Two weeks ago, Twitter was a storm of angry tweets from a slew of different online creators due to a tweet former YouTuber Alex Day posted:
An article about how it felt when my friends stopped talking to me in what health experts call 'emotional cruelty' https://t.co/cG9NMnBVdy
— Alex Day (@thatalexday) March 17, 2017
For those of you confused, let me back track.
Alex Day faced plenty of back lash three years ago because quite a few people came out stating that he had sexually manipulated his fans and fellow YouTubers. He had also cheated on his ex-girlfriend Carrie Fletcher multiple times. After those allegations surfaced, the YouTube community promptly ejected him just like the other “bad eggs.”
So why has he come back to surface three years later?
Honestly? Because Emma Blackery posted a video on it:
I won’t go into too much detail here on the video, so if you want to know what Emma has to say, you’re welcomed to watch it (Alex’s bit comes in at 5:22).
I do want to note that the reason this article is out two weeks later after the event rather than immediately after is because I wasn’t sure whether to respond. I didn’t want to give more attention to Alex and his Twitter, YouTube channel, etc. because I will flat out tell you that I completely disagree with Alex. There is not an ounce of sympathy for him in my body. He is a complete and utter asshole, in my eyes.
I ended up deciding to write this article because I feel I have a unique point of view and position that I can add to this discussion. So here we go:
What Alex is referencing in his tweet is the ejection process I mentioned previously. Alex was completely ejected from the YouTube community. All of his then YouTuber friends ceased their friendship with him. He removed himself from his merchandise provider DFTBA, he lost his book deal, and he disappeared forever, or at least for a little while…
He compared this ejection from the community to the term “ghosting” and added a link to a Psychology Today article explaining the phenomena.
Ghosting is a term used in the online world. Basically, someone “ghosts” you when they cease contact with you without any explanation. This is very easy to do online because there is no face-to-face contact and fewer commitments to others.
He is correct in claiming that experts say this action is “emotionally cruel.” However what the YouTube community did was not “ghosting.” There was a reason he was ejected from the community. Several claims were made about his sexually manipulative behavior not to mention he cheated on his ex-girlfriend seven times. Those are very good reasons to cease contact.
What Alex probably meant was that he was ostracized from the community. Ostracism is when a person or group ignores another person. This is just as hurtful as ghosting, but generally there is a reason for the action.
I was ostracized from my group of friends last year when I was being a complete and utter ass-hat. I hurt quite a few people who were very close to me because I was selfish and indecisive. In no way do I think this was ghosting because I deserved it.
This is why I have no ounce of sympathy for Alex: From just this one tweet and the tweets following, it seems as if he hasn’t changed one bit.
He claimed that the way others treated him was “emotionally cruel” ignoring the fact that he was emotionally cruel to plenty of others. Ah yes, the counter argument to this would be “two wrongs don’t make a right.” Yes, that is correct. However, Alex should fully be aware that there are consequences to his actions.
The consequence of being an asshole is having others retaliate.
I learned that the hard way. I hurt everyone around me last year, and how did people respond to that? By ostracizing me and taking me out of their lives. The reason I’m not like Alex? Because I think I fully deserved every last bit of it.
His tweets following the uproar prove my point that he hasn’t changed:
Just because I suffered, doesn't mean other people didn't. Having sympathy for one side doesn't mean you lose sympathy for the other side.
— Alex Day (@thatalexday) March 19, 2017
In my opinion, it doesn't seem very useful to practice kindness if you're only using it on those you find it easy to be kind to.
— Alex Day (@thatalexday) March 19, 2017
I agree that you shouldn’t be selectively kind to others. I am a firm believer in sharing kindness with everyone.
This is what my chosen profession of counseling is all about. One of the first hard issues asked in my classes is how to give empathy to those who seemingly don’t deserve it. Examples include serial killers, pedophiles, rapists, abusers, etc. The answer? Understanding their background.
That being said, there is one thing that I think Alex doesn’t quite understand. With anyone who has done wrong a big key of advice is to understand but not condone.
Alex asks for sympathy, but he should be asking for empathy. We shouldn’t feel sorry for him, but we should understand where his mindset comes from. Why Alex is Alex. We should also understand (and I think he needs to as well) that empathizing with him does not mean that we approve of his actions.
Alex asking for people to feel sorry for him really shows that he has not changed at all.
He is still manipulative. He is still playing the victim card, just as Emma claimed. Alex is trying to take away the focus of the actions that he has done and shift it to how people “unfairly” treated him. It seems as if he does not understand the magnitude of his mistakes.
Again, I only say this because I have had experience with being ostracized. I know exactly how hurtful it is to be rejected by your group of friends because of the mistakes you have done. The difference between me and Alex is that I think I deserved what happened to me.
But perhaps I’m wrong. Maybe Alex understands the depth of his mistakes. If this is the case, he has made a poor job of showing this online.
I honestly hope Alex learns to become a better person from this. I firmly believe everyone has the opportunity to change if they think they need to.
Hopefully this article has changed your perspective in some way. Xx