If you don’t know who Onision is, count yourself lucky, don’t look him up, don’t fall down the rabbithole.
If you’re still here, I’ll just say that he’s a thirty-something year old man with a history of starting relationships with his own fans the second they turn of legal age. He’s a Youtuber, although his content is garbage and he can’t sing for shit, and he seems addicted to filming every single aspect of his life and uploading it to the internet. Due to people getting sick of his nonsense, including other crimes such as environmental destruction, animal cruelty, and DMCA abuse, he spends most of his time on his private Patreon and Discord with a very loyal group of paying fans. He has also gained notoriety for filming his ex-girlfriend’s stress-induced seizure and uploading it to Youtube without seeking medical care, and for being a really, really militant vegetarian.
People have hated this guy for years, by the way. He started out on Youtube back in 2006 and since perhaps 2010 has had a hatedom. This hatedom is now much larger and more energetic than his fanbase, although this wasn’t always the case. Everything he does these days is constantly dissected by a large group of people on the internet, and making content about him is a great way to garner views and attention. I was initially uncomfortable with writing this essay for this exact reason – he’s currently being investigated by Chris Hansen for his role in grooming a girl he has known since she was fourteen, and I don’t particularly want to be springboarding off the media attention surrounding this. However, I thought there was value in discussing a very specific issue that applies to Onision and many other internet personalities like him.
The titular paradox of this essay is that you can neither pay attention to Onision or ignore him. Paying attention to the man is what he wants. He thrives off any kind of attention and is quite good at monetising it, so the more people discuss him, the more attention he gets, and the more young people become aware of his existence. He’s excellent at worming his way out of legal consequences for his actions, by studying the law (he consulted a lawyer before starting his relationship with his current husband, who met him at age 17) and by manipulating people and hounding them into silence. What’s more, all the campaigns and petitions in the world have yet to spur Youtube or Patreon into reviewing or deleting his accounts, even though he abuses their terms of service and uses their platforms to find new victims. Getting aggressive with him and his fanbase leads them to become more insular and hostile, which makes them ripe pickings for Onision to manipulate. People paying cash money to enter Onision’s private Discord server have found his fans mocking the accusations against him and sharing in sexual conversations with him, despite some of them openly admitting to being underage.
However, he can’t be ignored in good conscience. His modus operandi is to cultivate a close-knit and loyal group of fans who are impressed by him and have been groomed through his content into being receptive to his advances, and turning a blind eye to his actions gives him even greater leeway to contact minors and fly them out to his house (something he has done in the past). If people stop paying attention to him and let the buzz die down, he can go back to being a Youtuber with millions of subscribers, which is not a good place to leave a predator. Onision just sucks. He sucks in a big way. But he’s a difficult tumour to get rid of, and like most tumours, ignoring the problem will not fix it.
I am often concerned that people treat Onision as a spectacle rather than as a criminal. Being bad at making music and writing is not a crime, and it’s a trait shared by many other big name Youtubers. Having reddened skin or an unpleasant appearance is not uncommon and mocking his exterior just serves to unnecessarily put down other people that share his looks. It is funny to make videos tearing into his music, or his books, or his appearance, or any other facet of his self, but I feel like these videos don’t cut to the heart of why people want Onision off the internet, and they normalise the idea that’s he’s just an idiot instead of a dangerous individual.
He is a bad person deserving of scorn because of how much harm he has done to people, nature, and communities, and the best way to reflect that is to ignore his antics and focus on the people he has hurt. Chris Hansen himself has been interviewing them one-by-one, weekly, and a large community of supporters has cropped up around them that is dedicated to protecting them from Onision and his fans. Spreading the words of his victims reveals how dangerous being close to Onision is, how much he lies, and how controlling he is, without ever needing to analyse his creative output.
Onision is the same as every other creepy man in a position of power who seeks out contact with young people who look up to him. The fact that he’s doing this through his once-popular Youtube channel and the fact that he broadcasts his every thought to the internet shouldn’t change what really matters: that he is a predator who needs to go down. He may be an entertaining monster, but he is a monster nonetheless, and the fact that Youtube and Patreon are allowing him to keep working through their platforms shows that their commitment to protecting their users is a sham.
I think that the world of Twitter, Youtube, and drama is quite ill-equipped to deal with problems like these. ‘Callouts’ and ‘cancelling’ does not do anything to impede the actions of a predatory man with a steady supply of victims, and ‘boycotts’ or similar efforts don’t help much, either. Gathering of legal evidence, support of victims, and other moves that treat this like a legal case and not the latest influencer drama are what’s going to help, and I commend the people working hard in these areas.
He’s also very accusation-happy, so in the off-chance that he reads this and decides to try and accuse me of libel: try me, bitch.