It is the Youtube scandal that has rocked the internet asunder. It is the type of juicy drama that humanity swarms around for the shock and awe. Involving not one, but multiple prominent internet celebrities, the events that have unfolded in the last 48 hours have essentially destroyed ProJared and his Youtube career.
Since then, I have seen many different takes on the state of ProJared’s Youtube career. Most of them insinuate that it is irredeemably fucked. Some of them believe that, through visual change and time, he could come back and be forgiven. This has got me thinking, as one who has been following this mess since first discovering it hours after everything was brought to light. Is Projared truly fucked? Or could he be forgiven? Before any of that, some context for those who may not know what’s going on.
ProJared is a prominent Youtube creator known for video game reviews dating back to the early 2010’s. Prior to 48 hour ago, he had a million subscribers to his channel and was affiliated with NormalBoots, a troop of Youtube creators including PeanutButterGamer, The Completionist, and Did You Know Gaming. While he hasn’t done much in the last year (on his main channel), his video archive includes dozens of videos analyzing and breaking down RPG/JRPG titles and miscellaneous reviews on current titles. He also had a penchant for “dicking” around, playing with the incorporation of dicks within the gaming medium.
You see, I ended the previous paragraph that way intentionally. ProJared has been “dicking around” himself, as revealed around two days ago by his now ex-wife. He has been accused by her of having a multi-month affair with Youtube creator Commander Holly, who joined ProJared in a variety of D&D-inspired podcasts and variety shows. Holly was also notable of being the ex-wife of Game Grumps contributor RubberRoss (some theorize the divorce was related to this affair). While an accusation is one thing, ProJared’s ex-wife, named Heidi, unearthed a variety of ammo to back up her claims, while followers of both her and ProJared also came up with another shocking revelation: ProJared has been soliciting sexual photos of underaged fans.
So, based on ProJared’s and Commander Holly’s silence on the entire issue, his “mutual” disassociation with NormalBoots, and the build-up of evidence of his actions (i.e. nude and almost-nude photos), all signs point to the accusations made by Heidi to be true. ProJared was not only having a long-term affair with his wife and lying to her about it, but was also involved in collecting sexually-explicit photos from his fans via a Tumblr blog, some of whom were under 18.
Here’s an image detailing ProJared’s Youtube subscriber count as of typing this (and will likely be much lower as time passes:
He may be happy to see that his daily views have increased almost six-fold, but his subscriber count is dwindling very quickly. He has lost about 140,000 subscribers in two days.
On a personal note, I used to be subscribed to ProJared for a number of years. I enjoyed his content and I liked the way he was more focused on analyzing the technical parts of video games than trying to force in humor at every corner. I still find his videos enjoyable; the only reason I unsubscribed was because he seemed to have left his main channel in purgatory for his Let’s Play channel, where he does as everyone else does and plays video games and comments on them. As of typing this, he’s uploaded two videos in the span of nine months on his main channel, neither of which contained the type of content I watch him for.
With this personal history, it’s hard for me to be completely despising of him, despite how horrid his actions have been. He’s taken hours of my life with his content and with the charm of his humor and intelligence of tactical video game breakdown. Seeing as I’ve all but disassociated with him for the past half-year or so, the scandal is absolutely shocking, but it doesn’t really hurt. To say I disagree with his actions would be an enormous understatement, but as someone who has tried to be more sympathetic in recent years, I can’t say I hate him for it. I don’t think people should be judged for a single action or mistake (of course, very dependent on said action/mistake).
Alternatively, this is another good example of differentiating the artist from their work. ProJared, upon the reveal of his secret actions, has lost 140,000 subscribers and counting. I would have unsubscribed, too, had I not already. But is it wrong to watch his content after the act? Can one support the videos themselves as “art pieces” or forms of entertainment knowing that its creator is, at this current juncture, a lying, conniving piece of shit? Is it different because the creator is directly within the product? Lots of different variables here at play that make it interesting to ponder on.
Back to the main point: Can he be redeemed? Can ProJared escape from this? And if he can, what would he have to do? An apology is a surefire must, something he has yet to do. In fact, he tweeted just an hour ago commenting that he couldn’t make “The Descent.” Okay. Otherwise, he’s been completely silent. Not a word about the allegations, Heidi, Holly, the Tumblr blog—nothing. Frankly, he made it worse by playing ignorant about the whole thing. He needs to address it if he has any chance of redeeming himself, should that be possible.
An apology, of course, but to whom? The fanbase? Heidi? Himself? The world? Should he do it through Twitter? Youtube? Tumblr? (Probably not Tumblr.) Everyone does apology videos, including more notorious and less “likable” Youtubers, but I think it’s the standard first step to getting back into the limelight. I think Jared should apologize for everything, for the Tumblr activity, for deceiving Heidi, and for the moral injustices that may not even be known. Own up to it, promise to do better, and move on. It will definitely take time, but time tends to heal all wounds. Even Heidi herself said she doesn’t hate Jared and hopes he gets help. Should he stay with Holly, both should just own up to it and continue forward.
Afterwards, they will be watched like hawks. The opportunities will inevitably shrink and they’ll only have themselves to fall back on. Should ProJared continue to produce content, let him do so. It will take time for him to show that he’s changed and that he’s dedicated to righting the wrongs of his past, but I’d be all for it. People are capable of change and I think the world should be more forgiving. What ProJared has done for the last few years is something that will be hard to forgive, but something I do believe to be forgivable.
As per the question stated by the title of this post, I’m going to go with a very hesitant “Yes.” There would be rough sledding in the months following the scandal, and I’m sure there’s a large pocket of people (particularly women) who would never forgive him even if it killed them. The only thing I could see ProJared doing is apologizing vehemently, then moving on. It’s really all he can do—to improve it, anyway. Perhaps his friends would welcome him back, perhaps the world would forgive him. Perhaps this was the wake-up call he needed to get his career and life back on track. We will have to see from here whether he goes this route or fucks it up entirely.
What do you think of the ProJared scandal? Is he worth redemption?
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