20 WORST YouTube Scandals Ever

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu
These infamous scandals rocked YouTube. For this list, we'll be looking at scandals that plagued the YouTube community and made mainstream headlines, including everything from copyright infringement to disturbing prank content. Our countdown includes Hosseinzadeh v. Klein, Nicole Arbour & Matthew Santoro, The Myka Stauffer Family Scandal, TanaCon, PewDiePie's Racism Scandals, and more!

Top 20 Worst YouTube Scandals of All Time

Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down the Top 20 Worst YouTube Scandals of All Time.

For this list, we’ll be looking at scandals that plagued the YouTube community and made mainstream headlines, including everything from copyright infringement to disturbing prank content.

Which scandal did you find the most shocking? Let us know in the comments.

#20: Hosseinzadeh v. Klein

You may know these parties better as YouTube personalities Bold Guy and h3h3Productions. For those unfamiliar with the works of Ethan and Hila Klein, their two channels h3h3 and Ethan and Hila boast comedy skits, reaction videos, and YouTube criticism. When they reacted to a video uploaded by MattHossZone, the channel’s owner, Matthew Hosseinzadeh, didn’t take too kindly to the slamming – or their use of his content. His lawyer demanded the video to be taken down, never spoken of again, and wanted $4,000 in compensation. The lawsuit continued, causing big names like Philip DeFranco and the Fine Brothers to band together to help fund h3h3’s defense in the name of fair use.

#19: YouTube Heroes & Subscriber Bug

2016 will go down as a write-off for just about everybody – especially YouTube. Throughout the year, many YouTubers saw a hefty dip in their subscribers and were understandably a bit miffed. In response to the outcry, YouTube kind of admitted they didn’t know what was happening, later saying it was a bug. To add fuel to the rage fire, YouTube then came out with “YouTube Heroes” in September 2016, a program that would allow users to flag videos, report users, and assist in closed captioning. Basically, they wanted people to work for YouTube for free. In a sad twist of irony, the community backlash was so brutal that YouTube disabled the Comments section on the video. Talk about a downvote...

#18: Marina Joyce Fake Kidnapping

In July 2016, this young beauty vlogger came under serious scrutiny. In a video about date outfits, Marina Joyce seemed to be behaving strangely. Her fans immediately noticed she wasn’t her normal energetic self, and some even thought they could see bruises on her body. Many took these as signs Joyce was in danger, with some even speculating she was kidnapped by ISIS. The hashtag #savemarinajoyce quickly spread online, with fears escalating to the point that authorities visited her home. In reality, the video was just an awkward advertisement, and her bruises a result of a tumble in the woods prior to shooting the video. Whether this was a stunt Joyce pulled, the real deal, or just a lot of jumping to conclusions, it’s still quite something.

#17: The Beauty Racism Scandal

What do they say about glass houses and throwing stones again? These beauty gurus could have used a refresher! In summer 2018, the beauty community was rocked by a racism scandal reported in Vox and The Washington Post. It all started with a fallout between makeup artist Jeffree Star and other beauty mavens. In a tweet, Gabby Zamora accused Star of being racist, but it backfired when followers dug up offensive social media posts from Zamora, as well as Nikita Dragun, Manny MUA, and Laura Lee - who once advised black people to pull up their pants when running from police . . . The scandal led to Lee’s infamous and widely ridiculed apology video.

#16: Toby Turner’s Allegations

Famous for his literal trailers and humorous music videos, Toby Turner, aka Tobuscus, came under fire in Spring 2016 for accusations from ex-girlfriend and YouTube personality AprilEfff. Soon after, another of Turner’s ex-girlfriends – Amelia Talon – came forward saying that Turner had pressured her into using drugs and had also physically hurt her. Jaclyn Glenn, another ex, did speak out in support of Turner, though she also claimed that she often felt pressured, but not forced, to do things during their relationship. In November, she posted again saying that Turner was incessantly messaging her and that she just wanted the whole ordeal to stop.

#15: The Ace Family

On the surface, the Ace Family youtube channel portrays a luxurious and fulfilling family life that any normal person could only dream of. But search the internet using the patriarch’s name “Austin McBroom” and the word “scandal”, and you won’t know where to start with this channel. For one, Austin has been accused of cheating on his wife, assaulting other women and has faced lawsuits related to unpaid bills, namely the foreclosure of their 13 million dollar mansion. He’s also come under severe criticism for his problematic behavior relating to his own children, in particular when he brought his daughter to an adult toy store and posted a video about it to Snapchat. The family has been accused of scamming their audience with various membership programs, and of faking ticket sales to their own events, to inflate the appearance of success. All in all, it’s a little baffling that they are still allowed to exist on the platform.

#14: Elsagate

Spanning multiple channels, Elsagate changed how YouTube monitors content. The foundations were laid in 2014, when Quebec City-based channel “Webs and Tiaras” began uploading videos featuring people dressed up as Elsa and Spider-Man in unexpected and disturbing situations. At first glance, the videos seemed family-friendly, and designed to draw in younger viewers. But then things get . . . weird. And inappropriate. Then there was the channel “Toy Freaks”, run by a single father who liked to scare his daughters and show them spitting up food. The media was slow to react, but in 2017 a slew of articles prompted YouTube to delete thousands of videos and announce new guidelines.

#13: Eugenia Cooney

Beauty YouTuber Eugenia Cooney has been controversial ever since her first video, due to her extremely thin appearance. In 2016, a petition called for YouTube to temporarily ban her account, claiming she has a negative influence on young girls - some of whom say they want to be “Eugenia Cooney skinny.” Eugenia subsequently stated that she doesn’t endorse being underweight, and YouTube refused to ban her account. This in turn sparked heated discussions around the extent of control and influence that people can or should have over others’ bodies. To this day her videos receive a significant portion of dislikes.

#12: Nicole Arbour & Matthew Santoro

YouTuber Nicole Arbour is best known for her infamous “Dear Fat People” video, in which she harshly criticized obese people. She made more than a few enemies with her comments, all the while gaining a lot of publicity. However, she came into the news AGAIN for another YouTube-related fiasco. Matthew Santoro, who’s best known for his factual list videos, posted a video revealing that he had an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. In a video from January 2016 titled “My Abuse Story,” he talked about the relationship and the ensuing trauma. It wasn’t confirmed that he was referring to Arbour until she posted calling him a “little bitch,” and stated he was using her for attention. Real classy.

#11: LeafyIsHere

For a while there, LeafyIsHere managed to make a career out of just ridiculing people on YouTube. Guess we’re all good at something? In 2016, he decided to turn his mean streak onto autistic YouTuber TommyNC2010, making fun of his appearance and behavior. In a tearful response, TommyNC2010 claimed that Leafy’s toxic fans were sending him death threats. An iDubbbz Content Cop video soon followed, criticizing Leafy’s repetitive and low quality content, after which Leafy’s subscriber count began to plummet. He stopped uploading content in December 2017, and YouTube isn’t exactly worse off for it!

#10: DramaAlert & The RuneScape Pedophile

No one can stir up the drama quite like KEEMSTAR of the controversial DramaAlert channel. However, sometimes he and the channel jump the gun, and in this case, someone got hurt. DramaAlert found a news story about a gamer named John Phillips using RuneScape to lure young women, and singled out Twitch streamer Tony as the culprit – except he wasn’t the guy. Tony soon received death threats and hateful messages, reducing him to tears. YouTuber Scarce entered the scene and called out Keemstar’s lack of fact checking, stating that the actual predator was still in prison, and that Tony was an innocent man. KEEMSTAR issued an apology video and offered the man money in damages, but many thought “sorry” wasn’t nearly enough.

#9:The Channel Awesome Management Controversy

There’s only so much that people will take. In March 2018, former Channel Awesome employees alleged mistreatment by the company’s upper management. They accused the Walker borthers of being incompetent and failing to communicate with producers, and alleged that the company fosters an incredibly sexist working environment. A few months later, a document titled Not So Awesome was released via Google Drive, detailing numerous further complaints. Channel Awesome brushed off the accusations, calling its former employees “disgruntled” and “vindictive” - making the situation much, much worse. When the dust settled, only four producers remained, where once there were 40.

#8: CSGO Lotto: TmarTn & TheSyndicateProject

In 2013, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive became more customizable for users, giving them the option of “skins.” Soon, sites popped up giving users – no matter how old they were – the chance to trade and gamble these coveted items on Counter-Strike games on Steam. YouTuber HonorTheCall started noticing that Trevor Martin, known as TmarTn, and Tom Cassell of TheSyndicateProject both won a LOT of money on, which was used to win the in-game items. He then uncovered that Martin and Cassell were CSGO Lotto’s President and Vice President respectively, which they hadn’t mentioned. What started as a mother suing the game’s developer for allowing her young son to gamble soon resulted in a class-action lawsuit against Martin and Cassell, who had broken the Federal Trade Commission rules.

#7: The Myka Stauffer Family Scandal

Family themed YouTube channels always seem ripe for controversy. DaddyOFive is one example, having had their channel terminated for causing mental damage to their own children. But the Myka Stauffer scandal involving her adopted son is one that is even more twisted and bizarre. In 2017, with some help from a GoFundMe, the Stauffer’s adopted a young boy from China, whom they knew had autism. For several years, audiences got to know their son Huxley and how he was readjusting to his new life and family. Then suddenly, he disappeared from the channel’s uploads, and the news came out shortly after that he had been “rehomed” to a new family that supposedly was more able to suit his special needs. While some of their audience may have been sympathetic to the situation, the overall response on social media was one of shock and disgust, with many accusing the Stauffer’s of exploiting the young child for content.

#6: Sam Pepper’s “Killing Best Friend Prank”

Former Big Brother housemate Sam Pepper is now most known for “prank” videos. In 2014, one of his videos featured him touching women without their consent, but a year later, he went to a whole new level. The video depicts Pepper in disguise, kidnapping online personalities Sam Golbach and Colby Brock, then forcing Golbach to watch Brock get shot. Pepper was shocked by the horrified response, and Golbach expressed the video’s point was about “living life to the full.” When petitions called for Pepper to be banned from YouTube, he responded with a GoFundMe page, promising to delete his YouTube account if pledges hit $1.5 million. By February 2016, Pepper began privatizing his videos and purging his Twitter account before re-emerging as a vlogger.

#5: Shane Dawson & His . . . “Jokes”

Shane Dawson just keeps piling it on. In 2012, Dawson thought it would be hilarious to perform in blackface at VidCon. It . . . wasn’t, and he apologized. In the meantime though, he’d joked - if that’s the word - about Googling inappropriate topics relating to kids. He offered a quote unquote “justification” for this behavior. It all resurfaced in 2018, when he was lambasted on Twitter. That same year, he copped criticism for his documentary on Jake Paul, in which he asked a marriage and family counselor if Jake Paul was a sociopath. Oh, and then in March 2019, someone dug up a clip of him talking about doing disgusting things to a cat.


If Tana Mongeau will be remembered for anything, it will be the utter dumpster fire that was Tanacon. When VidCon refused to brand Tana a “featured creator”, she created the self-named TanaCon in retaliation, hosting it at the Anaheim Marriott Suites on the same day as VidCon. The event was sold well over capacity, leaving fans stuck outside in the sun for hours. And when they got inside, the “convention” was little more than a hotel hallway with nothing to do. The “gift bags” given to VIPs consisted of wristbands and TanaCondoms. Frustrated attendees compared it to Fyre Festival, and security shut the whole thing down after just a few hours.

#3: The Fine Brothers’ React World

Best known for their reaction videos, the Fine Brothers announced plans in 2016 to license their format to creators and trademark the term “react.” Many saw this as a move to capitalize on what is a very common format, and the Fine Brothers were met with heavy criticism from both viewers and fellow content creators. YouTubers with reaction videos were slammed with copyright strikes or requests for compensation, and the Fine Brothers suffered a loss of around 675,000 subscribers. On February 1st, 2016, Rafi and Benny Fine halted the React World program and decided to face the music, but it’s going to be hard to ever forget this bad business move.

#2: PewDiePie’s Racism Scandals

2017 was NOT PewDiePie’s year. In February, the Wall Street Journal pegged nine of his videos as including anti-Semitic content and Nazi imagery. PewDiePie apologized, while also claiming that the media had taken his jokes and statements out context. Nonetheless, he was fired from Disney’s Maker Studios for “going too far.” The following September, Pewds uttered the n-word during a live stream of “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds”, and had to apologize again, calling himself an idiot. Then in December 2018, he was called out for promoting E;R, an anti-Semitic, homophobic, and sexist video essayist. Pewds said he wasn’t aware of E;R’s controversial content, but many found it irresponsible that he hadn’t looked further into the channel.

#1: Logan Paul in Aokigahara

In the history of YouTube scandals, the time Logan Paul filmed someone who took their own life deserves a whole chapter. The video saw Paul and friends traveling into Japan’s infamous Aokigahara forest, a location that is said to house the ghosts of the dead. The group eventually came upon a corpse hanging from a tree. They filmed the body, their reactions, and then shockingly uploaded the whole thing to YouTube The backlash was swift, with even well-known celebrities chiming in. Sophie Turner called him “an idiot,” and Aaron Paul said he should “rot in hell.” The scandal and Logan’s other antics eventually led to YouTube temporarily suspending advertising on his channels.