It's pretty easy to be fooled by social media. Creating a perfect life for yourself becomes that much simpler when you have a screen between you and the rest of the world. So much so that we live in a time where people build entire careers off of their social media fame. Whether we're talking about beauty, lifestyle, or gaming, this truly is the golden age of the influencer.
Of course, living an entire life in the public eye comes with its hardships. For better or for worse, people live for drama, and there's nothing more satisfying for some bystanders to see praised influencers fall from grace and get a taste of real life. It's hard to find an influencer who hasn't been plagued by a scandal at least once.
And while some situations are easily forgivable, with fans having absolutely no problem forgetting and moving on, others are simply too hard to ignore. With that being said, here are the worst scandals influencers were involved in, ranked!
There was a time when Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin were far from being the epitome of the perfect relationship. Many couples bless our Instagram feed daily with their astonishing good-looks, dream vacation destinations, and luscious lives in general. However, none of them quite reach the level models Alexis Ren and Jay Alvarez once had.
These two were well known for being ridiculously pretty and for making stunning videos of their travels around the world. Everyone thought they had the perfect relationship... until they didn't. When the couple broke up, after a small period of silence, they were quick to attack each other social media. It wasn't pretty, but the whole thing ended with Alexis accusing Jay of being emotionally abusive and of having small "gear." Ouch.
On what became known as the Fyre Festival of the influencer world, Youtuber Tana Mongeau pulled a stunt with the potential to ruin anyone's reputation. Back in 2018, she posted a long rant on her channel sharing with her followers whys he wouldn't be attending VidCon due to previous issues with the event's organization.
One thing led to another, and she decided to hold her own event, TanaCon. It was free and it was supposed to offer attendees concerts, meet and greets with other celebrities, and all the great stuff that usually happens at these things. Well, fast forward to the set date and 20,000 fans were left a with nothing but the information that it was canceled on the first day after hundreds were stuck waiting in line and the venue quickly ran out of capacity. She meant well, but she managed to enrage 20,000 people in the process.
One of the biggest money-making schemes running wild on social media is related to health and fitness. The advent of social media puts more pressure than ever on people to achieve nearly-impossible figures that are often depicted on Instagram and other channels. Fitness influencers harness this to their advantage and often advertise their nutrition and exercise programs to fans.
Brittany Dawn Davis was one of these influencers. She made a living by selling e-books, and other programs that promised to help people achieve the body of their dreams. Things took a turn for the worse when claims from several people started surfacing that the products that were paid for either didn't arrive or didn't match the description at all. She posted an apology video basically saying she was in over her head with the business—an answer that was far from satisfying.
Once upon a time, Essena was well on her way to becoming one of the most successful Instagram influencers out there. She had beauty, brains, and buckets of the charisma that many of the typical social media models lack nowadays. Essena was lovable and unique, and thoroughly documented her fitness and vegan journey both on her blog and Instagram page.
One day, however, everything changed. The Australian beauty deleted most of her Instagram posts and changed the captions, being very candid about what was happening and what she was feeling behind the scenes; crippling anxiety and immense pressure. She went on a few video rants with a bare face explaining how everything about social media is so fake and nearly sent her over the edge. She was never heard of again online. Essena's journey is a true testament to the dangers of leaving a seemingly perfect life online.
There's something admirable about people who are self-made. Those who aren't born into privilege, but somehow manage to build a good life for themselves, against all the odds. While this is no way a generalization, those who are indeed born to privilege tend to be very unaware of real-life consequences of devious actions.
Youtuber and influencer Olivia Jade is also the daughter of actress Lori Loughlin, who was recently caught in the midst of a college admission scandal. Allegedly, she's one of the wealthy parents who paid substantial bribes in order to get their children into college. While Jade was completely unaware of this fact, instances were she shared with her fans she didn't really care about school, alongside the scandal itself, made a big dent in her reputation. Sephora ended their partnership, and Olivia hasn't posted on social media in months.
It's been everywhere, and it's probably one of the most mediatized influencer related scandals of all time. James Charles has already been catching the public's attention lately, and not because of his great makeup tutorials—more because he's been accused of harassing men he finds attractive on social media.
The latest scandal broke when Tati Westbrook, a make-up artist who was very close friends with Charles, posted an almost hour-long rant on her Youtube channel titled "Bye Sister", where she gave the audience a lot of receipts on why she was done with Charles, who supposedly sponsored one of her competitors. This, of course, is not the only reason fans reacted so harshly. James lost nearly 3 million subscribers, while Tati won nearly 4 million, but it surely added fuel to the fire. Things seem to have been put to rest by both of them, but the public will never forget the drama!
He's the most subscribed channel on Youtube, but his massive following hasn't stopped PewDiePie, real name Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, from being involved in a series of scandals throughout his career. Most recently, he's been talked about endlessly due to his battle with fellow YouTubers T-Series in order to maintain his spot has the most subscribed channel.
This, however, is far from being the biggest scandal PewDiePie has seen during his career as a popular household name. Over the years, he's has a track record of making anti-semitic comments, as well as using related imagery in his videos. A couple of years ago, he posted a video using the n-word, and has used homophobic language several times, as well as mocking fellow Youtubers who speak of wage gaps between men and women. These controversies have led to a series of canceled high-profile partnerships over the years.
Remember Vine? Those were some good times, simpler times when people seriously injured themselves in the name of comedy. For better or for worse, Vine gave us some quality memes and helped many celebrities rise to prominence, including Lele Pons and Brittany Furlan.
Cameron Dallas was one of those people, who managed to stay relevant even after the platform died. He has a massive Instagram following and some sort of a music career. Well, things haven't always been perfect! Dallas was arrested on New Year's weekend in 2018 and charged with second-degree assault after police found a man with injuries on his face. Dallas was released on bail, and later released a statement that justified the incident as protecting "himself and the people you care about". It was harsh and shook fans to the core.
Logan Paul is the wild child of social media influencers. He's been linked to more controversies than most of the people on this list combined. Perhaps this is the formula he found to remain relevant, or perhaps this is the only way he knows. We'll probably never find out for sure, but we do have direct access to all his scandals—mostly because he makes a point to broadcast them for the world to see.
One of the most outrageous things that came out of Paul's career was when he posted a video while in Japan. There's a very particular forest in Japan known because many people go there to commit suicide. Logan definitely crossed a line when he filmed a dead body and was quick to post the content on social media. The backlash was immense and led to many apologies on Logan's part, but still, the damage is done and will hardly be forgotten.
Youtube stars going off the rails seems to be a recurring theme. It probably has less to do with the platform itself and more with what increasing amounts of fame and power do to heads of usually young people, but still—what's up, Youtube?
Yet another star known for his presence on the social channel, Austin Jones, faced controversy. This one, however, is even more serious than previous ones. The former star recently pleaded guilty to persuading half a dozen underaged fans into sending him sexual recordings of themselves. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and he Youtube channel has been suspended—hopefully forever.