Sunday, 8 November 2015

JJ and the Dick

Hi guys, welcome to Orygyn.

I'd like to be very serious if I may. Drama has erupted between 2 YouTubers I have a lot of respect for. One is someone I've been subscribed to for almost the entirety of my channel, the other is a more recent favourite. These, respectively, are JJTalkz and Richard "The Dick" Coughlan. Since getting up to speed on this drama involves watching nearly an hour of YouTube videos, I will simply link the videos down below, and give a brief summary in which hopefully I cover the most important points. Any and all evidence for claims available is linked in the videos so I won't relink them here.

The videos:
JJTalkz: Unsafe on YouTube (Sexual Harassment) (parts 1...
and 2)
Dick Coughlan: JJTalkz is a Paranoid Idiot *DRAMA ALERT*

In summary:
JJTalkz made 2 videos about sexual harassment she has experienced and known about in the community she is a part of on YouTube. 5 months later, JJ tweets twice about Coughlan saying that he thinks sexual harassment is OK (these tweets are available in Coughlan's video linked above). What Coughlan actually said is that in any community, there are opportunistic assholes who will take advantage of a certain set of beliefs to gain favour with the females in that group, and so, realistically, all a YouTuber in that community can do is persevere and try not to let it bother them. Coughlan was understandably not pleased at JJ for taking this to mean he "supports sexual assault". On her 2nd channel, JJ then makes a far more serious claim: that Coughlan has harassed several transgender YouTubers, and JJ is unwilling to name them, as they came to her in confidence with those claims.

This is an extremely depressing and ugly situation. I live in the UK, where a serious of scandals in the last few years have resulted in some of our most respected celebrities from back in the day turning out to be assault perpetrators and pedophiles (e.g. Jimmy Saville, Ian Watkins, and Rolf Harris). While none of these individuals ever had much of an impact on my life personally, I have learned from the scandal, and so I am committed to taking the claim seriously, should the evidence come forward. I have also, in a comment on the last video linked above, promised JJ to make this post here and to take it seriously, should the evidence come to light, and to pressure Coughlan to address the claims if they come forward.

I've been subscribed to Coughlan for 6 years. I've met him 4 times at his comedy gigs. He was incredibly nice to me and my friends, sitting down to drink with us after the gigs. I'd even found out later on that he was quite ill at the time. He is one of the most reasonable people I know on YouTube, going by the things he says in his videos. There are few people I have more respect for, and I would be devastated to learn that these claims were true, and perhaps because of this, I suspect they aren't, or are also misinterpretations. I refuse, however, not to be open to the idea.

At the same time, I feel for JJ's current predicament. It was ill-conceived of her to make that last video in which she made this claim, as she will only dig a deeper and deeper hole for herself the longer this goes on without the particular victims being named. She said in the comment section to her video that 1 of the victims is considering coming forward. I hope they do, as this is not something that can be left to last. Coughlan has been the victim of many claims, most having been found beyond any doubt at all to be false. This is nothing new for him, but I suspect that doesn't make it nothing to deal with. Even if it did, there is a precedent being set here, that someone can make a claim and then not provide specifics because the victims came to them "in confidence". Making such a claim is very serious and can destroy people's lives (the expression "His Name Is Mud" originated under similar circumstances).

I'd like to add also that I'm disappointed in JJ and in myself. I made a video in which I held up her recent video on atheism as an example of the kind of videos we should be making about atheism: ones in which we temper our criticisms by offering alternate solutions, in which we humanise ourselves by talking calmly about our experiences. I stand by this view of THAT video, but this recent drama casts a shadow over it. I was too quick to hold her up as an example of the good we can do, and for that I'm sorry. It's not a done deal: we all make mistakes, and I'm certainly hoping JJ learns from this, as there is still a lot of good she can do.

As for what I think should happen next...

This first paragraph assumes that the claims are misinterpretations:
I would encourage JJ to name the victims to Coughlan, and of course, to get the victims consent first. Having been on YouTube a while, I can say with complete confidence that most dramas that have erupted, even some of the largest, have been over misinterpretations. This can all be resolved if JJ, Coughlan, and the victims all come together to talk it out. As I've said, Coughlan is a very reasonable guy. I'm sure he'd be open to this if given the chance.

And if the claims are true:
There's no other option: they have to come forward publicly. I don't want to undermine the immense difficulty and fear involved with doing such a thing, but then it's important also not to prolong a potentially false assault claim: something which, despite anyone's views to the contrary, is taken VERY seriously. I'm not going to lie, there is a chance the claims will not be believed. However, I will link 2 videos that might give you some hope where this situation is concerned: one from outside our community, and one within. Claims like this ARE taken seriously, and you have my word, at least, that I will take them seriously, and I encourage everyone reading this, regardless of how they feel about anyone mentioned in this post, to do the same.


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