The full details are under the cut but here's a quick tldr:
- Shane Dawson worked with the Fine Brothers (Benny and Rafi) 10 years ago to make a Degrassi parody. Shane Dawson wore blackface to portray Liberty and Alli. One of the Fine Brothers wore blackface to portray Jimmy and Connor.
- On June 4th, FBE posted a "This Is My Story" video featuring their black reactors to share their stories.
- On June 10th, Reactor, Kennedy, posted on her Twitter about how she was made aware of the blackface videos and how she sent the company an email before the "This Is My Story" video because before when she shared her story she received death threats. The company did not respond so she left the channel. June 10th was also the last day a video was posted on any of the FBE channels.
- On June 11th, a "message" from the founders (Benny and Rafi) was posted onto Twitter.
- Between June 10th and 11th, former staff began speaking out about the toxic culture of FBE.
- On June 15th (PST)/June 16th (EST), the CEO (not Benny and Rafi) finally addressed the situation.
The Degrassi parody videos were posted 10 years ago on Shane Dawson's Youtube channel. They were removed by him because they were very problematic. However they are still on Youtube because they were reuploaded by other people. I will not be linking to them but you can find them easily by searching "Degrassi parody Shane Dawson". There are two parts. The blackface photos are under the spoiler cut:
[Spoiler (click to open)]
One June 4th, FBE posted a "This Is My Story" featuring their black reactors. You can watch that here if you want. The video is set up as a fundraiser for the NAACP. Unsurprisingly, some of the reactors had their portions cut down in editing. I guess that is what happens when you reduce 20+ stories down to two minutes and some change each.
Then on June 10th, Kennedy, one of the reactors spoke out. Many other reactors spoke out to stand in solidarity with Kennedy and then former staff began to speak out:
I can’t stay silent about this. pic.twitter.com/PJjEJ03Mfw— Kennedy Zimet (@KennedyZimet) June 10, 2020
And would freuently ask for the person of color to be on the right of the thumbnail and not the left, our only conclusion as to why that wouls be is the left person is the first one you'd see and thus the first impression.— yourfriendmarcus (@yofriendmarcus) June 11, 2020
Wonderful people work for them and try to enact change
exposure of the blackface incident to Kennedy’s bravery to speak, i now have the courage to speak out about my experience working with you as A BLACK WOMAN+ and how horrible it felt being there during my time as a C-Team member.— mitsuri (@BROOKLINTF) June 11, 2020
A fellow staff member had white privilege and then proceeded to tell her that “White Privilege doesn’t exist” but look at you now 3 years later donating to BLM fighting against that same “white privilege that doesn’t exist”+— mitsuri (@BROOKLINTF) June 11, 2020
Swept under the rug. FBE, please hold yourself accountable. Your apology was only because you got caught. Kennedy, we stand by you. FBE fired the only people that made me feel welcomed and safe in the office. It hasn’t been the same since. Please fucking do better.— always tired (@thewickedlady) June 12, 2020
Now the other heavy topic. I feel compelled to weigh in on FBE. I don't want to, to be honest. But for my friends and coworkers, I have to. I hope that the Fines realize what has been happening in their company and learn from it.— Dan Cybert (@ThatCybertGuy) June 13, 2020
Here is my PERSONAL statement on the matter. pic.twitter.com/S0EUqvQBWd
#BlackLivesMatter (@AlexWex) June 12, 2020
Or how they would ask us to “volunteer” our time to create events like that FBE Meet & Greet event. Or people consistently couldn’t take lunches because they insisted on overloading the production schedule.— Cynthia G (@nirne) June 14, 2020
Or how many of us didn’t even earn a livable wage. https://t.co/Hiough1pcx
On June 11th was a message from the Founders:
A message from our founders. pic.twitter.com/VJNvxKXVXf— FBE (@FBE) June 11, 2020
On June 16th was a message from the current CEO:
From our CEO Marc Hustvedt pic.twitter.com/VfCUjogrIf— FBE (@FBE) June 16, 2020
As a result of all of this, multiple reactors have stated they're leaving or done with FBE. There have been 0 new videos on any of the FBE channels. Their subscriber count has remained 20.1M on their main channel all week. Seems like their was more outrage when they tried to do React World. Of course, more is on Twitter as some of the tweets are threads.
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9