How cool would it be to go viral? How cool would it be to turn into a temporary mini celebrity and then all of a sudden get invited onto The Ellen Show? Whether it’s a little kid singing Bruno Mars, a girl accidentally burning her hair off while doing a curling iron tutorial, or Alex from Target, something can blow up overnight and the next thing you know, your video’s got 1 million views on YouTube.
Now, the 3 cases I presented above are all pretty funny or cute and it simply makes you smile. However, what about on the other end of the spectrum – when you go viral for outrageous and offensive reasons?
I mentioned in class that a YouTube personality, Nicole Arbour, has recently uploaded a video entitled “Dear Fat People.” I’ll provide you with some of the things she said in her video in case you don’t have time to watch the video or just can’t stand to watch it.
- “Fat shaming is not a thing; fat people made that up. That’s a race card with no race. ‘Ya but I couldn’t fit into a store, that’s discrimination.’ Uh, no, that means you’re too fat, you should stop eating.”
- “If we offend you so much that you lose weight, I’m ok with that. You are killing yourself. Yup, I’ll sleep at night.”
- “Fat people parking spots should be at the back of the mall parking lot. Walk to the doors and burn some calories. Why are we helping them?”
So…are you getting a little uncomfortable? Irritated? Upset? I’m guessing that’s how most people felt after watching this video. Nicole Arbour has raised some pretty controversial statements, and because body image has long been a sensitive topic, how can a video trash talking positive body images not cause strong reactions?
As you can see here: this video has had over 6.5 million views so far, and I’m sure people will continue to talk about it for a while. Not only has the video been viewed many times on YouTube, Nicole Arbour also appeared on The View, which undoubtedly gave her more attention. So she’s done it…she’s gone viral! But did she go too far? Nicole Arbour mentioned that she knew people would be very offended by her video. In fact, that’s one of the first things she says in her video. So maybe she was more or less expecting the video to blow up and so begins her rise to fame. Except…would you want to be known as the one who calls people who are overweight lazy and smelly and fat shames them for the entire video?
The video has led to many emotional responses in the forms blog posts, video responses on YouTube, etc. The comment section in “Dear Fat People” has been disabled, but she released another video entitled “Most Offensive Video EVER” responding to other people’s responses. This video has gained 2 million views and numerous comments – which I find strange as to why she left the comment section in this video enabled. Before she changes her mind to disable comments, let’s take a look at some of the top comments.
Pretty harsh comments there. In addition, Nicole Arbour was fired from her gig in the film Don’t Talk to Irene as a result of her video.
Does this sound like a bit of a familiar story? Like we’ve heard it somewhere else before? Well, last week we took a look at Jon Ronson’s TedTalk about online shaming and what happens when it spirals out of control as in the case of Justine Sacco, whose life was changed forever after she shared on Twitter what she thought was a harmless tweet. While she thought it was no big deal, the rest of the world really took charge in condemning her and were openly expressing their distaste and hatred towards her.
Nicole Arbour seems to be in a pretty similar position right now. However, the harsh responses haven’t stopped her from making other videos on YouTube. She’s not too popular with the mass majority right now, but will she face a similar fate to Justine Sacco as the online backlash continues? Or will people realize that while she is fat shaming, they are also online shaming her?
Everyone has opinions, and Nicole Arbour reasonably has her own and has the right to express them. However, I don’t think she should’ve made the video with the intention of becoming (in)famous. She knew that it would offend people, yet, she uploaded it anyway. While she has the right to express her own opinions, her video was publicized in an aggressive tone and uses “comedy” to argue her case and make it ok to publicly ridicule people who are overweight, as well as the body positive concept.
I won’t go on to share my thoughts, but let’s just hope this doesn’t get any worse. Maybe Nicole Arbour will come up with better, non-offensive content for her YouTube, and maybe the audience will cut her some slack before it turns into another Justine Sacco mishap. While I would love to meet Ellen, in the end, going viral is definitely not worth getting fired from a job and having the rest of the world turn on you.