Bristol dropout and YouTube sensation Jack Harries engulfed by plagiarism storm
And you thought using Wikipedia for your essay was a bad idea
What’s the difference between inspiration and theft?
The person you definitely shouldn’t ask is former Bristol BNOC and sub-Bieber internet prodigy Jack Harries, who’s been besieged this month by a huge plagiarism row.
For those of you who’ve never heard of him (which is the way it ought to be really), Jack, along with his twin brother Finn, is one of the biggest “YouTubers” on the planet.
Jack’s online empire is ludicrously massive. Over 4.5 million people subscribe to his channel JacksGap and he’s followed by 2.43 million people on Twitter. 88 per cent of his subscribers are teenage girls.
What is it about Jack and his Gap that has the same effect on their brains crack cocaine would? Watch one of his terrifyingly inarticulate vlogs and make up your mind:
Jack left Bristol back in 2013, claiming he couldn’t juggle the workload of his drama degree while maintaining his position as the hottest piece of tween-bait in cyberspace.
Before he left to continue spunking his saccharine, Mumfordy, Keep-Calm-And-Carry-On, twee brand of bullshit all over the web he sent us this message (we removed most of the swear words to protect the eyes and ears of his young fans):
“My names Jack I study at the university of Bristol. I stumbled across one of your many articulate and fascinating articles in the Tab today and felt a desire to get in touch with you. Your article was just a complete and utter load of shit….Its genuinly [sic] embarrassing. Anyway best of luck writing your insightful articles in the future. Can’t wait to read more! Jack”
The good people of Briz were less impressed with Jack and his following of zombified tweenies:
A common criticism of Jack’s channel is that his filmmaking and storytelling style appears to be ripped off from the genuinely original and inspirational American vlogger Casey Neistat.
Comment sections under JacksGap videos are often flooded with users accusing Jack of stealing Casey’s ideas.
This month those criticisms went nuclear and turned into a full-blown row. Casey posted this video on April 30, ranting about rip off artists ‘with big followings’:
Regarding his work, he said:
“It’s really frustrating when they’re stolen by people that have big followings, so a lot of their followers don’t know that this work was stolen. There’s certainly no credit there. It’s painful.”
“If you’re constantly being told that your work is a copy of someone else’s, you’re doing it wrong.”
Fans were initially unsure about who Casey was referring to in his rant – after all, he’s been ripped off by other vloggers and by international advertising firms – but it soon became clear he was referring to JacksGap.
Two days before Casey’s rant, Jack Harries posted a vlog titled The Good Collective – Episode 1 (how fucking sinister a name is “The Good Collective” btw) and for Casey it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
The comments below the new vlog must have made nasty reading for Jack.
User Priya was probably the most pissed off:
Priya left another damning comment:
You can see the videos where Jack blatantly copies Casey by comparing this with this. Just when it couldn’t get much worse for Jack, Casey confirmed what everybody was thinking by responding to Priya’s comments:
Jack’s “Good Collective” vlogs, which were originally going to be a daily series, have now been shelved indefinitely.
We’d like to think Jack might be considering a return to Bristol after all this controversy. Then again academics tend to get more pissy about plagiarism than random YouTube commenters.
Casey puts it best:
“You can copy the mechanics, you can copy a style, you can copy aesthetic – but ripoff artists can never emulate the heart. The heart behind telling a great story. The soul behind something that actually moves or affects people in an emotional way.”