YouTube star Austin Jones was arrested yesterday on charges of child pornography.
According to court documents obtained by E! News, the 24-year-old singer—who amassed more than 500,000 subscribers for his a Capella pop music covers—was allegedly in communication with two underage female victims in August 2016 and May 2017 over Facebook. The criminal complaint claimed Jones requested one girl to “prove” she was his “biggest fan” by sending him sexually explicit videos.
He could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
The news has undoubtedly shaken the YouTube community, but scandal is certainly nothing new for the video streaming platform.
In fact, let’s take a look back at some of the biggest YouTube stars’ controversies in the past…
Nicole Arbour’s “Dear Fat People:” The YouTuber faced controversy after she posted a nearly six-minute long video in which she bashed people who are overweight and poked fun at the positive body image movements.
The video garnered quite a bit of response, including lots of media attention. However, Arbour continued to defend the video.
“That video was made to offend people just the way I do with all the other videos,” she said on The View. “It’s just satire. I’m just being silly. I’m having a bit of fun and that’s what we did and that topic was actually voted in by fans, some of them who are fat.”
Sam Rader’s Ashley Madison Confession: Sam and Nia YouTubers gained fame for capturing their day-to-day life of being an adorable married couple with kids. However, they first faced backlash when speculation arose regarding the validity of their pregnancy announcement and subsequent miscarriage post. Sam responded by saying they don’t acknowledge the negative commentary and noted that that the positive commentary outweighs that.
Matters turned worse when it was revealed that Sam made the list of married men who had Ashley Madison accounts in 2015. Sam eventually took to YouTube to confess he made the account and ask for forgiveness, while also promising that he never cheated on his wife.
Mike and Heather Martin Lose Custody of the Kids Over Extreme Prank: This YouTuber dad and step mother came under fire after posting an extreme prank video of their kids.
The controversial video—which has since been removed from YouTube—showed the parents screaming and cursing at their two young sons to convince them they had spilled ink on the carpet, causing them to burst into a fit of tears and trembling. The video evoked such backlash that the parents reportedly lost custody of the children, and emergency custody was granted to the boys’ biological mother (according to Time).
They eventually released an apology video, explaining they had gone too far.
PewDiePie Series Canceled After Featuring Anti-Semitic Messages: Swedish gaming vlogger Felix Kjellberg has gained over 55 million subscribers with his videos of gaming reactions and cultural commentary. However, he came under fire after a Wall Street Journal investigation into his YouTube channel found a total of nine videos posted since August 2016 that featured Nazi imagery and anti-Semitic messages.
Following the investigation, Disney-owned Maker Studios (a major multi-channel YouTube network) cut ties with him, and YouTube canceled the second season of his Scare PewDiePie series.
Kjellberg responded by admitting he took the joke too far and apologizing for the offensive remarks.
Daniel Keem Wrongly Labels Elderly Man as a Pedophile: The host of DramaAlert—a “news” channel based on the social interactions in online entertainment—incorrectly labeled a 62-year-old Twitch game streamer as a pedophile, confusing him for an actual pedophile who looked similar (and is still behind bars). The video resulted in the man receiving death threats and an abundance of online abuse.
Upon realizing the mistake, the video was taken down, and Keem released an apology video accepting full responsibility for releasing false information.
Marina Joyce Sparks ISIS Kidnapping Rumors: The 20-year-old beauty and fashion vlogger is known for her upbeat persona and quirky sense of humor. However, she sparked speculation after her posts dramatically changed, featuring her giving blank faces and staring off into the distance.
In fact, this particular video sparked such concern that fans were convinced that she was involved in a trap set up by ISIS and had been kidnapped against her will to make more videos (they even thought they could see her mouth “help me” at one point). The speculation amassed so much conversation, police were eventually called to check on her, only to discover she was totally fine.
Joyce spoke out about the controversy, saying it was “crazy” and promising she’s OK.