Influencers Are Not Required To Be Your Role-Models

The opinions expressed in this article are that of the author and are not representative of the views of The Hysteria Collective as a whole.

On Friday 20th August, a content creator named Gee Nelly hosted a birthday party which created a lot of backlash. A lot of well-known content creators (mostly YouTubers and Twitch streamers) came together at a private bowling alley, unmasked, to celebrate Gee’s birthday. And, despite probably not being recommended to do during a pandemic, this gathering was entirely legal and, as Gee stated herself, “was within UK government guidelines”.

So, what caused Gee to resort to a Twitter apology? Many of the content creators that attended woke up to a harsh backlash, mostly from users who belong to what is known as ‘Minecraft Twitter’. The most common complaint was that a lot of videos and photos being shared displayed individuals unmasked and in close proximity to one another, which contrasts heavily to the scenes over this past year that we all have faced.

Many fans from ‘Minecraft Twitter’ were disappointed in particular members of the Minecraft content creator space for attending such a party, despite the UK itself holding large celebrations and having hosted some of the Euro 2020 football matches and numerous festivals across the country. However, the public’s greatest criticism was aimed at the responsibility of possessing such huge platforms whilst behaving this way. But – shock horror – influencers don’t really owe you anything. How much influence they have is up to you, and you only. If their audience are too young or ignorant to make their own decisions and follow a famous person blindly, that is not really the influencer’s problem.

Of course, Gee Nelly’s birthday party is not the only example of influencers being held to unnecessary standards in the modern world. In the past, singers like Miley Cyrus have faced backlash for their non-PG actions. And a more recent example is Lil Nas X, who is rightly unashamed of his sexuality and whose music videos and performances show an unrivalled confidence and talent – but some parents clearly have problems with this. Backlash and cancel culture are constant hurdles in the lives of all influencers.

Although I do believe that influencers have a duty to avoid spreading misinformation to their audiences, they should not have to filter their day-to-day lives to please their fans. I would not personally attend a birthday party under the current circumstances, but no one at the party was explicitly encouraging more parties to happen. They simply found a way to celebrate, in a legal and (mostly) safe manner. Just because you are not okay with it, you have no right to send death-threats and numerous abusive tweets to some influencers who were only doing what many other people in the country have done since July 19th.

Image courtesy of Mateus Campos Felipe.

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