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Skincare Influencer Susan Yara Apologizes for Misleading Fans By Promoting Brand She Secretly Owned

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  • Susan Yara, the influencer behind Mixed Makeup, is facing intense scrutiny online after announcing her new skincare line, Naturium.
  • Fans are outraged because products have been on sale since February, and Yara promoted it for months without ever disclosing she was the owner, a violation of Federal Trade Commission guidelines.
  • In fact, Yara offered coupon codes and told fans she learned of the brand after receiving it in PR, only adding disclosures on old posts after backlash over her announcement poured in.
  • Yara has apologized for misleading fans, explaining that she did so to earn unbiased feedback from friends and customers. Still, many have promised to submit complaints to the FTC.

Naturium’s Launch

Skincare influencer Susan Yara is facing serious backlash after revealing that she was secretly the owner of a new product line that she’s been publicly promoting for months.

On June 21, Yara, who owns the Mixed Makeup YouTube channel, released a video announcing the line, Naturium. For many in the industry, this would be a big milestone, however, the news has been met with a ton of outage.

That’s because Naturium products have actually been available for purchase since February and Sunday’s announcement only revealed that Yara was Naturium’s owner.

While many customers have been loving the products, her followers took issue with the fact that she promoted them without disclosing her ties to the company.

As far as why she kept her ties to Naturium quiet, she said in her announcement video, “it was really important to me to get honest and true feedback from everyone. And I, you know, took a step back and I was like, ‘I don’t think I’m going to get that if I just announce this is my skincare line from the get-go.’”

She also said she delayed revealing it was her brand because of the cultural climate following the world-wide outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Conflicts of Interest

The conflict of interest caused fans to question her integrity as they reflected on how she had misled them.

Fans said Yara made it seem like the brand was an independent company that approached her for a sponsorship deal. Screenshots from as far back as April were shared, showing Yara writing to the Mixed Makeup Facebook group, “Fan of The Ordinary? I have found a better brand called Naturium… I just want you guys  to use better products. Don’t fight me! Haha.”

Screenshot taken on June 21st of Susan Yara’s Beauty Questions Answered by MIXED MAKEUP Facebook Group.

When one person asked her, “how did you find them?” Yara replied, “They sent me a PR mailer when they launched! It’s really good!”

In another exchange about a pending review of the brand, Yara wrote, “Been working on so many brand reviews, this one might be at the bottom of the list. I can say I like everything I’ve tried so far though.”

On her Mixed Makeup YouTube channel, she also promoted the brand with videos like, “4 Affordable Vitamin C Serums I recommend.” That video’s thumbnail even displays Naturium as the only featured product. Beyond that, there are other videos that feature Naturium as a reviewed product.

A screenshot taken of “4 Affordable Vitamin C Serums I Recommend” – Taken June 24, 2020.

Because of all this, fans were upset at her lack of transparency, flooding Yara’s social media with angry comments. One comment under Sunday’s “announcement” video, for example, reads: “Wow… you clearly don’t respect your viewers or your customers. Shame on you for lying. I would have been so excited to try this skincare line if it hadn’t been completely tainted by your manipulation and deceit. How disappointing.”

Screenshot of a comment from Introducing Naturium: My New Skincare Brand! – Taken June 24, 2020

Aside from leaving a bad taste in her fans’ mouths, many say this brand-strategy may end up backfiring because it now could be a case for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Since 2017, the agency has kept a sharp eye out for social media influencers who don’t properly disclose when a post is paid content, or when someone owns a brand they are promoting. One case, in particular, that is reminiscent of Yara’s situation is CS:GO Lotto.

The owners of CS:GO Lotto essentially did what Yara just did. They owned a business and promoted it while pretending they stumbled across it and had no relation to the brand. That’s illegal according to the FTC ACT. and the owners of that CS:GO Lotto eventually settled with the agency in 2017.

Since then, the FTC has issued clear advertising guidelines for content creators. Such guidelines include points like, “Clearly DISCLOSE when you have a financial or family relationship with a brand.” or “Ensure your sponsorship disclosure is HARD TO MISS,” among others.

The Do's and Don'ts of Social Media Influencers
FTC Influencer Guidelines. Via the Federal Trade Commission

At first glace, it doesn’t seem that Yara properly followed these guidelines, and in response, fans have allegedly been sending the FTC complaints.

Backtracking

After receiving backlash, Yara seems to have been trying to do some damage control by responding to comments on Instagram and apologizing for deceiving fans.

She also, according to Beauty Independent, released a statement saying, “I validated my true love for my brand as a reason to post. My intent was never to deceive my followers… In hindsight I should have waited to promote anything from the line until we were ready to announce my involvement.”

“I realize some of my viewers are disappointed in my strategy and I believe their feelings are justified,” she continued. “This has been an incredibly valuable lesson for me and my team. I’m very sorry if anyone felt I was manipulative, but I can assure you my intentions were good. I know that doesn’t make the situation better, so I apologize whole-heartedly.’

Beyond just apologizing to fans, Yara has gone back to every video on her channel that featured Naturium and added a disclaimer to the bottom of each description box.

“DISCLAIMER: I am a co-founder of NATURIUM and this description may contain affiliate links for a small commission on purchased products,” it reads. “Affiliate links support our channel, so we can continue to make fun videos for you. Thanks for watching and shopping!”

Screenshot of video description from 4 Affordable Vitamin C Serums I recommend – Taken June 24, 2020

However, while parts of Yara’s disclaimer existed before Sunday, the addition of “I am a co-founder of NATURIUM” was only added after Sunday’s backlash. Even with this edition, the post doesn’t comply with the FTC’s guidelines.

Part of the guidelines dictate that posts, “Don’t rely on disclosures that people will see only if they click “more,” but in order to properly see this disclaimer, a user would need to do just that.

Screen of video description froAffordable Vitamin C Serums I recommend – Taken June 24, 2020

Currently, there is no word on whether or not the FTC will take action, but it does, Yara could be liable for upwards of $40,000 per infringing post.

Others Dragged In

For a lot of fans, there’s still another issue with this entire ordeal: whether or not other influencers who reviewed the products knew about Yara’s involvement.

This list included people featured in the announcement video like Hyram, James Welsh,  Liah Yoo, and the channel Beauty Within. Yet, based on Yara’s announcement video, no one else knew it was her brand.

In an Instagram story Yara published Monday, she tried to shut down this claim, writing, “Hi everyone. I have seen the comments come through today and I’m very sorry I upset you… I can assure you no one knew about my involvement with NATURUM when they posted about the brand.”

Screenshot of @susanyara – Susan Yara’s Instagram Live Story – Taken June 23, 2020

Yara also added, “It was insinuated in a live today content creators knew more and that is completely false information.” Many fans thought this was a reference to Caroline Hirons, another skincare expert on the platform who hosted an hour-log Instagram live stream also on Monday. However, at no point in that stream did Hirons hint that anyone else knew.

She also added that she would be releasing a video on the topic “soon,” but as of June 24, no such video has been released.

A previous version of this story stated that Caroline Hirons insinuated in an hour-long live stream that other creators knew Susan Yara owned Nutrium. That is not the case, and this article has been updated to reflect that.

See What Others Are Saying: (Beauty Independent) (Daily Dot)

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Trisha Paytas Departs From “Frenemies” Podcast With Ethan Klein

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The announcement came after Paytas and co-host Ethan Klein engaged in a heated argument on the most recent episode of their show.


Paytas and Klein Argue

YouTuber Trisha Paytas announced Tuesday that they are stepping down from the “Frenemies” podcast with Ethan Klein. 

Paytas, who uses they/them pronouns, posted a 22-minute long video explaining their decision. The departure comes after Paytas and Klein got in a heated argument on the most recent episode of “Frenemies,” which paying members had access to on Monday and the general public received access to on Tuesday. 

The dispute started when Paytas appeared unenthusiastic about a new advice segment that was added to the show. Klein then made a comment about how Paytas contributes nothing to “Frenemies” and just shows up to film, which ignited a fight about creative differences the two have when it comes to the production of the podcast.

Paytas seemed overall frustrated that they do not have more input on the show and that their ideas are allegedly often dismissed.

“I never pick the costumes, I never do the Vlogs, I give so many ideas,” they said. “I say dancing for the vlogs, I give all these ideas and you don’t…I don’t think it’s a good segment.” 

Paytas also mentioned that they get no say on new hires even though Klein uses 5% of the podcast’s revenue, as well as money earned from highlight episodes of the podcast, to pay the crew and cover production costs. Klein, however, argued that he does not need to run new hires by Paytas because those people are hired as employees for his production company, H3 Productions, which produces and airs “Frenemies.”

These are employees of our production company,” he said.

“It’s literally about we are producing the show and I am taking a cut, I feel like that is beyond reasonable,” he later added. 

Klein claimed that he already gives Paytas 50% of everything else, which he argues is an incredibly good deal considering H3 Productions does all the backend work. Paytas still felt differently and said that “Frenemies” should have its own employees. 

After the argument escalated, Paytas walked off the set holding back tears and the episode ended. Many found Paytas’ comments, specifically the ones referencing the crew and their pay, to be rude and disrespectful. 

Paytas Leaves “Frenemies”

On Tuesday morning, Paytas posted a video announcing and explaining their departure. They claimed that the crew was frustrated and did not want to film with Paytas the next day, partially because the segment Paytas had slammed came from a new hire. 

Paytas stressed that wanting more money was not their issue. Instead, they said they truly just wanted the show to be more of a 50/50 partnership creatively. Paytas said that while they understand Klein produces the show, they would have loved to pitch in on producing as well, but often just felt like an outsider. 

“I do feel like I contributed half to Frenemies, building the H3 channel,” Paytas explained. “Like I would have loved to have Frenemies on my channel and build up my channel. I could have produced it, I could have built sets, I’m capable of this stuff.” 

Paytas also clarified that they have no issue with the crew. While Paytas said they were not sorry for bringing these issues up, they were sorry for how the message was delivered. 

They added that in the end, they really felt like they brought an underappreciated value to the show. Paytas also said that in the beginning of this partnership, they were under the impression that they would be building something entirely new with Klein. 

“If I knew I was coming in as a third H3 show, like I swear hand to god I would not have done it,” they said.

Paytas added a lengthy comment below the video after it was posted, saying they were leaving “to ease the tension everywhere.”

“I don’t want to be the toxicity in their machine,” Paytas continued. “And I can feel that I am. And it’s not good for anyone involved.”

Klein and Paytas Lash Out on Twitter

Klein responded to the video on Tuesday. In two posts he joked about it being National Best Friend’s Day and asked what he should do with the 4,000 “Frenemies” hoodies he has. In a more serious tweet, he said he was “gutted” about the situation. 

Trisha’s video this morning was a total surprise to me,” he added. “I don’t really know what more I can say or do. I’m very sorry to all the fans of frenemies, I know how much it meant to everyone, I did everything I humanly could to save it.”

Things escalated later in the day when Paytas posted a second video further explaining their decision to leave the podcast. They said the last thing they ever wanted to do was disrespect the crew, and again emphasized that money was never their issue.

Paytas also acknowledged that they should have never brought up money on the podcast or in front of the crew in the first place. Things, however, continued to spiral on Twitter as Paytas and Klein engaged in a stormy back-and-forth. 

Among other things, Klein said he was angry that Paytas’ fans were sending hate to the crew members online. He said he reached out to Paytas because he was upset with the way they handled things but said he will ultimately always cherish his experience making “Frenemies.”

Paytas responded to him and insisted they were never rude to the crew themself. Paytas also shared text messages, accusing Klein of being misleading and flip-flopping on how the money for production costs was spent. Paytas is receiving a considerable amount of backlash for one of the texts they shared, as one screenshot shows them making an antisemitic remark to Klein. 

Crew members also engaged in online discourse about the news, including Dan from H3 Productions, who accused Paytas of lying in their videos. According to Dan, the crew was actually fully prepared to film with Paytas the next day and Klein was the one to cancel the shoot. 

Dan also said that the new hire was not the person who came up with the segment Paytas took issue with and instead was just the person who presented and prepared it.

Klein and Paytas later deleted most of their tweets attacking each other. Both said they should not have aired those feelings and messages on Twitter.

Paytas Apologizes To Fans and Klein

On Wednesday morning, Paytas apologized to Klein and others who worked on “Frenemies,” saying they were “embarrassed” by the situation. In a separate tweet, Paytas apologized to fans for ending things so turbulently.

“I feel horrible,” they wrote. “This is the worst feeling to see people think I’m this heartless monster who doesn’t do anything wrong. I have been in the wrong so many times on frenemies, they’ve been really wonderful to me.”

Paytas then uploaded a third video titled “I’m Sorry.” In it, they said the whole situation had been blown out of proportion and that the first two videos were meant to clarify issues but only made things worse. They again apologized for leaving the podcast and for disappointing fans. 

“I don’t know how to make the situation right…I don’t know what to do,” Paytas said.

See what others are saying: (Mashable) (Insider) (Paper)

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Showtime Will Process Refunds After Crashing During Paul Vs. Mayweather Fight

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Many said they were unable to watch the highly anticipated pay-per-view event because of technical difficulties.


Showtime To Issue Refunds

Showtime is processing refunds for customers who could not watch Sunday’s highly anticipated fight between YouTuber Logan Paul and boxing champion Floyd Mayweather because of technical difficulties on the streaming platform. 

The night of the event, Twitter was full of users complaining that Showtime had crashed during the fight. The company released a statement saying it was “aware that some customers have been having trouble accessing tonight’s Pay Per View event” and was “working diligently to resolve the issue and will redress customers appropriately.”

Showtime Support’s Twitter account later told people to return to the event in ten minutes, though that still did not resolve the issue for many viewers.

In a tweet on Monday, the service said anyone who purchased the fight via Showtime’s website or app but was unable to watch it could request a refund. 

What Happened During the Fight?

The fight ultimately lasted eight rounds, ending without a knockout or winner. After the match, Mayweather said Paul was “better” than he anticipated. 

“He’s a tough, rough competitor,” he continued. “It was good action, to have fun and I was surprised by him tonight. Good little work, good guy.” 

“I don’t want anyone to tell me anything is impossible ever again,” Paul told reporters. “The fact that I’m in here with one of the greatest boxers of all time proves that the odds can be beat.”

A report from The New York Times said that both Paul and Mayweather “assuredly took home millions” from the event, but exactly how much they made is still a mystery.

See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (The New York Times) (The Wrap)

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Amouranth Says Twitch Suspended Ads on Her Channel Without Warning

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Amouranth claims Twitch never specified what made her channel unsuitable for ads, but many have pointed to her controversial hot tub streams, which are technically allowed under the platform’s guidelines.


Amouranth Reveals Twitch Ad Suspension

Twitch streamer Kaitlyn Siragusa, known online as Amouranth, said Tuesday that the platform indefinitely suspended ads on her channel without any warning or communication. 

Siragusa has become known for her hot tub streams, a trend that has recently stirred controversy on Twitch. The platform’s terms of service technically allow streamers to wear bathing suits so long as they provide appropriate coverage and the person is streaming from a location where swimwear is standard attire. Hut tub streams fit this bill, but some believe they cross a line and are in bad taste. Others, however, think the largely female streamers participating in the trend should be allowed to continue these streams and are doing no harm.

Twitch has largely stayed out of this issue, though the company previously said it had its eyes on the situation. Now, according to Siragusa, the company might be taking a stand. 

“Yesterday I was informed that Twitch has Indefinitely Suspended Advertising on my channel,” she wrote on Twitter, claiming the company did not reach out to tell her. 

“I had to initiate the conversation after noticing, without any prior warning, all the ads revenue had disappeared from my Channel Analytics.”

“This is an ALARMING precedent,” she continued. She claimed that even if content falls within the site’s terms of service, Twitch has the ability to “target individual channels” and decide what is and is not “advertiser friendly” even though there are no clear guidelines for this. 

“There is no known policy for what results in a streamer being put on this blacklist,” Siragusa added. “With characteristic opacity, The only thing twitch made clear is that it is unclear whether or when my account can be reinstated.”

While it looks like Twitch never specified what about her channel was not advertiser-friendly, people have unsurprisingly pointed to her hot tub streams. Twitch has not issued a comment on the matter, but its alleged decision to demonetize Siragusa would be a major one. According to Kotaku, the platform has never used its power to demonetize a creator before. 

Creators Respond to Amouranth’s Claim

Online, some have cheered Twitch’s alleged decision while others have slammed the platform for its lack of communication. Several creators have echoed Siragusa’s concerns that it sets a dangerous precedent when it comes to what kind of content the site can crack down on. 

“Why is it that they just didn’t come over and say, ‘stop doing this, or we are going to demonetize you.’ You know what I mean?” streamer Asmongold asked during a stream on Tuesday. 

“Look, I understand people are getting a hard-on because they’re happy this thing happened because they don’t like hot tub streamers, I get that,” he continued. “But you understand what she’s saying, she’s not wrong! She’s not wrong in saying this, this is true. And them not talking to her at all about it?” 

Streamer and adult film star Mia Malkova shared his concerns and confusion about Twitch not reaching out to Siragusa first. 

No statement/warning is ridiculous and no way to treat the people that use their platform,” Malkova said in a tweet to Siragusa. 

On Twitter, streamer Devin Nash called out those who celebrated the demonetization, claiming that while some users might agree with Twitch in this instance, the move could impact a creator they support in the future.

If you think this stops at sexual content, think again,” he wrote.

One of Twitch’s most popular streamers, xQc, who was previously very critical of hut tub streams, seemed to imply that he felt Siragusa’s demonetization signaled a potential issue for everyone on Twitch. He encouraged people to “chill out” until there is more communication from Twitch on the matter, but added that this means “things are a little bit adaptive” on the site. 

There’s a lot of people that do the same content that she does,” he said on a Tuesday stream. “And if everybody does the same content, and something was [against the terms of service], if one got banned, you guys would all say, ‘Look at the other guys that aren’t being banned.’ But now that this is against her and she loses her ads, nobody is saying, ‘But what about the other guys? Why aren’t they losing their ads?’” 

He later added that this move “might have saved everybody from losing their ads” and that Siragusa “might be a scapegoat” for other streamers, but did not elaborate on that point. 

See what others are saying: (Kotaku) (The Verge) (BBC News)

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