Matthew Santoro, a popular YouTuber with five million followers, released a video more serious than his usual comedic fare, opening up about a physically and emotionally abusive relationship. While he doesn't mention her by name, many have reported that the ex he is speaking about is fellow YouTuber Nicole Arbour, whose "Dear Fat People" video went viral last fall.
Santoro wrote that he initially recorded the video in September and had it listed as private, but recently set it to public by accident, and when his fans began to respond, he kept it as public. In the video, Santoro says through tears, "Domestic violence knows no gender. It happens to men and women. It's sad that we live in a society where people think we're supposed to be quiet about these things, and it's wrong."
Arbour first responded to the allegations quite flippantly in the comments of one of her videos:
Arbour expanded her defense by subtweeting before releasing a "rebuttal video" to deny the claims.
On her channel, Arbour said that the hitting incident did not happen, and accused Santoro of abusing his popularity to manipulate viewers: "It's an abuse of a platform of young, impressionable followers. It did not happen," she said, "His video he put out is just another way to hurt me, and my career that's growing quickly."
YouTuber Rob Dyke, a close friend of Santoro's, made a video about the alleged abuse back in September, and said that the police had to get involved:
Famous couples—at all levels of celebrity—often discuss their breakups publicly. But things can get particularly complicated with YouTubers and other social media celebrities who address their fans directly rather than go through a third party like People magazine or publicists. While this will not likely be resolved over YouTube, here's hoping that the discussion inspires people in abusive relationships to open up and seek help.