Hank Green's post on the subject.
I have about 1,000 asks that just say “What on earth is happening?” So, let me do my best to tell you.
This week, a young woman came forward who dated Tom Milsom when she was sixteen. She made it clear that that relationship, which ended more than a year ago, was manipulative and exploitative. I talked to Tom about this and he confirmed that the relationship was inappropriate and he regretted it.
I was really angry about it and I released a statement saying as much. After that, I realized how powerful my voice was and was actually a little bit terrified by that. I realized that I had, for a lot of people, made myself seem like the judge and jury of who is a good and bad person and that really freaked me out. I am not an investigation unit, nor am I a court of law. Honestly, I’m still freaked out because I’m worried that, with this post, I’m still doing it.
The positive and supportive response to Olga’s story about Tom enabled some people to come forward anonymously saying that Alex Day had engaged in similar romantic relationships with them that were exploitative and even abusive.
After that happened, several accusations were posted about other YouTubers including Dan and Phil and Tyler Oakley. Those were soon proven to be entirely false and the people who posted them confirmed that they were just making stuff up. I want to reiterate that posting false accounts of abuse undermines the legitimate problems we’re facing and mocks the difficulty that victims face in coming forward and it is a terrible thing to do.
However, the posts about Alex were very credible. But then Alex issued a statement saying he had never engaged in such a relationship.
On a personal note, I then had absolutely no idea what to do. My ask box was 200 asks deep with people asking me to clear the situation up for them, or to publicly condemn Alex or to publicly support Alex. I’d set myself up (accidentally) to look like the omniscient knower of the YouTube community. I was super freaked.
After about a day passed, Alex issued a statement confirming that, in fact, he had been in those relationships and had constructed situations that pressured people into intimacy and had used a model of consent that he admitted was terrible which he referred to “only no means no” which is both extremely disrespectful and a recipe for enabling abuse.
For what it’s worth, my personal read on this situation is that Alex knew he had been shitty and manipulative, but he didn’t realize until the victims came out the extent of what he had done. That does not excuse what he did…the fact that he was so unthinking and irresponsible as to not even notice has its own brand of gross.
This probably goes without saying but I am both furious and saddened that people in my community would have these manipulative, unhealthy, and even abusive relationships. I do not know all of the details of these relationships, nor do I believe it is my place to know, but I have no doubt that Alex and Tom took advantage of people and knew what they were doing and I am so tired of being angry that now I’m just sad.
Thank you for the victims for coming forward and thank you to this entire community for upholding these values in a way that I don’t think any other community in the world would be able to.
If you are in an abusive relationship, or just think you might be, there is help to be had. Sometimes even realizing the nature of your relationship is difficult. And getting out can seem impossible. It is not.
National Sexual Assault Hotline - 1.800.656.HOPE
Alex's post on the subject
Until yesterday, I thought that I had had only appropriate, though occasionally manipulative relationships with women. However, the model of consent that I followed, not that I specifically thought about it at the time - was that only “no” meant “no.” That is not what consent is.
The result of that belief that ‘only no means no’, is that I spent a long part of my life doing shitty things to good people and barely ever realising or acknowledging that I was doing the shitty things.
I’m grateful that victims have come forward to help me recognise how awful that was. And, to clarify - it was an awful way to treat the people in my life. I became an incredibly manipulative person and didn’t really care about people’s feelings. In my sexual experiences with people, nobody ever outright told me “NO, STOP” or pushed me away, or I’d immediately have stopped doing whatever we were doing; everyone I’ve done stuff with has been above the age of consent; and, in all the cases of me having sex with people, everyone says they consented to it.
But there were clearly times where I would try to initiate something, because I thought the other person wanted it, and I trusted my own read of the situation (“they agreed to stay over/they said they wanted it earlier/etc”) rather than paying attention to what the other person was doing and saying in that moment. That’s where I massively fucked up.
It’s only in the last 24 hours that I’m realising how much I created situations that put people under enormous pressure. I wasn’t being responsible enough to be aware of it, and that’s my fault entirely. I want to be clear that I’m not blaming this on my lack of awareness or knowledge of consent and boundaries. I’m blaming myself. I’m deeply, deeply ashamed of this.
Thank you to the people who have shared their stories. I know it was very difficult but it helped me realise how terrible my actions were, and I want to respect their bravery by reiterating that only yes means yes.
P.S. I’ve asked DFTBA to take my merch down from their site. I know they’ve been unsure of what to do since I asserted earlier that I didn’t do anything wrong. But I realise now that I did, so I assume they’d want to take it down anyway.
Responses to Alex's post from people involved
...And I’m angry that when someone is called out for emotional manipulation, that person gives their point of view in a post on the internet that was obviously crafted to portray that person in the very best light they could be portrayed, and people believe that like it’s not just confirming what has already been said: this person is good at manipulating you until you agree with him. ...
'I apologise if I've ever put you in an uncomfortable position'.
No apology or even acknowledgement of the almost-six years of cheating and lying which I’ve had to learn about third-hand over the past two years but apparently he’s great at owning up to his mistakes nowadays, okay.
EDIT: It was incredibly hard for me to post this. Nonetheless, I apologise for making this about me, knowing that other people’s experiences have been infinitely worse.
it's amazing too that now Alex Day claims he DOES know that no means no. when I said "I don't want want to kiss you" he took it as a 'yes'.— Lex (@lexcanroar) March 14, 2014
prominent YouTuber admits to manipulating people & doing things to them without their consent. all the notes are messages of support FOR HIM— Lex (@lexcanroar) March 14, 2014
So in the last 24 hours I lost a boyfriend and gained a nephew. It's a very confusing mix of emotions in my head and heart right now!#crying— Carrie Hope Fletcher (@CarrieHFletcher) March 14, 2014
Olga's initial posts about Tom Milsom. One, two, three
Both Alex's and Tom's music has been removed from the DFTBA website.
Related, American Youtuber Mike Lombardo was sentenced to 5 years in prison at the end of February; given the recent events, his ex-girlfriend- also youtuber Hayley G Hoover wrote a post about their unhealthy relationship.
Sources under the cuts/ in the links.