Fool Me Once
Let me preface this article by saying this: Rape is wrong. There is no way around it. Abuse is wrong. Relationship violence is wrong. Women and men deserve the same respect, treatment, life style, what have you – without exception. I am also not taking sides on this particular issue.
Recently, YouTube persona Tobuscus – Toby Turner – was accused of rape via April Fletcher’s Tumblr page. Whether the post will ultimately turn out to be true is yet to be seen, but the situation has polarized the fan base of both Toby and April. To offer a brief summary: Fletcher, a.k.a. AprilEfff, an ex-girlfriend of Turner’s, claimed that the YouTuber drugged and raped her, while simultaneously abusing her and drugs. If true, Mr. Turner looks at potentially serious jail time and a certain demise to his YouTube stardom.
The problem with this particular case is that there is zero evidence to support this claim. April has since updated her Tumblr with texts spliced together as evidence, but neither Toby’s name nor number are visible on the messages (though if she has them and takes them to the proper authorities, she’d have more of a case – she also never sought the authorities when the incident, three years ago, happened, nor did she find herself a rape kit. I do understand that many women don’t report rape and why, but it makes her case, at least in this particular instance, insubstantial. This would ultimately be a shame if the allegations are true because no one deserves that). At least two other women spoke out against Toby (albeit with various levels of significance; one sided with April, the other just confirmed he was a bad boyfriend but never pressured or abused her). Popular YouTuber Olga Kay, whom Toby was known to date, defended him – saying he never drugged nor raped her, and she never felt unsafe. And as a mother is wont to do, Mombuscus came to social media to defend her son in a now deactivated Facebook page/post. Since then, many of Turner’s ex-girlfriends have spoken, and the consensus seems to say: Toby is a ‘serial’ cheater, but he never violated any of them.
Still, the allegations should not be taken lightly – for either side. You see, if April’s story is indeed true, then she has been exposed to things that no individual should have to experience. Rape is one of the most singularly vile crimes, and relationship and drug abuse is equally terrifying. Knowing a family member who had been in prison and in the thralls of drug abuse numerous times, I understand how drugs can affect a relationship (though he never sexually assaulted his wife). So to discredit April’s claims would be an insult to those who have suffered any sort of abuse (as well as to April, should her allegations be confirmed).
On the opposite side of the spectrum, I understand how frightening it can be to have these allegations leveled against you. I’m not saying Toby is innocent here – nothing has or can be actually confirmed at this point. But I do want to bring to light the flaws of our culture and system in today’s world. Regardless of your gender, in a their-word-against-yours setting, the truth is nigh impossible to sort. For example, I am a teacher. Throughout my brief five years in the field, I have seen one teacher forced to resign, one teacher under investigation, and one teacher’s contract not renewed because of FALSE statements raised against them. The last teacher is the worst, in my opinion, as she was victim to a student who created a fake Instagram page, photoshopped her face in scandalous images, and befriended a plethora of students who go to the school. Zero percent of that incident is her fault, and while the student was expelled, her career in education could very well be ruined. Again, false accusations can lead to life-ruining results for the implicated party, so I hesitate to condemn Toby outright.
When I consider the drama the gaming industry has floated through these past few years, I honestly find myself despising the people involved in the medium. Regardless of your stance on Gamer Gate, it appears to me that both sides are at fault. There’s so much vitriol spewed at customers, developers, reviewers, and nearly anyone involved in the gaming industry that I question the integrity of the business. It’s a sad state of affairs. Add in that our society has bred generations of liars, thieves, bigots, liberals, conservatives, safe spaces, severe intolerance, and an inability to respect another person’s opinion, and you have a rather vile melting pot of hate.
I’m not saying that we should simply disregard everybody and their opinions. As I stated at the outset of the article, men and women of any gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. deserves equality. But, at least in America, we believe that people are now guilty until proven innocent. No longer do we care if a story is fabricated – as long as it’s juicy enough for us to watch. Reality television has distorted our perspectives, so we latch on to drama. In the same token, individuals are just as quick to defend someone or something regardless of if they even have all of the facts. Could Toby have abused, drugged, and raped April? It’s possible. Could April be fabricating the story to ruin Toby’s career or find extra media attention? It’s also possible. I can’t condemn, judge, or side with either camp until all the information has arrived. Where you sit in the whole mess is equally up to your own prerogative.
All I ask is that you carefully consider the information you’re given and make educated decisions based on that – and remember that it is quite all right if someone has a difference of opinion. I hope, for the sake of whomever is innocent or the victim, that the situation is resolved quickly and justice is dealt accordingly.
Here is April’s Original Post
Here is Toby’s Video Response
An interesting perspective:
Shakaama and his legal perspective