It all started with a video.
The internet was abuzz this weekend over the latest chapter in online bullying starring 30-year-old Canadian internet personality, Nicole Arbour.
Arbour posted a video to her YouTube channel with the intentionally inflammatory headline: "Dear Fat People". If you haven't see the video yet, rest assured, it does exactly what it says on the tin.
Nicole, seemingly unprompted, starts in on overweight viewers, claiming her harsh words are for their own good but actually being quite condescending and negative about the whole thing.
Nicole Arbour has had run ins with the YouTube community before, but this might just be the icing on the cake of her tumultuous relationships with other internet stars. Dozens of rebuttals are floating around out there including ones from high profile internet personalities. Even Grace Helbig has weighed in on the controversy via a video response.
@NicoleArbour this is disappointing content— Tyler Oakley (@tyleroakley) September 4, 2015
Let's leave Nicole Arbour out of discussions on comedy and censorship. Nothing she has done remotely resembles comedy.— Louis Peitzman (@LouisPeitzman) September 7, 2015
it's honestly so disgusting - she literally makes a video calling plus-size people trash then removes everyone who's calling her out.— Will Shepherd (@shep689) September 5, 2015
Nicole then went on to claim that YouTube had deleted her videos.
Until a clever internet sleuth figured out that Nicole has set her own videos as private for the added "drama" of being a YouTube outlaw.
Y I K E S.
Of course, what Nicole said in her video was wrong. It was inflammatory, hateful, and uncalled for. But, understanding this behaviour might be more useful than adding to the sea of voices condemning her.
We've seen this before. People like Katie Hopkins are masters at these types of attention grabbing antics. You do something crazy, make headlines for a day, thus ensuring that you are more famous and noteworthy than you were yesterday.
As the internet becomes a more and more viable place to seek fame and and fortune, the methods that people use to attain notoriety have become more extreme. This doesn't just come down to the Nicole Arbour. It's the culture of clicks, stats, and ad revenue. Nicole's calculated "roll out" plan for this "controversy" illustrates that people will go to almost any length for attention.
Whether it's filming a pregnancy announcement and subsequent miscarriage, or calling a significant proportion of the population 'fat and lazy', gaining attention seems to be the new aim for a lot of "creators". Where many strive to create content that they are proud of and which highlights their skill and personalities, people like Nicole are happy to use bullying as a springboard for their careers. It is people like Nicole Arbour who deserve our pity, not our attention.