Right now, popular Vegan YouTuber Freelee the Banana Girl (the 30-year-old’s boring real person name is Leanne Ratcliffe) is embroiled in several internet battles with her fellow content creators, including Cassey Ho of Blogilates and a 17-year-old named Tana Mongeau.
According to Freelee, Ho promotes eating disorders and Mongeau is basically full of crap. Accusations are flying. Banana emoji from Team Freelee are popping up in the comments sections of her targets’ Instagram accounts and YouTube channels. Call-outs are being issued. And Freelee still manages to find time in her busy, shit-stirring schedule to eat her daily 51 bananas. Yes. 51. (For more on Freelee, check out this excellent coverage of the truly strange saga from Jezebel.)
But one of the most important questions raised by the fight (and there are many) is why the vegan YouTube community seems to be riddled with drama. If you thought vegans were peaceful, you’d be wrong.
Back in 2014, fans of Vegan YouTube body builder and generally fit man Richard Burgess (a.k.a Vegan Gains), descended viciously on another YouTube body builder and generally fit man, Pete Czerwinski (a.k.a. Furious Pete). VG and his army of followers attacked FP for his non-vegan diet (FP regularly films himself eating insane amounts of food, rapdily) and even went as far as to blame FP’s testicular cancer diagnosis on his non-vegan ways. I’m not a doctor, but the claim seems … spurious.
The scandals don’t end there. A quick YouTube search for “vegan drama” led me to several informative videos, and, let me tell you, these vegans are just all up in each other’s high-carb, low-fat everything.
Some vegan guy named THE DMAN got into a very public fight on the internet with another guy (the on-again, off-again boyfriend of Freelee the Banana Girl! Yipes!) who goes by Durianrider. (The fight was about the number of avocados he was eating each day.)
High Carb Hannah’s boyfriend maybe only married her for a green card.
The list goes on and on.
And let’s not forget Essena O’Neill, the Australian teen who went viral at the end of 2015 after announcing on social media that she was quitting social media. (How could we forget Essena O’Neill!) Her world quickly descended into war — no doubt in part because her high follower-count across Instagram and YouTube made her a perfect target for take-down videos from her less famous vegan peers.
Come to think of it, the problem might be more YouTube than vegans.