Philip DeFranco is a popular face on YouTube, known for bringing a largely impartial take on current events and popular culture through his growing team of journalists - but one major news outlet is painting him in a less-than-favorable light.
The New York Times published a piece called ‘The Making of a YouTube Radical’ on June 8, which told the story of “college dropout” Caleb Cain, who had reportedly been indoctrinated with far-right ideology thanks to various YouTube channels - one of which appeared to be Philip DeFranco.
As users scroll through the piece, they are met with a series of YouTube thumbnails featuring such figures as Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson. However, one face stands out in the mix: that of Philip DeFranco, who called out the New York times for this apparent alignment with the far-right.
“Hey uhhh @nytimes...what the fuck is this?” DeFranco Tweeted.
NYT tech columnist Kevin Roose was quick to reply to DeFranco, explaining that the thumbnails were a sample of 12,000 videos taken from Cain’s YouTube history from 2015 onwards - a statement backed up by a memo at the beginning of the article.
Hey, writer here. This collage is just a sample from his viewing history. Some far-right, some not.— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) June 8, 2019
“Hey, writer here,” Roose responded. “This collage is just a sample from his viewing history. Some far-right, some not.”
However, DeFranco was nonplussed by Roose’s explanation, arguing that users skimming through the piece might label him as a far-right mouthpiece due to his appearance in collage.
“Then please speak with your graphics department,” DeFranco shot back. “Because this slowly disappearing thumbnail collage with escalating language seems to insinuate a lot. You know how many people skim or just read headlines.”
Then please speak with your graphics department. Bc this slowly disappearing thumbnail collage with escalating language seems to insinuate a lot.— Philip DeFranco (@PhillyD) June 8, 2019
You know how many people skim or just read headlines.
DeFranco wasn’t the only high-profile YouTuber to speak out on the issue, either; Drama Alert’s Daniel ‘KEEMSTAR’ Keem likewise called out the Times in a Tweet of his own, despite his ongoing and largely one-sided beef with DeFranco.
“The NY Times. the most trusted news source in America, literally suggested @PhillyD was Far Right!!!” KEEMSTAR wrote. “Hahahahah journalism in America is dead!!!”
Philip DeFranco has since provided an update on the matter, claiming that the New York times has amended the matter - although he still took issue with being represented amidst the “escalating language” of the piece.
UPDATE. Was informed the @nytimes article was updated.— Philip DeFranco (@PhillyD) June 8, 2019
BUT upon checking I still showed up as one of the last people associated with the escalating language (this time no Kimmel) and they added a nonspecific “but not all of them” caption if people scroll down. Lol wtf pic.twitter.com/aMQd0s0uC5
This issue follows another “adpocalypse” on YouTube, which cropped up amidst a debacle between commentator Stephen Crowder and Vox journalist Carlos Maza, who called out YouTube for not dealing with Crowder’s comments against him.
The issue has since raised a heated discussion on the limitations of "free speech" throughout social media, with many top YouTubers speaking out on the matter across the web.