During a explosive panel at Vidcon last week, feminist Anita Sarkeesian lashed out at popular YouTuber Carl Benjamin after he criticized one of her videos. She accused him of harassment, and later described his mere presence in the audience as an act of intimidation. That provoked several days of back and forth between the two.
On Tuesday, Vidcon’s founders Hank and John Green finally weighed in on the drama, and came out in support of Sarkeesian.
“It is openly known that women on the internet are subject to far greater amounts (and intensity) of harassment and abuse than men,” wrote the brothers in their official statement. “This is a pattern and it’s pervasive. Running this event, we have to be aware when a creator has potentially dangerous harassers or stalkers, and our list for our female creators is a whole lot longer than the list for male creators.”
Sarkeesian makes “documentaries” that whine about how everything in the media is sexist and racist. Benjamin’s videos criticize feminists for going off on tangents, and he puts her in that group. As a result, the two are constantly clashing.
Vidcon’s founders admit that neither Benjamin, who goes by the name Sargon of Akkad, nor others in the community violated the event’s harassment policies. But they blamed him for the vitriol directed towards Sarkeesian by some of his viewers. The Greens said that users who collect footage to use in videos that focus outrage on individuals are not welcome back.
Some YouTubers weren’t happy that the Greens essentially sided with Sarkeesian. “They gave a platform to a person who abused an audience member three times and failed to meet any repercussions at all and instead Vidcon backed them up implicitly and threatened to ban anyone who talked about it,” YouTuber Matt Jarbo, better known as MundaneMatt, said to Heat Street.“Vidcon is clearly not for anyone with alternate opinions.”
“Hahaha deff no bias here at all,” quipped YouTuber sh0eonhead.
TJ Kirk, better known as The Amazing Atheist, called Greens’ statement “absurd bullshit.”
Benjamin says that neither Hank nor John Green contacted him for a statement, choosing instead to take Sarkeesian’s claims at face value.