An apology video can be the one thing to make or break an influencer’s career following a scandal — but with viewers on high alert for any hint of insincerity, many YouTube apologies have fallen short in the eyes of fans.
Apology videos have been one of the most unexpected genres to emerge from YouTube’s popularity. These videos have become so commonplace that they now serve as a source of content, with viewers making satire, viral memes, and more out of the tried and tested format.
While some creators followed through on their promise to reform themselves since their uploads, an apology is nearly always initially met with a new wave of backlash that’s equal to (if not bigger than) the first.
In light of David Dobrik’s recent series of videos regarding the Vlog Squad scandal, people are casting their minds back to some of the most memorable influencer apologies that caused a stir on YouTube.
The most recent entry to the list, Vlog Squad star David Dobrik found himself in the center of a controversy after a woman alleged she was sexually assaulted during the filming of a YouTube video with the group.
David was immediately criticized upon releasing his first apology, with many pointing out the irony of titling the video ‘Let’s Talk’ while also disabling the comments.
His second video followed the more typical format of a YouTuber apology, sitting on the floor in a ‘raw’ approach to the situation. The YouTuber even got emotional this time around, but for many viewers it was too little, too late.
Some viral tweets pointed out that the apology only came after countless sponsors revealed that they would be dropping Dobrik following the controversy, including Bumble, HBO Max, and Audible.
David Dobrik never apologized when the victims came forward, but he did when his sponsors pulled out. This isn’t about remorse, it’s about money.
— dr deluca (@jakeepsteins) March 23, 2021
This beauty influencer unintentionally made one of the most talked-about apologies on the platform in 2018 after she was called out for racist tweets she posted and retweeted back in 2012.
Her initial apology was slammed after people pointed out that Lee was “wiping non-existent tears off of her face,” and it has since become one of the most cited examples of how not to make an apology video.
In 2019, Laura even went on to make an apology video for her previous apology, in which she addressed people’s concerns that she had made herself out to be the victim. Not everyone bought into the second apology either, but she still continues to make her regular beauty content on the platform.
Jeffree Star & Tati Westbrook
Tati Westbrook broke the internet in 2019 when she uploaded a video about James Charles title ‘Bye Sister,’ in which she called him out for predatory behavior, which caused James to lose millions of subscribers. Jeffree Star also joined in, calling the influencer a “danger to society.”
But in 2020, Tati took back what she said about Charles in a video called “Breaking my silence,” claiming that Jeffree Star and YouTuber Shane Dawson had been the ones to get her to make the video, though some felt that the influencer was ‘playing the victim.’
A few weeks later, Jeffree uploaded his own video titled “Doing What’s Right,” in which he apologized to James, sitting on a huge golden sofa.
Jeffree came under fire for bringing the Black Lives Matter into the apology, with one viewer writing, “Jeffree Star bringing up BLM and the injustices in the black/trans community in his video is the grossest form of manipulation and deflection I’ve ever seen.” The beauty mogul lost around 100,00 subscribers as a result of the video.
In 2016, gaming YouTuber Trevor Martin a.k.a. TmarTn got called out for promoting a CS:GO lotto gambling website that he and fellow YouTube Syndicate co-owned, without disclosing it, leading to outrage from fans.
Soon after, Trevor uploaded a video addressing the criticism, but it was met with even further backlash, some calling it “one of the most classic sh*tty YouTube apologies.”
The video subsequently became the result of many memes, often mocking the inclusion of his dog at the start of the video, seen as a play for pity.
The eldest Paul brother received an extraordinary amount of backlash online in 2018 after he filmed and uploaded a video of a suicide victim in the Aokigahara “suicide forest” in Japan. Petitions were even made asking YouTube to delete Logan’s channel.
In his apology video titled “So Sorry” he said that “I’ve made a severe and continuous lapse in my judgment, and I don’t expect to be forgiven, I’m simply here to apologize.”
The video received over 2.5 million dislikes and now stands at almost 60,000 views. While he received backlash over the apology at the time, in light of David Dobrik’s recent series of apology videos, some have said they think Logan followed up on his promise to change.
“Actually comparing this to David’s apology, Logan did a pretty good job – Logan comes across as more sincere and he really did change for the better,” one viewer said.
These videos certainly won’t be the last influencer apologies to receive backlash online, but it goes to show how rare it can be for creators to nail their response first time.