WATCH ABOVE: YouTube star Arbour facing backlash over ‘fat shaming’ vlog. Nicole Bogart reports.
TORONTO – Over the weekend Canadian YouTube personality Nicole Arbour went viral – but not for the reason she may have hoped.
Shortly after posting a video titled, “Dear Fat People” – a six-minute rant ridiculing overweight people – Arbour became the centre of controversy.
“Fat shaming is not a thing. Fat people made that up – that’s the race card with no race,” Arbour says in the video. “If we offend you so much that you lose weight, I’m OK with that. You are killing yourself.”
The video garnered over 20 million views and 177,000 likes on Facebook alone.
WARNING: This video contains graphic language. Discretion is advised.
The YouTube community did not take the video lightly. In fact, some of the platform’s most prominent personalities, including vlogger Grace Helbig, posted videos of their own criticizing Arbour for her comments.
“To me, it looks like you’re using a controversial, personal subject to leverage subscribers and attention in a really negative way, which really bums me out because comedy can really be amazingly powerful and positive,” Helbig said in a response video.
However, on Sunday, Arbour’s YouTube account was temporarily suspended, prompting the comedian to accuse the video sharing site of censorship.
Arbour – whose account has since been restored – claimed her account was suspended due to the number of people reporting it to YouTube.
The move was celebrated by many online who believed YouTube was putting an end to so-called “fat-shaming.” However, it appears her account was automatically suspended due to the number of people reporting the video.
A Google spokesperson declined to comment directly on Arbour’s account; however, a spokesperson told Global News accounts are reinstated in cases where a channel or video is incorrectly flagged.
“With over 400 hours of video uploaded a minute, we don’t comment on individual videos or channels. However, in cases where a channel or video is incorrectly flagged by the community and subsequently removed, we work quickly to reinstate it,” a YouTube spokesperson said.
A spokesperson declined to comment on whether or not Arbour’s video violated YouTube’s Community Standards, which bans users for “hateful content.”
According to YouTube, hateful content includes anything that “promotes or condones violence against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity, or whose primary purpose is inciting hatred on the basis of these core characteristics.”
The rules continue, “This can be a delicate balancing act, but if the primary purpose is to attack a protected group, the content crosses the line.”
Meanwhile, Arbour has continued to defend her video online, adding that she intended for the video to be satirical.
“The reason there’s an issue is because I don’t ‘look’ like a traditional comedian. If I were a guy, people would have lol’d n moved on,” Arbour tweeted Tuesday.
But the video has brought some big names forward in defence of overweight people, including Whitney Way Thore, star of U.S. reality show My Big Fat Fabulous Life.
In a video response posted to Facebook, Thore addressed many of Arbour’s jokes in the video – including a line where Arbour says, “Are you going to tell a doctor that they’re being mean and fat-shaming you when they say you have f—ing heart disease?”
“Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, these are illnesses that affect millions of people worldwide from skinny to fat and everything in between,” said Thore.
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