The rise and very rapid fall of the British YouTubers we all watched in the early 2010s

Things took a dark and ugly turn in 2014

Teenagers living through the early 2010s simply couldn’t escape the British YouTubers. They were relatable, wholesome and young but they then grew to have money, scandals, breakups and proved to all of us that nothing could last. Zoe Sugg, Jim Chapman, Marcus Butler, Alfie Deyes, Joe Sugg, Tanya Burr, Caspar Lee, Niomi Smart and Louise Pentland ran YouTube back in the early 2010s and grew to an intense amount of fame super quick, but their fall was ugly.

Here’s a look into the rise and fall of British YouTubers from the 2010s.

Book fame saw the Brit Crew at their peak

Zoella released her book, Girl Online, in 2014 and it became the fastest-selling debut novel of all time selling 78,000 copies in the first week. When Alfie Deyes signed copies of his own book at a London Waterstones the street outside was flooded with around 8,000 screaming teenagers. Joe Sugg also released a graphic novel in 2015 called Username: Evie.

2014 was a turning point though, right after it emerged Zoe’s book was ghost-written. Quickly things changed and she was selling £50 advent calendars, Alfie Deyes was proclaiming not to be a Tory and the 2017 HelloWorld scandal unfolded.

Joe Sugg was accused of queer baiting in 2015

When Joe Sugg announced his graphic novel, he received backlash. Fans claimed he was queerbaiting with his choices of thumbnail with Caspar Lee. One fan made an edit of him kissing Caspar Lee which he said was “so creepy” and “weird” however he then used it for his novel announced video titled “MY BIG ANNOUNCEMENT”.

In the caption for the video he says: “Soz 4 da clickbait thumbnail lolololol xoxo”. As a result of the backlash, Joe removed the original thumbnail and replaced it.

Fans would find their addresses and start waiting outside their homes

Back in 2016, Alfie Deyes posted on Twitter saying: “To the group of about ten ‘fans’ outside the house shouting for us wanting pictures, it’s 11pm. Get some respect and go home.” In the responses to this tweet he also revealed fans chase their car, trying “all day every day non stop”.

However this tweet wasn’t his first, in 2015 Zoe and Alfie hit out at fans who visited their house and “invaded” their privacy. Alfie posted on Twitter: “Parents who drive their kids to our house and put them on their shoulders so they can lean over our walls to try and take pictures of us without realising, I see you. I’m on the sofa in my pyjamas relaxing. Go away. If you want to meet me, I love that! Come to a meet up.”

Zoe says before she’s not used to being famous, saying fan behaviour isn’t something they should have to put up with.

Niomi Smart and Marcus Butler split in 2015 after starting a business together

In December 2015, Niomi Smart and Marcus Butler announced their split in a YouTube video. Just prior to their split the couple set up a healthy food delivery company together but fans still speculated they weren’t together when they hadn’t been in videos together for a while. Over on YouTube, in a video titled “What’s Going on?” He explained the situation and said it was probably the hardest video he has had to make so far.

He said: “I’m sure a lot of you are aware, that me and Niomi, over the last month to six weeks haven’t been spending a lot of time together publicly and also privately. As of right now, Niomi and I, we’re not together. We’ve both found seperate places to live. I found mine already and am in my new place, Niomi is moving very soon. The last two months have been very tough for both of us. Obviously, going through something in a personal relationship is a very hard thing to do. Let alone when you publicise your relationship. It just makes it that whole little bit more complicated. It’s shit, it’s really shit.”

Louise Pentland ditched ‘SprinkleofGlitter’

In 2016 Louise Pentland publicly disassociated herself from SprinkleofGlitter and instead changed to using her own real name. At the time she said: “As I’ve grown in my real life, I haven’t allowed myself to grow in my online one. I kept everything rosey and sweet and although I’ve shared vulnerable moments and been very honest, I’ve always sugar coated, held back and tried very hard not to offend.”

In 2016 Jim Chapman found himself growing out of challenges

Jim was the oldest one in the Brit Crew group, speaking to the Rolling Stone he says: “I remember there was a video I did with Joe Sugg where he waxed my armpits and I got in a bath of ice and covered myself in some condiment. I was 25, maybe, something like that. And I remember thinking: ‘This is the last time I am doing this'”.

Jim says he “had to stop because I couldn’t keep doing that for my own sort of dignity and mental health, I suppose.” He continues: “I was really stressing, thinking about sacrificing all the traffic I was getting, but I knew there would be a point where young kids would be like, ‘Dude, you’re too old.'”

Zoella’s advent £50 calendar

In November 2017 Zoe Sugg launched her advent calendar which was criticised for its quality and price. The products inside were a packet of confetti, seven stickers and cookie cutters – Zoe denied setting the price for this product. Zoe’s advent calendar was mocked by YouTuber Jaack Mate who made a video ripping into it. His video has since had over six million views and is his second most watched video on his channel.

In the same month she was called out for social media posts in 2009 to 2012 where she made homophobic, fatphobic and classist comments. On her now deleted Twitter account, Zoe later apologised for these posts saying: “I’ve seen a few of my old tweets from seven/eight years ago floating around (which I have now deleted_ using words like ‘chav’, ‘skank’ and other words I wouldn’t use now as part of my language. Obviously that is not who I am today and I’d like to think I’m a little older and wiser! I’m not perfect and I’ve never claimed to be, I’m only human.”

HelloWorld was the beginning of the very quick ending

HelloWorld was supposed to be the whole new frontier when it came to meet-and-greets. Fans were told they would film videos and play games with their favourite YouTubers. But instead they queued for hours and when they finally got inside the Birmingham Genting Arena there was nothing to do.

The Sun reported parents were furious after spending £220 on a ticket for their child to meet their online favourites. Advertisement on the official show website stated: “HelloWorld is an epic four hour, immersive live show like nothing on Earth – bringing the world’s biggest YouTube talent and YOU together under one roof for an unforgettable, shared experience.”

One father said the immersive activities were nowhere to be seen and nothing to do, “Unless of course, you wanted to spend ridiculous amounts of money on food and drink or merchandise. Or unless you liked queuing for no apparent reason.” He called the whole thing a “massive let down” saying it had “no safety barriers and children were getting pushed as streams of people flooded the main area to get a glimpse of the YouTubers.”

A spokesperson for HelloWorld said: “We at HelloWorld want to let you know that we are really disappointed and very sorry to hear that some fans feel they did not get the experience they were hoping for. It is the fans that help make these shows so great and we always want to ensure that everyone has an amazing time. We really appreciate everyone’s feedback and we are taking everything on board. The Hello World event is designed as a new way for fans to see their favourite content creators on stage and a change from the old ‘meet and greet’ style events. The atmosphere at the event was very positive overall and we had venue and event staff on hand to deal in real time with any teething issues on a case-by-case basis. Anyone who has been in touch with our official email address is being responded to on an individual basis and we appreciate fans’ patience during this process.”