- YouTuber ProJared responded to accusations that he solicited sexually explicit photos from fans, with at least two saying they were underage at the time.
- ProJared said that in the past, he exchanged photos with consenting adults, but denied ever doing so with minors.
- He also included evidence to support his side of the story and said his accusers may have made up their claims in hopes of gaining money and attention.
- He responded to claims from his ex-wife who said he cheated by saying the two were already breaking up at the time of the alleged affair.
ProJared Breaks Silence
YouTuber and gamer ProJared responded to accusations that he solicited sexually explicit photos from underage fans.
Jared Knabenbauer, who goes by ProJared online, posted a 42-minute-long video to YouTube titled, “You Were Lied To.” Back in May, he was accused by two fans, identified as Chai and Charlie, of soliciting nudes from them while they were 16-years-old. Chai claimed Knabenbauer was aware of his age, while Charlie said the YouTuber never asked for their age. Up until now, Knabenbauer has stayed relatively silent on the matter.
These accusations surfaced as Knabenbauer announced his divorce from his now ex-wife Heidi O’Ferrall. At the time O’Ferrall had accused him of infidelity and abuse.
In Knabenbauer’s video, however, he denied these accusations and said he has proof to back him up. He acknowledged that he did exchange photos with some fans, but said they were always consenting adults.
“What this all came down to was people saying that I was exchanging nudes with fans on Snapchat and Tumblr and a lot of people want to know if I did any of that,” he said. “Yeah, I did. And I always made it clear that it was for consenting adults only.”
ProJared Addresses Chai’s Claim
Knabenbauer went on to break down the accusations that came from Chai and Charlie. He pointed out that both have deleted their initial accusation tweets against him, and dove into Chai’s story first. Knabenbauer said he has no memory of ever interacting with Chai and added that the things Chai claimed he did sound out of character.
Then he broke down a timeline of Chai’s accusations, which Chai said happened in between March and July 2016. This period overlaps with a time when Knabenbauer’s Tumblr account was hacked.
It also lines up with a very important part of Chai’s life that he wrote about in an apparent Medium post. Chai said he suffered a severe head injury playing basketball in November 2015 which caused him to have a gap in memory for the following six months. The injury led to hallucinations and voices in his head, which he said eventually told him to do violent things.
He said these symptoms were part of psychosis, which reached a tipping point in August 2016 when he told his mom that he would kill her if she did not take him to the hospital. After this hospitalization, he eventually became better.
“To reiterate, Chai’s accusation was that the things I supposedly did happen between March 2016 and May 2016,” Knabenbauer said. “Chai also states that he has no memory during this exact same period and hallucinations continuing until August 2016.”
Because of this memory gap, he called Chai’s trustworthiness into question. He also added that there could be a possibility that Chai lied about this medical situation, but if he lied about that, Knabenbauer said that would also impact his trustworthiness.
He also noted that if this did happen while his Tumblr was hacked, the hacker would have likely leaked screenshots of their conversations at the time. Neither Chai nor Knabenbauer said they have screenshots or evidence of their conversations.
ProJared Responds to Charlie’s Claim
Knabenbauer then went on to say that he remembers interacting with Charlie, and said he does have screenshots from their encounters. Charlie did post some when making their initial claim, but Knabenbauer said they left out key details.
A notable screenshot that Knabenbauer presents shows him asking Charlie for their age, and Charlie saying they are over 18. In their initial accusation, as well as in an interview with the Daily Beast, Charlie said they were not asked their age.
Knabenbauer then continues to say that Chai and Charlie emailed their stories to creator collective Game Grumps. He said that when he saw the email that they sent to them, he actually reached out to apologize. The two, however, were not happy with the apology, despite the fact that a screenshot shows they specifically requested it.
The two also emailed their stories to Normal Boots, Knabenbauer’s old collective that he parted ways with in May. This email did not include an apology request.
As far as his situation with Normal Boots, Knabenbauer clarified their decision to part ways.
“I was not fired,” he said. “I resigned so that everyone else at Normal Boots wouldn’t get dragged down with me.”
Knabenbauer closed this part of the video by calling out his accusers’ honesty once more since they wrote their emails and discussed their accusations together.
“How can we trust Chai when his cohort Charlie was already lying?” he asks.
Knabenbauer believes they did this for money and attention. He accuses the two of “e-begging” as they both linked things like their Paypal and Amazon wishlists on their social profiles.
Accusations Against Pamela Horton
The video continues to address another accusation that came from an adult woman named Pamela Horton, who is a part of ToasterGhost. She claimed that at a gaming event they met at, which Knabenbauer said was in 2015, he looked up her nudes and showed them forcefully to other people. She went on to say that after this, he continued to be disrespectful and make lewd comments about her.
Knabenbauer said he was especially shocked by this because not only does he have no memory of it, but he claimed that since their meeting at this event, they had been friendly with one another. He went on to mention three men who would have been at this alleged incident, and two confirmed to him that they have no memory of it.
He then dug further into her accusations to try to find out a specific timeline of when she said he made the lewd comments. He ends up saying that she is referring to an E3 panel with Horton, MatPat, and himself. Knabenbauer said that he has never been on a panel with either of them or even on a panel at E3, but still finds it hard to believe that Horton would flat out lie about this.
“I think this is something that probably actually happened to her, and she was treated with some amount of disrespect, but she’s putting me in the place of someone who actually treated her this way,” Knabenbauer said.
Users on Reddit have pointed out that Horton did do a panel at E3 with MatPat that did not include Knabenbauer. It included Kyle Bosman, who many think resembles Knabenbauer. Some wonder if she confused the two. This, however, is unconfirmed. Horton has not made any accusations against Bosman, nor has she said anything about mixing the two up.
ProJared’s Comments About His Marriage
One of the last things Knabenbauer addressed are the cheating allegations regarding his marriage, which he claimed are false.
“No cheating happened,” he said. “I told my wife at the time I no longer wanted to be with her in October 2018. I was refused. I was told no. I was denied. I had my career threatened. I felt controlled.”
He went on to say that his relationship with O’Farrell, as well as with Holly Conrad, the woman O’Farrell alleges he had an affair with, should not be public business. He also requests that people stop spreading misinformation and stop harassing him online.
Reactions to Video
Both Chai and Charlie have set their social accounts to private and have made no public comments. Chai’s bio says “Offline for a while.” Meanwhile, Charlie’s bio says that the fact they locked their account “doesn’t mean shit i just don’t want more death threats lmao.”
Pamela responded to the video in one tweet saying, “I know my truth.”
O’Farrell has since posted two long Twitter threads about the video. In the first, posted Tuesday afternoon, she said his insistence that she is lying is “beyond dehumanizing.” She also added that they did not break up in October, they just had a conversation about it.
She also said their real divorce and breakup was not until February, and that up until then, they were trying to work on their relationship.
She added that he was with Conrad long before she even realized.
She said she could not believe he was “capable of lying on this level” and called the alleged lies “terrifying.”
In her second thread, she said the new video has caused an “an avalanche of fresh hatred.”
As far as public reaction, Knabenbauer’s subscriber account has gone up since he posted his video. The video currently has over one million views.
YouTuber Agrees to Pay Families After One Girl Dies and Another Suffers Major Burns in “Copycat” Experiment
- One Chinese teen died and another Chinese girl suffered severe burns after they tried to replicate a DIY popcorn making experiment that resulted in the explosion of a two-pound bottle of condensed industrial alcohol.
- Because she posted a similar video in March 2017, Chinese YouTuber Ms Yeah was then accused of inspiring the girls to replicate the experiment.
- Ms Yeah denied inspiring the girls, saying they used different videos than her own, but she agreed to compensate both families involved, saying she would help the families “regardless of who was right and who was wrong.”
Ms Yeah’s Popcorn Experiment
Chinese YouTuber Zhou Xiaohui, better known as Ms Yeah, has agreed to compensate two families after they claimed their daughters attempted to copy her viral video, resulting in one dying and the other surviving with severe burns.
Ms Yeah, who boasts nearly 7.5 million followers on YouTube, uses everyday items found in the workplace to cook traditional Chinese dishes and other foods.
The video in question—a feature on making popcorn—was originally posted in March 2017 and has since been deleted, but copies have circulated on YouTube. In addition to that video, Ms Yeah said she will delete any videos she thinks might potentially be dangerous.
In the video, Ms Yeah can be seen cutting a Pepsi can and placing it onto a hot plate, which rests over what appears to be an alcohol burner. She then fills the can with popcorn kernels, salt, and butter and lights the burner with a match.
An Experiment Gone Wrong
While the end result for Ms Yeah was a bowl of popcorn, the families of the two girls say things ended much differently, with several photos of burnt or destroyed cans showing part of the aftermath.
On Aug. 22, the girls were reportedly playing in at a home in the eastern Chinese city of Zaozhuang while their parents were at work. Around 3:30 p.m., the girls discovered the experiment on the Chinese version of TikTok and decided to replicate it.
Their initial attempt reportedly failed, prompting on the girls to pour alcohol directly onto an open flame housed in a tin can, which then exploded.
The spark then reportedly caused a two-pound bucket of nearby condensed industrial alcohol to also explode, leading to the severe injuries.
The survivor—a 12-year-old girl identified as Xiaoyu—will need cosmetic surgery, according to her family. Also according to her father, she has accumulated high hospital bills and refuses to leave her home because of her burns. A picture that circulated on the Chinese social media site Weibo reportedly shows the girl in the hospital with severe burns and casts on her arms and legs.
Her friend—identified as 14-year-old Zhezhe—reportedly suffered burns to 96% of her body, later dying on Sep. 5.
Ms Yeah Compensates Families
Ms Yeah has denied the girls were attempting to replicate her video, in spite of paying compensation and the families’ claims. She claims the girls were using a different method than what was depicted in her video. Other videos showcasing alternative methods for DIY popcorn—similar to accounts given about the girls’ own experiment—do exist on YouTube, some with millions of views.
“I used only one tin can and an alcohol lamp, which is safer,” Ms Yeah said in a Sept. 10 Weibo post. “In [their video] we could clearly see that they used two cans and not a lamp.”
Ms Yeah also said her videos are not to be interpreted as instructional, and according to the BBC, she said she has included “Do not attempt” warnings on her videos since March 2017; however, more recent content of Ms Yeah using alcohol lamps to cook crab and make an espresso notably do not contain any such warnings in their videos.
Ms Yeah’s cousin and representative said the creator would help the families “regardless of who was right and who was wrong.”
It is unknown to what extent Ms Yeah will compensate the families.
Ms Yeah has described learning of the events as “the darkest day of my life” and said she’s felt “immense pain” from the girls’ injuries, further apologizing to her followers and saying she “let everyone down.”
Despite this, she has had to respond to multiple accusations on social media that she is a “murderer.” In her apology post, Ms Yeah asked her followers not to accuse people of murder.
Ms Yeah’s cousin later told media she has been under “immense stress” in recent days and suspects she may be “sinking into depression.”
See what others are saying: (Sixth Tone) (South China Morning Post) (INSIDER)
Instagram Restricts Posts Promoting Diet and Cosmetic Surgery Products
- Instagram is restricting users under the age of 18 from viewing ads promoting weight loss and cosmetic procedures. The platform is also removing posts that make miraculous claims about dieting.
- Actress and body positivity activist Jameela Jamil celebrated the policy change.
- Jamil has criticized celebrities like Kim Kardashian for promoting these types of products in the past, saying it has a negative impact on young followers.
Instagram Changes Policy
Instagram has changed a community guideline policy to prevent its younger users from seeing content that promotes diet and weight-loss products.
Users who are known to the platform to be under the age of 18 will no longer be allowed to view posts for dieting products or cosmetic procedures that include a listed price or incentive to purchase. The site will also remove all posts that make a “miraculous” claim about weight loss and include a coupon code or other commercial elements.
According to Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, this policy became effective when it was announced on Wednesday and will be applied on both Instagram and Facebook.
Promoting these kinds of products has become a major part of influencer culture on the social media site. Prominent celebrities like Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Kylie Jenner and Cardi B have all received backlash for advertising highly-criticized rapid-weight-loss remedies.
Instagram’s Public Policy Manager, Emma Collins, spoke to the Evening Standard about how this policy change will affect these big names.
“If [a Kardashian’s] Instagram post is pulled into the policy of promoting diet products or procedures for sale it will be removed,” she said. “The Kardashians are people we continue to have collaborative conversations with, they’ll be made aware of the change.”
Collins also released a statement addressing the larger reasons behind the change, saying Instagram wants their site to be a “positive place.”
“We want Instagram to be a positive place for everyone that uses it and this policy is part of our ongoing work to reduce the pressure that people can sometimes feel as a result of social media,” she said.
Some Twitter users have shared that they have already been blocked from old posts by Kim Kardashian due to the new age barrier. Instagram is also encouraging users to report content they feel violates the new policy, and says they will be adding new reporting tools specifically for this matter.
Wow that was fast. This Kim Kardashian flat tummy shake post from January is now only accessible if you’re logged into Instagram and listed as over-18. pic.twitter.com/67rEv4uqpJ— Ryan Broderick (@broderick) September 18, 2019
Jameela Jamil Responds
The decision was applauded by many, including actress and body positivity activist Jameela Jamil. Jamil has led the social media charge against these weight-loss tactics by frequently calling out stars like the Kardashians for promoting them to their younger fans. Jamil has spilled the skinny tea on what some of the products might actually do to your body, including cause sicknesses like diarrhea. She started the social media campaign “I Weigh” in 2018 to promote body positivity and inclusivity on Instagram.
Jamil called Instagram’s new policy “huge news” in a post celebrating the matter.
“@i_weigh are changing the world together,” she wrote. “After a bunch of shouting, screaming, and petitioning… we have managed to get the attention of the people at the top, and they have heard us and want to protect us. And this is just the beginning of our efforts.”
The Good Place star went on to say that she had been working with people at Instagram all year to accomplish this and praised them for the passion.
//www.instagram.com/embed.jsView this post on Instagram
THIS IS HUGE NEWS. @i_weigh are changing the world together. After a bunch of shouting, screaming, and petitioning… we have managed to get the attention of the people at the top, and they have heard us and want to protect us. And this is just the beginning of our efforts. As of now, if you’re under 18, you will no longer be exposed to any diet/detox products, and for all other ages; all fad products that have bogus, unrealistic claims will be taken down and easy to report. I’ve been working with Instagram all year towards this, who were amazing to deal with, and they expressed that they passionately care about creating a safer space for us all online. This happened so much faster than I expected and I’m so proud and happy and relieved. WELL DONE to the many people who have been working towards this huge change. This is a mass effort. This is an extraordinary win that is going to make a big difference. Influencers have to be more responsible. ❤️
“This happened so much faster than I expected and I’m so proud and happy and relieved,” Jamil added. “WELL DONE to the many people who have been working towards this huge change. This is a mass effort. This is an extraordinary win that is going to make a big difference. Influencers have to be more responsible.”
On Twitter, Jamil also implied that with this victory in hand, she is going to continue fighting.
See what others are saying: (Evening Standard) (The Guardian) (The Verge)
YouTube Will No Longer Count Ad Views for 24-Hour Music Records
- YouTube said it will no longer count views from paid advertising in its calculations for YouTube Music charts and 24-hour debut records.
- The move came after YouTube did not congratulate Indian rapper Badshah for seemingly breaking the single-day viewing record.
- Badshah admitted to paying for promotional ads and several media reports found that the practice was actually commonly used in the music industry to inflate views.
- Critics argued that the strategy created financial hurdles for new artists and raised questions about real popularity.
Ad Views No Longer Count
YouTube announced a new policy Friday that changes the way the platform counts views from purchased ads in its one-day record reports, a practice that has faced massive criticism over the last few months
“In an effort to provide more transparency to the industry and align with the policies of official charting companies such as Billboard and Nielsen, we are no longer counting paid advertising views on YouTube in the YouTube Music Charts calculation,” the company said in a blog post.
“Artists will now be ranked based on view counts from organic plays,” it continued.
The change extends only to YouTube’s music charts and the reporting of 24-hour views. Advertising money can still be put towards increasing views, and the public view counter will still reflect views that were paid for.
Before the changes, many artists and record labels would pay to run songs as YouTube ads, which boosted viewership and increased the artist’s odds of topping the YouTube Music charts.
However, YouTube executives might have decided to rethink how it records single-day views after it faced backlash over its former policy earlier this year.
YouTube faced intense scrutiny in July when Indian rapper Badshah racked up 75 million views in 24 hours on his music video for the song “Paagal.” The numbers seemingly broke the single-day viewing record set by K-pop superstars BTS in April, but YouTube did not acknowledge the achievement.
YouTube has a history of honoring artists for setting viewing records. It congratulated musicians like BTS, Blackpink, Taylor Swift, and Ariana Grande when they set records on the site, so naturally, many were confused by the company’s silence.
Badshah made no secret that his team spent heavily on promotional ads, which he admitted to on Instagram. He even suggested YouTube’s lack of praise presented a double standard between the way the site treats mainstream global superstars like Swift and Grande, and artists who aren’t as popular in the West.
As of now, it’s unclear how many paid-ad views make up the total views for Badshah’s video, which currently sits at over 161 million. YouTube’s spokesperson told Forbes that the video-sharing platform doesn’t “comment on specific view sources for videos.”
“We have always taken into account a number of factors, including the volume of paid advertising views on YouTube,” they added. “Based on our long-time criteria, Badshah did not qualify for our 24 hour debut records list.”
However, for many people, the interesting issue became the focus on the ad purchasing policy itself. The practice created doubts about the real popularity of the videos and brought new attention to industry marketing tactics. It also sparked conversations about how this tactic changes the landscape for new talent and creates a financial barrier for growth.
A report from Rolling Stone said that the practice was common in the Latin Music industry, reporting that companies like Sony Latin and Universal Latin have been known to shell out between $20,000 to $60,000 in the first 24 hours. In more extreme cases, the companies would spend as much as $100,000, which could result in more than 12 million additional views.
“There is definitely money being spent on views,” Tomas Cookman, founder and CEO of the independent Latin label Nacional told Rolling Stone. “Is it fair to pay to have all those perceived views on a video? Probably not. But any time there’s a system, there’s going to be some manipulation of that system. And whoever tells you there isn’t is probably doing it.”
The report also said the ad strategy was likely more utilized outside of the U.S. because of the cost difference. One Latin label employee estimated that $1,000 on ads might bring in 250,000 to 500,000 views from countries in Latin and South America, meanwhile, the cost per view in the U.S would be five to ten times as much. The cheapest views reportedly came from countries like Turkey, the Philippines, and India.
YouTube’s changes won’t necessarily mean fewer video ads since ads still allow for greater exposure. However, it could push the industry to think critically about how to place those ads for long-term success, rather than just spam users with them for the first 24 hours to inflate views and create a false sense of popularity.