British YouTuber VeeOneEye has been implicated in the latest round of sexual abuse allegations in the YouTube community.
The response to Sam Pepper’s much-publicized abusive, ignorant, and poorly executed “prank” video has brought about a renewed sense of empowerment for women who have been wronged by YouTubers. The universal condemnation of Pepper’s actions along with the endless outpouring of support for the women he victimized has given hope to others who may have been wronged by their favorite YouTubers, and the strength to share their stories with the world.
One brave young woman who shared her story is 16-year old YouTuber Ania Magliano-Wright. Earlier this evening, Magliano-Wright uploaded a video accusing 22-year-old Jason Sampson (VeeOneEye) of plying her with alcohol in order to sleep with her while she was below the legal age of consent.
“We started texting and arranged to meet… We ended up staying together overnight in London and he suggested buying alcohol. I was fine with this initially, but then as the night wore on it became apparent that he was more in control of how much I was drinking than I was,” she explained.
“I feel like he had a specific goal to get me drunk.
“At the time I was 15, and he was 20. And he was well aware of the fact that I looked up to him and he made use of his position of power in this situation.”
Shortly after the video was released, Jason uploaded an unlisted video to his main YouTube channel addressing the allegations. He begins his video by saying: “Tonight some people have said something about me and I’m not going to deny it. I’d just like my chance to explain myself. [emphasis added]”
He goes on to explain he was raised in a religious household and had difficulty adjusting to the temptations of the wider world after moving out of his parents’ house.
Jason ended his video by saying: “I’ve messed up, and I just want everyone to know that’s not the person I am anymore or the person I’ve been trying to be. I want to say sorry to Ania, and anyone else that I’ve hurt, and anybody that’s affected by this. I’m sorry.”
You have to give him credit for stepping up and taking responsibility for his actions, but a creatively lit and well-articulated video does not negate the fact that he, an adult, had sex with an intoxicated minor. This is considered statutory rape; a serious offense in the U.K. which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
However, much like how Sam Pepper’s abhorrent behavior became something of an open secret in the YouTube community, it seems many of Jason’s close friends have been distancing themselves from him for some time now, which casts some doubt on just how genuine this apology is.
I confronted Jason in 2013 about his actions. His response “they won’t tell anyone” I’ve done as much as I can to distance myself since
— Dave Giles (@davejgiles) September 27, 2014
5 down, 2 to go.
— Thomas Ridgewell (@thetomska) September 27, 2014
@BriBrysHat Being blatantly blind to things going on with Youtubers around me does not make me a good egg by any means.
— BriBry (@BriBryOnTour) September 27, 2014
— BriBry (@BriBryOnTour) September 27, 2014
What we’re witnessing here is another symptom of the increasing divide between creators and their audiences, and the cult of celebrity on YouTube. An alarming trend which has seen countless YouTubers, including many of the most popular creators in the U.K., become aware of undesirable elements within the community but refuse to share that information with anyone outside their immediate circle of friends.
Jason’s behavior was the subject of an expertly-done exposé which was uploaded to YouTube last year by former Junior Apprentice contestant (now YouTuber) Harry Hitchens. The video was ultimately removed after receiving a negative response from Jason’s friends and fans; however, it’s still available to watch here.
If these revelations have proven anything, it’s that this kind of secrecy, whether done in the name of legal liability, self-image, or fear of the stans, has real consequences and serves only to put the most vulnerable members of our community at risk. That’s what makes Ania’s video so special. She didn’t have to make that video, but she shared something so incredibly personal with the world in order to protect other young girls. That is true courage.
Update: More links, including new allegations of rape, sexual misconduct, and sending inapprorpiate messages to minors:
- Anonymous Tumblr post detailing Jason’s inappropriate messages to minors.
- Another anonymous Tumblr post detailing Jason’s sexual misconduct
- Tweets showing Jason asking for pornographic images from a minor
- More tweets showing inappropriate messages
- Yet more tweets…
- Ania’s written response to Jason’s video “not denying” her allegations
- Jason lied to his close friend Evan Edinger when confronted about these rumors.
Finally, check out this excellent video Lex made about the recent allegations of sexual abuse on YouTube: