- YouTuber Onision, who has been accused of grooming and predatory behavior, filed court protection orders against journalist Chris Hanson and YouTuber Repzion, who have both been covering the allegations against him.
- A court appearance was held Friday for both, where the charges were voluntarily dismissed.
- While this was not the cause for dismissal, Hansen had actually never been formally served because Onision actually served the wrong Chris Hansen.
- Repzion anticipates that Onision will seek other forms of litigation like a civil suit for slander, which he is prepared to fight.
Hansen’s Case Dismissed
An order of protection of harassment filed by YouTuber Onision against journalist Chris Hansen was voluntarily dismissed after a Friday court appearance.
Onision, also known by James or Greg Jackson, has been long accused of grooming and predatory behavior. Allegations stretch to nearly ten years ago, with many saying he engages in inappropriate behavior with young women, along with the help of his partner Kai.
Hansen has been covering these allegations, which Jackson has consistently denied, on his YouTube channel “Have a Seat With Chris Hansen.”
In early January, Hansen went to Jackson’s house to hear his side of the story. Jackson called the police and later filed a court order. According to Mike Morse, a lawyer working with Hansen on the matter, the order alleged that Hansen was a “stalker” who had been making “hateful and harassment type videos since August 2019.”
Jackson filed the order without an attorney and represented himself. Connecticut-based Hansen sent an attorney, Naomi, to represent him in the Washington state courtroom. She initially asked for the order to be dismissed because Hanson was never formally served. The court said service was sent out, but it turned out that Jackson had served a different Chris Hansen, also located in Connecticut.
The other Chris Hansen responded to the service.
“I have nothing to do with this very public case and do know know the petitioner or the intended respondent,” he wrote. “I am not Chris Hansen from to Catch a Predator. Given that I’m not the intended recipient of this complaint, there shouldn’t be a case against me.”
While the mix-up over the wrong Chris Hansen being served did not result in the case’s dismissal, the case was still voluntarily dismissed. Naomi asked for the order to be dismissed with prejudice, meaning Jackson could not refile and the case would be over. The judge did not grant that, and the case was dismissed without prejudice, meaning it could be filed again.
Repzion’s Case Dismissed
A similar order was filed against Daniel Sulzbach, also known as Repzion, a YouTuber who has also been making videos about the allegations against Onision. This case appeared in the court on the same day, and the order was also voluntarily dismissed.
Jackson had filed for dismissal before heading into court. Still, Sulzbach spent the money and time to appear in the Washington courtroom with his own lawyers.
“It was probably one of the most anticlimactic things that I [have] ever been in,” he told Morse on a phone call posted on YouTube.
Sulzbach anticipates that legal matters between him and Jackson are not over. He predicts a civil suit over slander could be on the way, even though he maintains he has only ever discussed information already made public.
Morse also shared photos taken in the courtroom. In them, Jackson appeared to be wearing sneakers and a ski cap. Many present also noted the boxy way his jacket fit, with several speculating he could have been wearing a Kevlar vest, which is bulletproof.
As for what happens next, on his show, Hansen said that in 2019, the police were called to Jackson’s home 19 times. The calls stem from reports of potential inappropriate behavior with girls or child neglect. Hansen also said there were local investigations and has previously said there is also an FBI investigation into Jackson.
#BroomChallenge Debunked: You Can Stand a Broom Up Any Day of the Year
- A viral tweet claimed NASA said February 10 would be the only day a broom could stand up on its own because of “the gravitational pull.”
- Internet users, celebrities, and influencers posted photos and videos of themselves testing out the theory.
- But the trick can actually be done any day and is a gimmick that usually appears around this time of year.
#BroomChallenge Sweeps the Internet
By now you’ve probably seen people all over the internet posting pictures and videos showing their brooms standing up all on their own.
That’s because one viral tweet shared Monday suggested NASA said it was the only day a broom could do this “because of the gravitational pull.”
Though there isn’t actually any information from NASA that supports this, the internet ran with it anyway. Thousands of people took to social media to post themselves trying to trick, thrusting #BroomChallenge and other related terms onto Twitter’s trending page.
She just made me mad😂😂😂😂 Twitter this better not work tomorrow 🤣 pic.twitter.com/5tfo91BwSE— THRILLA🅿️ (@YaBoiThrilla) February 10, 2020
Celebrities like Paula Abdul, Future, DJ Khaled and tons of others joined in on the fun with posts of their own. Even social media stars like Colleen Ballinger, Austin McBroom, and LaurDIY tested the theory out.
The trend eventually morphed into more than just brooms, with people posting videos of everything from Roombas to chicken wings standing upright.
The trend even got so annoying that people like Chrissy Teigen pointed out how dumb it was, though she later backtracked after seeing how much joy it brought people.
Well, we hate to break it to you but the truth is, you can make your broom stand up on its own any day of the year. And it has nothing to do with the earth’s gravitational pull on a particular day, planetary alignments, or a full moon, despite what other internet users might tell you.
It’s actually just the work of balance. The center of gravity is low in a broom and rests directly over the bristles. So if you can get the bristles positioned right (like a tripod), your broom will stand upright any time of the year.
However, the success of this challenge is also based on the kind of broom you have. If it wasn’t already obvious, flat bottomed brooms are more likely to stand upright. So if this challenge didn’t work for you, you might just have a broom that isn’t shaped best for this. But still, the failed attempts that were shared across the internet made for some pretty hilarious posts as well.
And if this whole trend seems familiar to you, that’s because it’s not exactly new. This gimmick pops up often – almost every year around the spring equinox, which won’t occur until March 19 this year.
It actually spread among Twitter users in Mexico and Brazil earlier this month, according to BBC. The fact-checking site Snopes even noted that the same challenge appeared in February 2012 and also exists in another form known as the balancing egg trick.
There’s even a YouTube clip from that year of a CNN meteorologist debunking the broom myth.
Dr. Becky Smethurst, an astrophysicist from the University of Oxford, told BBC she could not believe the misinformation being spread online. “Broom balancing itself is not that impressive. It’s a good party trick. The broom is wide at the bottom and at the right angle can be balanced,” she said.
“We feel the same gravitational pull at all times of the year, so no matter whether it’s the spring equinox or not, the way the Earth is tilted would never be the cause of ordinary objects just balancing.”
Smethurst also said the spread of the false theory was actually surprising. “When I saw this today on social media and couldn’t believe what I was seeing in terms of the misinformation that was spreading. It highlights the importance of social media verification and using trusted sources from the scientific community.”
But LA-based meteorologist Cory Smith found the trend humorous and felt it provided an opportunity to talk about science.
Smith told BBC, “While it is discouraging to see people believe a false premise for something like this, it still makes for a fun and easy social media challenge and a nice little experiment to talk about physics and the centre of gravity.”
Eventually, even NASA tweeted about the challenge, showing people that basic physics works every day of the year.
So don’t be surprised if you see another appearance of the #BroomChallenge in the near future, and if you do, at least now you know not to be fooled.
See what others are saying: (CNN) (The Daily Dot) (BBC)
YouTube Tightens Policies Around Election-Related Content
- In a blog post, YouTube said it would ban misinformation and some misleading election content while also raising up political creators and authoritative voices such as major news outlets.
- Notably, videos taken out of context will not be removed unless they violate a different rule.
- A YouTube spokesperson said deepfakes will be deleted if they display “malicious intent,” but some deepfakes, such as parody videos, may be allowed on the platform.
YouTube to Ban Misleading Election-Related Content
YouTube announced it will be tightening its policies on election-related content, an announcement which came the same day the 2020 primary season kicked off in Iowa.
Leslie Miller, Google’s Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy, laid out new policies the platform will follow in a blog post, including one policy which aims to remove manipulated and doctored content.
For example, that includes videos that make a government official appear to be dead. Speaking to The New York Times, YouTube Spokesperson Ivy Choi also cited another example: that of a 2019 video featuring Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi appearing to slur her words. That video was doctored by being slowed down, making it look intentionally misleading, Choi said.
However, content that can simply be taken out of context will not be removed, per YouTube guidelines. To explain this, Choi used the example of a recent clip of former Vice President Joe Biden. That clip was edited to make it seem as if Biden had said a racist remark at a campaign event.
In the blog post, Miller also says YouTube will remove content that misleads people about voting and census processes. For example, that includes videos that give incorrect voting dates.
In another move that is reminiscent of the Barack Obama birther conspiracy, Miller announced the platform would remove content that “advances false claims related to the technical eligibility requirements for current political candidates and sitting elected government officials to serve in office.”
Additionally, YouTube will continue to terminate channels that impersonate another person or channel, as well as channels that artificially increase views, likes, and comments.
Recognizing Reputable News Outlets and Creators
While implementing the aforementioned bans, Miller said the platform also aims to “raise up authoritative election news.”
Essentially, Miller is referring to major news like CNN and Fox News, which will be more likely to show up in search results and “watch next” panels. That news, however, is less of an announcement and more of a continued goal on the part of YouTube.
YouTube talked about curating reputable news content in a different blog post in December. The platform has also been making changes in this area over the last couple of years, with Miller saying that because of those changes, consumption of content from authoritative news grew by 60% last year.
Finally, Miller said YouTube will “recognize and reward campaigns, candidates, and political creators.”
“YouTube remains committed to maintaining the balance of openness and responsibility, before, during and after the 2020 U.S. election,” Miller said at the end of the post. “We’ll have even more to share on this work in the coming months.”
How Will YouTube Handle Deepfakes?
Miller’s post doesn’t come as much of a surprise, especially as other major social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter tighten their policies around political content.
Still, that doesn’t mean YouTube is free of scrutiny. YouTube will still need to face critics when it comes to rolling out the new policies, especially as reviewers filter through more than 500 hours of content uploaded every minute. With out-of-context videos compromising a sizeable portion of misleading content, YouTube may also have to face criticism for not opting to remove those videos.
The new policy has also raised the question of how YouTube will treat political deepfakes. The answer? It depends. According to Choi, if a deepfake video was created with malicious intent, then it would be taken down. Parody videos, however, could remain up depending on their content and context.
“The best way to quickly remove content is to stay ahead of new technologies and tactics that could be used by malicious actors, including technically-manipulated content,” Miller said in the post. “We also heavily invest in research and development. In 2018, we formed an Intelligence Desk to detect new trends surrounding inappropriate content and problematic behaviors, and to make sure our teams are prepared to address them before they become a larger issue.”
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Mashable) (Yahoo News)
Why NikkieTutorials Won’t Name Her Blackmailer
- About two weeks after coming out as transgender, NikkieTutorials posted a new video discussing the support, media attention, and criticism she’s received since.
- The beauty YouTuber asked fans to stop trying to identify the person who threatened to leak her story, a threat that prompted her to film her coming out video.
- She confirmed that with the help of police, she now knows who her blackmailer is and does not want to publically name them because she knows that with her platform, she can not only destroy their life but also their family and friend’s lives.
“We Need to Stop the Witch Hunt”
Beauty YouTuber NikkieTutorials posted her first video since coming out as transgender, thanking her audience for their overwhelming support while also asking them to end their “witch hunt” against the person who blackmailed her.
When the YouTube star came out as transgender in a video post earlier this month, she said she had always wanted to share this information but admitted that she was doing so now because someone had threatened to leak her story to the press.
After taking her power back by telling her own story, deJager received a flood of support from friends, fans, and fellow YouTubers both for coming out and for how she responded to being blackmailed. Her video, which has been viewed over 33 million times, picked up widespread media attention and she even appeared on The Ellen Show to talk more about her announcement.
But since coming out, fans and internet sleuth have also been working hard to track down whoever tried to blackmail her, spreading their own suspicions and conspiracy theories all over social media.
In her Tuesday video titled “Responding to My Coming Out”, deJager asked fans to stop.
“Let’s talk about the blackmailing,” she said in the 17-minute long post. “First of all, I think we need to stop the witch hunt that I’ve been seeing going around. I’ve been seeing so many ‘Truth’ videos out there saying, ‘Oh my god, this is Nikkie’s blackmailer. On my god, we found the guy. Oh my god, we found the girl. This and this person are Nikkie’s blackmailers,” she continued.
“To be honest, I don’t think that is your story to tell. If anyone is going to have the right to tell on these blackmailers, it’s gonna be me,” she continued. “How I deal with this situation, what information I would like to share, at the end of the day, it’s my story. No other person or media outlet should be the one talking about my blackmailer when they only know half of the truth. You are destroying people’s lives that aren’t even involved in this and I ask that you stop this.”
Police Identify the Blackmailer, But Nikkie Won’t Name Them
DeJager went on to say that thanks to the help of police, she now knows not only who her blackmailer is, but also where they live, their phone numbers, home address, and how they treated people around her to get more information about her story.
“Let me tell you, when I found out exactly who was behind this all, I was shocked because this is not a person that any of you know. It is someone that I don’t even personally know,” she explained.
DeJager said learning this information was both frightening and freeing, but it also forced her to make a difficult decision.
“I feel like everybody who does something wrong should be punished,” she said, “but after all of the responses these last couple of weeks and literally being worldwide news, I know now that that comes with the greatest responsibility I’ve ever had in my life.”
“With this platform we have right here, I have the power to destroy a life. I have the ability to not only destroy the life of my blackmailer but also the life of his family, his kids, his friends, his surroundings,” she continued.
“Ever since finding out the true name of my blackmailer, that has been going on in my mind. If I out this person, am I gonna be doing the same as this person did to me? Do I want that? Do I need that? Do I want to put a human being in the same position that I was in?”
Nikkie added, “I don’t want to lower myself to his level. No, I am creating my own level… I am better than that.”
DeJager feels that in a way, her blackmailer already received their punishment since they now have to live knowing that she knows exactly who they are. “And I think they’re going to have a little bit of that fear that one day maybe their name is going to leak to the press and they’re going to feel exactly the same thing as what I was feeling,” she explained.
“But I think it is my right to determine if I want that name to come out or not.”
However, deJager made it clear that her situation is different. Because of her platform, she says she was able to take back her power, but she urged those who might not be in her same position to seek help from authorities, friends, and family if they are ever blackmailed.
DeJager also dismissed criticisms from those who accused her of lying about being threatened and coming out as a publicity stunt. In fact, she said she chose to delay upcoming projects to make sure it didn’t seem like she had opened up about being transgender to hype up a collab.
DeJager closed her video by saying that moving forward, she is working on adapting to this new role that she now has online and is in this world. “For the people who are understanding, and loving, and warm, and kind. Thank you from me and from my community.”