Leafy and the YouTube bullying controversy: everything you need to know

Being a relatively new platform of entertainment, issues involving the YouTube community can sometimes get lost in the endless stream of online news.

But some things are just too important to ignore, and one such issue has just forced its way through the cracks into plain view.

Although he has since removed the video, a successful YouTuber named ‘Leafy’ has been accused of bullying another video maker, who has autism.

Here’s exactly what has happened in YouTube’s latest controversy

What did Leafy do?

Despite the level of popularity that Leafy, who has 1.5 million subscribers, has seemingly attained, there will be people out there who have absolutely no idea who he is or what he does. So here goes.

In the simplest terms that we can possibly muster, Leafy is a video maker popularised by the growing interest in YouTube commentaries – specifically gaming oriented commentary.

As happens with many successful content-makers on YouTube though, the subject of his commentaries slowly shifted from video games to personal gossip, and before long, people have accused Leafy of ‘bullying’ other YouTubers for views.

It’s not hard to see why Leafy has received such criticism. His abrasive style of harshly commentating on… well, just other people, including young children, could easily be construed as cruelty.

Recently though, his ‘I’ll have a go at anyone’ persona took a serious knock, as he was bombarded with criticism – both from the professional YouTube community and from viewers at large – about a video he made criticising video maker TommyNC2010, who has a developmental disability.

It’s important to state that Leafy maintains that he had no idea about Tommy’s apparent learning disability.

But some YouTubers deliberately behave more aggressively in favour of page views, and at some point, video makers will have to be held accountable for the things that they say and do.

What about the backlash?

Well, as you can imagine, news that an autistic YouTuber was being bullied traveled both fast and hard. Watching the desperately upsetting video above, you can absolutely see why.

Leafy was forced to remove the video from his channel, and apologise profusely via Twitter.

Since the initial video was uploaded, victimized YouTuber Tommy has claimed that he has received “death threats”, with fans of Leafy apparently spamming ‘kys’ (meaning ‘Kill Your Self’) in his comments section.

Leafy’s initial video made absolutely no reference or encouragement to death threats against Tommy, and there’s no suggestion he had anything to do with those detestable actions.

Nevertheless, other YouTubers have flocked to criticise Leafy’s videos, pointing out that his recent targets have tended to be children or vulnerable adults.

Needless to say, the negative backlash on Leafy’s channel in the professional community has been severe, but most of the Leafy’s own fans have actually taken to Twitter to support him.

What we’d all give to have fans as understanding as Leafy. What a lucky guy.

Is it bullying?

Before we get into the ethics of what has happened, let’s get one thing straight: what Leafy does is typically make fun of random people on the internet, makes funny jokes about what they look like or the things they do, and people find it funny, so they like his videos.

To many people, this makes Leafy a bully. A funny bully, in some people’s eyes, but a bully nonetheless.

TommyNC2012 is the latest in a long line of victims, fact.


There’s a bigger issue being thrown into focus here.

Realistically, this should open many people’s eyes to the brutality of certain video ‘critiques’ on YouTube, and the impact they can have.

Leafy’s style of commentary may be self-justifying, useless, petty, boring jabber, and trust us when we say that there are plenty of other YouTube channels that you could be following to get your fill of comedic entertainment, but this one controversy illustrates a wider issue with the kind of popular channels that pick on others to generate attention and views.

When popular channels can seemingly get away with breaking YouTube’s own rules on community guidelines and ‘harassment’, the only real winners are the bullies themselves.


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