- On Sunday, a tweet called out “Instagram Influencers” for using Chernobyl as a backdrop for their social media posts.
- The Chernobyl nuclear power plant was home to one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters in 1986.
- After a closer look, it seems that the visitors in the viral post are not all “Instagram influencers” as the tweet suggest, but instead regular tourists.
- Since the airing of the HBO series Chernobyl, the site has a 30 to 40 percent increase in visitors.
The Viral Tweet
A tweet posted Sunday that criticizes Instagram influencers for treating Chernobyl like a new photo hot spot went viral, but that’s not exactly the case.
The tweet shows four pictures of different “influencers” using the toxic nuclear power plant as the backdrop for their photos.
However, after further investigation, it seems that only the first photo of a woman in protective gear was shared by a user with a significant following. That user is Julia Baessler, who has over 300,000 followers.
The other three photos were taken from Instagram accounts with much lower follower counts, ranging from 200 to 1,500.
On top of that, as many social media users have pointed out, in her caption, Baessler, talks about the terrible tragedy that took place at Chernobyl. “Yesterday I had the chance to visit one of the most fascinating but also most terrible places on earth- control room number 4 ChNPP,” her caption read.
“The actions taken in this room 33 years ago led to the worlds worst nuclear disaster. Standing there is just indescribable, it’s shocking and something I will never forget :pray:”
Baessler further explained her trip in an interview with Business Insider.
“Because of the engineering work of my boyfriend we were able to get a special admission to go inside control room 4 which is actually not accessible for visitors,” Baessler told BI. “I left those stories online because they are full of informations [sic] and I really want to spread them but I don’t want to be seen as an influencer going to Chernobyl because it’s trendy now. that’s not true,”
Another photo from the tweet showcased a man holding a Geiger counter, an instrument used for detecting radiation. The Instagram user who posted the photo actually wasn’t the photographer or the person in the image. He only reposted it. Patrick Smith, an airline pilot, took the photo back in October of 2006.
The woman who posed next to the burnt bus, Irene Vivch, said she posted the photo because she is from Ukraine and stated so in her caption. She called the site, “an eternal monument to the horrid cruelty of the Soviet regime.”
Vivch told the Atlantic, “Chernobyl made a massive impression on me … So I made a big Instagram post about it describing my feelings.”
Trips to Chernobyl
In May, HBO aired a new series, Chernobyl, that focused on the 1986 nuclear reactor malfunction at the power plant that caused radioactive particles to cover the surrounding area. At least 30 plant operators and first responders died in the weeks following the accident. To this day, there is still debate on the total possible deaths from cancer caused by the radioactivity, with estimations between 9,000 and 115,000.
According to reports, since the release of the show, trips to the site have jumped dramatically. One tour guide has said in the month of May alone, trips increased 30 percent. The guide also added that trips for the rest of the summer were up 40 percent.
“Many people come here, they ask a lot of questions about the TV show, about all the events. People are getting more and more curious,” Viktoria Brozhko, a tour guide, told Reuters.
Craig Mazin, the writer and executive producer of the HBO series, responded on Tuesday to the impact his show has had. In his post, he reminded people visiting the area to have respect for those who suffered from the tragedy that occurred there.
Chernobyl is not the first site of a tragedy to be used as an Instagram background. In 2014, a girl took a smiling selfie at the concentration camp, Auschwitz and she received massive backlash. The concentration camp museum even tweeted this past March asking people to people respect the site.
See what others are saying: (Business Insider) (The Atlantic) (Reuters)
Too Faced Co-Founder Condemns Sister’s Post Calling NikkieTutorials a Liar After Coming Out as Transgender
- Massive Beauty YouTuber NikkieTutorials came out as transgender in a new video that has been received with widespread praise.
- However, fans were upset to learn that she was pushed to share her story after unnamed people threatened to leak the information to the press.
- Too Faced Cosmetics then came under scrutiny when the cofounder’s sister made a snide comment about NikkieTutorials being a liar, continuing a long-running feud between the brand and beauty guru.
- The brand co-founder issued a statement condemning his sister’s behavior and said she is no longer employed by Too Faced.
Too Faced Apologizes
Too Faced Cosmetics co-founder Jerrod Blandino apologized Tuesday for his sister Lisa who called beauty YouTuber NikkieTutorials a liar hours after she came out as transgender.
“I would like to make sure it is understood that although I love my sister very much, the things she says or does have absolutely nothing to do with me and do not in any way reflect me, my opinions, thoughts, or feelings nor speak for me or Too Faced in any way shape or form,” Blandino wrote in a post on Instagram stories.
“I am sorry for the hurt she has caused…I do not tolerate this behavior and she is no longer an employee of Too Faced,” he added before expressing how proud he was of NikkieTutorials for sharing her truth.
His post was later shared across the brand’s official social media accounts.
“I’m Coming Out”
The backlash against Too Faced came shortly after Nikkie de Jager, better known as NikkieTutorials, came out as transgender in an emotional 17-minute video posted Monday.
“I can’t believe I am saying this today to all of you, for the entire world to see, but damn it feels good to finally do it. It’s time to let go and be truly free,” de Jager said in the video titled “I’m Coming Out.”
“When I was younger I was born in the wrong body, which means that I am transgender,” she continued.
The 25-year-old from the Netherlands, who has been posting on YouTube for 11 years, opened up about her childhood, explaining that she identified as female for as long as she can remember and began transitioning at a young age with the support of her mother.
De Jager said she had grown her hair out at the age of 6 and was wearing only girls clothing a year or two later. She started hormone treatments and growth stoppers at 14-years-old and “fully transitioned” by the age of 19.
“I transitioned while on YouTube,” the beauty guru said. “And saying that right now seems so crazy to me because I have literally grown up and transformed into me in front of all of you.”
De Jager, one of YouTube’s top beauty creators who has amassed over 12 million subscribers, said she kept her story private for so long because she wanted to live free of labels and wanted her channel to focus on her art.
However, she wanted to assure her fans that she is the same person they have loved and supported for years. “I am me. I am still Nikkie. Nothing changes about that,” she said. “The last thing I want in my life is for you to not trust me anymore, or to look at me with different eyes, or look at me in a different manner, or think that I have changed.”
While de Jager explained that she has always wanted to share her story with her audience, she admitted that she was doing so now after someone had threatened to pubically out her.
“So today, I am taking back my own power and I have to tell you something,” she said before making her announcement.
Without ever naming who was behind the blackmail attempt, de Jager talked more about how it made her feel.
“I have been blackmailed by people that wanted to leak my story to the press,” she said. “And at first it was frightening to know that there are people out there that are so evil that they can’t respect someone’s true identity. It is vile. It is gross and I know you are watching this.”
She claimed that those blackmailing her wanted to leak her story because they said she is lying and “too scared” to tell people who she really is.
“I’m not scared,” she said directly to the camera before holding her middle finger up to the people who, “thought they could really mess up my life with that.”
Praise from Fans
De Jager’s announcement was met with widespread support from celebs, fans, and fellow YouTubers, many of whom were outraged at the fact that someone else had tried to leak her story.
Lisa Blandino Sparks Outrage
However, not everyone was supportive of the beauty guru. Twitter users and YouTube drama channels ready to defend de Jager against hate screenshotted a snide comment allegedly made by Lisa Blandino.
The screenshots showed that on her Instagram account @makupprincess, under the name Dani California, she changed her bio to: “Transgender huh? That’s not the only thing she’s been LYING about.”
The comment appeared to signal a continuation of the long-running feud between the beauty star and Too Faced Cosmetics.
In Shane Dawson’s docuseries about his collaboration with Jeffree Star Cosmetics, Star once again accused Too Faced of massively underpaying de Jager for her 2016 makeup collaboration with them. According to Star, she received a $50,000 flat fee for a palette that brought them in over $10 million.
While de Jagger has not openly discussed much about her profits on the palette, she has previously mentioned frustrations over the quality of the product.
After screenshots of Blandino’s comment spread across the internet, many became upset that someone would take such a sensitive moment as an opportunity to tear de Jager down and felt that regardless of any feud, the comment was insensitive.
Enraged social media users began calling Too Faced disgusting and transphobic and soon after, the @makupprincess account changed its bio to read: “Let’s be clear, I love trans people & dislike anyone who lies to hurt others! Period!”
The comment further enraged internet users went on to call for a boycott of the brand. Some even accused Too Faced of possibly being responsible for blackmailing de Jagger.
Im highly suspicious of her. Besides the fact she is trash, it seems to me she might be involved w the blackmail. And if she was involved… i wouldnt be overly surprised her brother might have AT LEAST known about it.— KateyCakes (@KateyKGecko) January 14, 2020
Two of YouTube’s Highest Earners Are Kids
- Forbes released its annual list of top-earning YouTubers, placing 8-year-old Ryan Kaji at the top spot with $26 million and 5-year-old Nastya Radzinskaya at No. 3 with $18 million.
- The stars have brought new attention to the popularity of kids’ content on the platform just ahead of new policy changes that will impact ad revenue for it.
- Several familiar faces were also on the list, including Pewdiepie and Dude Perfect, however many were surprised to see Jake and Logan Paul edged out of the top 10.
Kids Earn Big
Two of YouTuber’s highest-earning creators of 2019 are under the age of 10, according to the annual YouTube creator estimates from Forbes.
8-year-old Ryan Kaji, star of the massively popular YouTube channel Ryan’s World (formerly Ryan ToysReview) earned himself the top spot for the second year in a row with an estimated $26 million, based on pretax figures from June 2018-June 2019. That’s a jump from the $22 million that put him at the top of last year’s list.
The second-biggest earner of the year is Dude Perfect, the sports entertainment group known for various trick shots, stunts, and battle videos.
But 5-year-old Anastasia Radzinskaya is one creator on the list who is arguably turning the most heads. Radzinskaya, who moved to the U.S. from Russia in 2018, was born with cerebral palsy and doctors feared she might never be able to speak. To document her development through treatments, her parents decided to post videos of her so friends and family could watch her progress.
The videos started off as fairly ordinary child experiences like playdates with her dad or her pet cat, but she quickly gained a following from internet users all over the globe. Radzinskaya, who goes by Nastya or Stacy, now has a total of 107 million subscribers across her six different channels. Her most popular one, “Like Nastya Vlog” has 42 million alone.
Nastya’s impressive following helped her bring in six-figure deals with brands like Legoland and Dannon, according to Forbes. Now she sits at No. 3 on their list with a whopping $18 million.
Creators like Nastya and Ryan have opened people’s eyes to just how huge children’s content is on YouTube. Eyal Baumel, CEO of Yoola, a management company that specializes in digital stars including Nastya told Forbes, “YouTube is the most popular babysitter in the world.”
According to a Pew Research Center study done this year, videos with kids in them average almost three times as many views as other types of videos from high-subscriber channels. A separate study showed that 81% of parents with kids under 11 let them watch YouTube.
These young internet superstars, their parents, and the teams that represent them have made sure that their popularity transcends YouTube. Ryan for instance now has his own line of branded toys, clothing, and home goods that you can easily find at Target, Walmart, and Amazon. He also landed his own TV show on Nickelodeon and has a deal with Hulu to repackage his videos.
Nastya too will soon be launching a line of toys, a mobile game, and a book.
Plans to expand to platforms outside of YouTube is probably a great idea of these child stars, especially as the potential for massive earnings on YouTube changes. In September, YouTube announced that it would be changing the way it displays ads on children’s content.
The changes are meant to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act after the Federal Trade Commission and New York Attorney General Letitia James accused YouTube of illegally collecting personal information from children to show them targeted ads.
YouTube said it will remove personalized ads on kids’ content starting next year, but now many creators are worried that, along with their income, the changes could also impact other factors, like search results and recommendations. Others feel the FTC has not been specific enough about what YouTube should consider child-directed content and are worried about the future of their content.
Who Else Made the List?
As far as the remaining top earners, the list includes a comedy duo, several gamers, and one beauty mogul. Here are the remaining creators who made the top 10.
- #4 Rhett and Link – $17.5 million
- #5 Jeffree Star: $17 million
- #6 Preston (Preston Arsement) $14 million
- #7 (tie) Pewdiepie (Felix Kjellberg) $13 million
- #7 (tie) Markiplier (Mark Fischbach) $13 million
- #9 DanTDM (Daniel Middleton) $12 million
- #10 VanossGaming (Evan Fong) $11.5 million
As some have pointed out, Jake and Logan Paul are notably not on this year’s list, both of whom made last year’s top 10. Jake’s absence was particularly surprising since the YouTuber held the No. 2 spot in 2018 with $21.5 million while his brother placed 10th with $14.5 million.
However, the Paul brothers have earned themselves a reputation for controversy and both stopped daily vlogging in mid-2018 to pursue other projects, so that likely had a huge impact on their annual YouTube revenue.
See what others are saying: (Business Insider) (Variety) (BBC)
Internet Reacts to Tana Mongeau Winning ‘Creator of the Year’ at the 2019 Streamy Awards
- Tana Mongeau beat out big creators like MrBeast and David Dobrik for the honor of “Creator of the Year” at this year’s Streamy Awards.
- Some, including YouTubers Peter Monn and Ethan Klien. were upset by the news and suggested that others were more deserving.
- Others noted that the category is fan-voted and slammed critics for trying to discredit her win.
2019 Creator of the Year
YouTuber Tana Mongeau took home the coveted “Creator of the Year” award at Friday night’s Streamy’s ceremony to the surprise of many internet users and even Mongeau herself.
The massive internet stars Mongeau beat out for the honor included Colins Key, David Dobrik, Emma Chamberlain, Lilly Singh, Loren Gray, MrBeast, Ninja, Safiya Nygaard, and Simply Nailogical.
“I don’t want to make a big deal out of this but it is not, it is not Davik Dobrik,” fellow YouTuber Casey Neistat said before announcing the winner.
“I’m sorry David, but you’ve won like every award tonight. It’s only fair,” Neitstat said to Dobrik, who had already picked up three Streamys for best First Person, Ensemble Cast (The Vlog Squad), and Collaboration (for a video with Kylie Jenner.)
“Give it to Tana,” Dobrik said before Neitstant confirmed that she was indeed the winner.
Mongeau seemed completely shocked by the news. “I don’t feel like ‘Creator of the Year.’ I’ve never felt like ‘Creator of the Year.’ I feel like the misfit, the outcast, the fuck up. All of those things,” she said during her acceptance speech.
Just one year ago, Mongeau accepted the honor on behalf of Shane Dawson, who received widespread praise for his multi-part docuseries “The Truth About Tanacon,” Mongeau’s failed convention that hoped to rival Vidcon.
“I think we can all agree this is the only time I’ll ever be holding a ‘Creator of the Year’ award,” she said at last year’s ceremony.
Mongeau used this year’s full circle moment to thank Dawson. “I really just want to say thank you to the only people who saved my life and got me here and that is my fans and Shane Dawson.”
“I never thought this would happen,” she added. “Here’s to all the people who don’t feel like ‘Creator of the Year,” she said while raising her Streamy in the air.
Though Mongeau was met with cheers and applause at the ceremony, many internet users appeared to be upset by the news.
While some were surprised that Dobrik did not take home the award, others felt the Streamy should have gone to MrBeast, who has recently made headlines for his massive campaign to plant 20 million trees around the globe.
Popular drama YouTuber Peter Monn tweeted, “Mr Beast starts a project to plant 20,000,000 trees to help save the environment. Tana Mongeau has a failed MTV series & gets fake married and wins Creator of the Year. The Streamys are an absolute joke.”
Ethan Klien, of h3h3 productions, tweeted and deleted a sarcastic congratulatory post to Mongeau. “Thank you for being outrageously yourself and a positive role model for young people everywhere,” he wrote alongside two photos to suggest that Mongeau heavily edits her social media photos.
Klien used the same side by side photos in a controversial video he made earlier this year about faking perfection online. “Well deserved!” he added in another post before removing the comparison photo.
But the most common question people had about Mongeau’s win was: “How?”
It’s not too surprising that many were outraged by Mongeau receiving the Streamy since she has been criticized as a bad influence on children and faced backlash over Tanacon, using the n-word, and charging her subscribers to watch the live steam of her wedding with Jake Paul, among other controversies.
However, many also noted that “Creator of the Year’ falls under the Audience Choice category, meaning that the award is fan-voted.
Many of her fans came to her defense online against those who felt she was undeserving.
“I wouldn’t discredit your favorite creator if they were the one that won, so please STOP discrediting mine & the rest of the fans that voted for tana,” one user tweeted.
i wouldn’t discredit your favorite creator if they were the one that won, so please STOP discrediting mine & the rest of the fans that voted for tana.— 𝚐𝚛𝚊𝚌𝚎 ♡ (@wannabemongeau) December 15, 2019
it was fan voted after all…. we fuckin tweeted & retweeted #VoteTana til we couldn’t anymore & would do it again.
“@tanamongeau won because us, her fans, whose lives SHE impacted, voted for her. If you’re mad ur fav didn’t win why didn’t you vote? Stop saying she didn’t deserve to win when she won fair and square,” another wrote.
Retweets and stand-alone tweets with a creator’s hashtag counted as votes for the category. According to Insider, Mongeau heavily campaigned for herself, unlike her competitors. If you look at the Streamy’s tweets for the nominees, posts for Mongeau have far more engagement in comparison to her competition.
For instance, a post for Mongeau gathered over 2,000 retweets, while a similar one for MrBeast earned just over 100.