t want you guys hating on him. I can’t even go online right now. It’s painful to see someone that you have cared about be dragged.”

James Brings Receipts

Then on Saturday, James posted a 40-minute video titled “No More Lies.”

He started it off by standing by his initial apology video, which received a lot of backlash from viewers. He then went on to address all of the allegations that Tati made against him, using a lot of receipts.

First, he dove into the Sugar Bear Hair controversy and fully explained his decision to do a post for the company. While at the VIP section of Weekend Two at Coachella, James said he was getting bombarded by fans. For his safety, he wanted to be in the Artist section, which is more secure and secluded.

He reached out to fellow beauty influencer Nikita Dragon who connected him with Sugar Bear to see if they had any Artist passes they could offer him in exchange for a sponsored Instagram post. He said he did so, seeing that this was his only option if he wanted to stay at Coachella.

In Tati’s video, she claimed that she did not receive a warning text about the post. Also, she said that James had “nine days” to message her about it, so it appears she thought James and Sugar Bear Hair during the first weekend of the festival.

However, James says all of this went down on weekend two. He posted screenshots of texts he sent before he posted the Sugar Bear Hair Instagram video. He also showed texts that he sent to Tati and her husband after Tati posted on her Instagram that she felt very upset and isolated from the community.

The next major topic that James tackled was boys. In her video, Tati claimed that James used his status as a celebrity to manipulate straight men into behaving sexually in his favor.

“First of all, I am a 19-year-old virgin,” James said. “I just thought I’d put it into the universe that I don’t get a lot of action. You probably guessed that at this point. That being said, I have never, would never, and will never, use my fame, money, or power to manipulate or get any sexual actions from a guy. That is disgusting.”

He then went on to discuss the waiter from Seattle, Sam, whom Tati brought up in her video. Sam also made a video of his own, where he discussed his relationship with James. But according to James, Sam’s story had gaps, so he tried to fill them in.

He said the whole thing unfolded at Tati’s birthday dinner when he was discussing a waiter at the restaurant he thought was cute. While the word “famous” was used, James never said that he could get the guy to like him because he is a “celebrity,” as Tati said.

Rather, James said that his friend group has an inside joke where they call each other “famous,” said he was using the word in that context.  

As far as his personal interactions with Sam, James pulled up screenshots of their conversations. In those texts, Sam told James he was bi, despite the fact that Tati said he was straight, and that James always went after straight guys.

Source: James Charles’ “No More Lies”

James also said when he invited Sam to his hotel room, he told Sam that there was no pressure to do anything, and emphasized that everything that happened between them was consensual.

James continued the story by saying that they kept in touch, but it started to get rocky because he thought Sam was still figuring out his sexuality. But eventually, Sam used his friend’s phone to text James saying that he was gay. But James said that this was not real, and just a ploy to get him to respond.

Sam texted me saying he was fully gay, but it was a trap to get me on FaceTime,” said James, “so he could illegally record the conversation to include in the video he was planning later on…Later on, he told me he was confirmed bi. This is why, in Sam’s video, he included a screenshot of me telling him I did not think he was fully straight.”

As far as James’ alleged consistent interest in straight men, he admitted that he has slid into the DM’s of straight guys before. However, he said that whenever he learned someone was not interested, he stopped messaging them immediately.

He also spoke about the rumors people were starting about him and how that perpetuated negative stereotypes about gay men. He specifically mentioned Zara Larsson, who tweeted that James had messaged her boyfriend multiple times while knowing he was straight.

Source: James Charles “No More Lies”

James showed that he had only messaged him once and also said he had no idea he was messaging someone with a girlfriend. Larson did end up deleting her tweet, but James said it had close to half a million likes before she did so.

He then showed a tweet Zara posted about her boyfriend before she met him and asked a question.

Source: James Charles “No More Lies”

“Why is it okay for Zara Larsson, a woman with a public platform to tweet these photos of a shirtless man and say ‘Who are you where do you live how old are you why are you so fine how do you like your eggs cooked in the morning?’ But for me as a gay man, to DM the same person in private with a simple compliment, is predatory? he asked.

The last big point he talked about was Jeffree Star. He said that he and Jeffree had been trying to figure out a time to talk before Tati’s “Bye Sister” video dropped. They never scheduled a time to chat and on the day the video made waves throughout the internet, James said he got a harsh text from Jeffree. The text references Sam, Grayson Dolan, Jeffree’s brother Zack, and a boy named Cameron who James claims to not know.

Sources: James Charles “No More Lies”

“Grayson is going on camera shortly to finally tell the world how you tried to molest him and touch him in his sleep…And made him uncomfortable for months you sick motherfucker,” the text reads. “Next, Zack will be going on camera to tell how twisted and sick you were, trying to get him to like you and then make him feel bad when he didn’t wanna send you photos back. Then Sam from Seattle will be joining me and Cameron, to talk about you trapping him in the hotel room. You need to be locked in prison for a very long time. You need the Internet taken away from you, you are a danger to society.”

James then addressed Jeffree’s tweets that he later deleted. One was aimed at James’ brother Ian.

Source: James Charles “No More Lies”

James clarified that Ian went home to New York for a number of reasons. In addition, to having his wisdom teeth removed and a few gigs in the city, he was struggling with depression and wanted to be with his parents.

Jeffree also tweeted that James was not allowed in his home, and James said he was totally unaware of this. He also said that since they last saw each other in February, Jeffree had reached out to him saying that he missed him.

Screenshot from James Charles’ “No More Lies”

James then closed his video by saying that Tati, Jeffree, and Sam were all working on reaching out to him to address the matter privately.

Jeffree Bows Out

The saga did not end there, because, on Sunday, Jeffree posted a video called “Never Doing This Again.” In its 14-minute run, he says that he does not want to be involved in the drama anymore and confesses that he wishes he had never inserted himself into this situation in the first place.

“This has to stop,” he said. “I’m embarrassed by my own actions.”

He addressed James directly and said he wishes he never sent those texts.

“There were a lot of rumors, and sadly I let that get to me,” said Jeffree. “So James, I want to let you know that I should have never sent you those messages.”

Jeffree also apologized to Ian about his tweet.

“So Ian, I just want to let you know I am so sorry for ever sending that tweet. If I could take it back I would.”

He closed by saying that he does not want to talk about the situation anymore and said that everyone involved needs to take time to heal.

What Now?

On Sunday, Tati sent a tweet saying that she has been communicating with James through an intermediary. She also said she no longer wishes to address this situation publicly.

The “Bye Sister” video has also been removed from Tati’s channel.

As far as subscribers go, Tati still has over ten million, though her count is no longer experiencing a steep incline. In fact, her number is gently trickling downward.

James, who lost three million subscribers as a result of this fallout, is starting to gain them back. He now has 14.8 million subscribers. He is inching his way back up to being the most popular beauty vlogger on YouTube. He just has to edge out Jeffree, who has 14.9 million subscribers.

See what others are saying: (Fox News) (Cosmopolitan) (The Verge)

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