The Worst YouTube Apology Videos of All Time

The Worst YouTube Apology Videos of All Time

One of the most maligned tropes of the social media age is the infamous apology video. Whether it be blackface, showing a dead body to children, posting racist tweets, a convention gone wrong, or texting minors, there have been plenty of apology videos posted in the last decade of YouTube’s popularity.

The formula is pretty much the same across the board. Step one: YouTuber/influencer is caught doing something dangerous or exploitative or discriminatory or racist or in poor taste or shady or manipulative. Step two: Said YouTuber/influencer goes silent for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks while the hype blows over. Step three: YouTube/influencer makes an awkward, overly-long video typically explaining away their actions and commenting on the state of the world or “cancel culture,” while half-heartedly apologizing for their alleged wrongdoings. Step four: YouTuber/influencer takes a step away from their platform indefinitely in order to further dodge accountability or any aftershocks that may emerge.

Influencers have been unwittingly playing a game of one-upping each other for the worst apology video, and things came to a head last week with Colleen Ballinger. Ballinger—also known by her character Miranda Sings—was accused of exploiting and grooming minors via group chat throughout her career, with several of the accusers being members of said group chat. In what may be the worst apology the internet has ever seen, Ballinger took to her YouTube channel with a ukulele to explain away and deny the allegations in a video that has been mocked across the web since its publication on June 28. But Ballinger was not the first “worst” apology video—there was a long road paved by the pioneers of YouTube.

Tana Mongeau apologises for Tanacon.

Tanacon: The good, the bad, and the ugly.

After the popular YouTube convention VidCon did not present her with the coveted “Featured Creator” title for the 2018 gathering, influencer Tana Mongeau took matters into her own hands. On May 26, 2018, Mongeau announced her own convention called Tanacon, which was set to occur in the exact same city and during the exact same weekend as Vidcon—a mere four weeks after her announcement. As a result, Tanacon was a disaster and resulted in upset fans and parents alike, who waited in the blistering Anaheim sun only for the convention to be cancelled prematurely. A little over a month later, Tanacon Mongaeu posted her apology video. Surprisingly, Mongeau gives a pretty genuine apology and airs out the background for how the convention went totally wrong, but she waited way too long to make a statement and the convention itself was a massive oversight.

The Fine Brothers apologise for not properly explaining how they want franchise reaction videos and trademark the word “react.”

Fine Bros apology (REUPLOAD)

The Fine Brothers is a duo of (you guessed it) brothers that have been making content on YouTube since its early days. In the 2010s, however, The Fine Brothers struck gold with the reaction video format, spawning series like Kids React, Teens React, and Elders React, which saw particular groups of people reacting to some viral video or trend. The Fine Brothers landed in some hot water in 2015 when they attempted to trademark the format and some instances of the word “react.” In their apology/explanation video, they apologize for not explaining the situation well enough but also intended to pursue the trademark completely.

After a massive drop in subscribers, the brothers backed off of their trademark plan.

Logan Paul apologises for showing his viewers a dead body in Japan’s suicide forest.

So Sorry.

In 2017, Viner-turned-YouTuber Logan Paul published a video in which he and his friends toured Japan, and, in a segment of the vlog, visit Aokigahara, a forest at the base of Mount Fuji known to be a popular destination to die by suicide. While thrashing through the forest, Paul and his pals stumble upon a dead body hanging from a tree. To Paul, the logical choice was to film the body and post it to his YouTube channel. The video has since been deleted, and Paul received a barrage of hate and anger, with viewers arguing that Paul was traumatizing his audience, which is predominantly made up of children, as well as treating suicide and self-harm with disrespect. While Paul’s video is concise, his “severe lapse in judgment” pointed to a vicious cycle of Paul needing to top stunt after stunt. A pattern that has continued, ever since.

David Dobrik apologises for uploading a video of his friend assaulting a woman.


David Dobrik is a vlogger that took YouTube by storm with his 4-minute and 20-second vlogs that would feature him and his group of friends doing some different whacky and crazy stunts. In March 2021, Insider reported that Dobrik’s friend Dom Zeglaitis sexually assaulted a woman during a party in 2018—during which Dobrik was filming. Dobrik wound up uploading a vlog that seemingly contained evidence of Zeglaitis coercing the woman to have sex with him while the two were drunk, but Dobrik tried to distance himself from the allegations when they were first reported. After a few months, Dobrik eventually told his viewers that he would be taking accountability for uploading the video—and for creating an environment that encouraged his friends to participate in dangerous and inappropriate stunts.

Shane Dawson apologises for racism, jokes about pedophilia, and saying James Charles deserved to be cancelled.

Taking Accountability

Shane Dawson was one of the earliest stars to come out of YouTube, with a career of 15 years that has moved from sketch comedy to reaction videos to documentary content. Some of Dawson’s early content was built on edgy humour that involved characters with blaccents and blackface and jokes involving racism and pedophilia. This problematic portfolio of content was unearthed and brought to the forefront during the June 2020 protests after the police killing of George Floyd. In his apology video, Dawson kind of apologises while kind of explaining away the accusations, all while babbling for 20 minutes the way one might do to their therapist.

Laura Lee apologises for racist tweets.

Laura Lee apology video with original captions

Laura Lee is a member of the flourishing YouTube beauty community, one that is rife with drama and pettiness. Lee posted her apology video (and has since removed it from her channel) in 2018 after racist tweets and retweets of hers surfaced. In the four-minute-long monologue, Lee plays the victim, claiming that she was shocked and disgusted by the tweets—which she had full control over retweeting, posting, and deleting—before spending the majority of the video seemingly fake crying.

Jeffree Star apologises for being racist.


Jeffree Star is a musician turned makeup guru on YouTube—an influencer who is widely credited as ushering in the modern-day makeup community. While Star has built a massive fanbase over his nearly two decades on YouTube, his reputation may precede him. In 2017, Star addressed past videos that were taken of him spewing racist expletives on more than one occasion and apologized for those actions while also blaming it on the person he was over a decade ago. The thumbnail of the video—which features Star voguing with the word “RACISM” plastered across his face—pretty much speaks to how seriously he’s taking this issue.

James Charles apologises and denies allegations of sexting minors while doing his makeup.

An Open Conversation

James Charles is a beauty YouTuber who rose to prominence after he photoshopped his high school senior photos as the cover of an issue of Vogue magazine. In 2021, Charles became the subject of intense scrutiny when at least two teenage boys came forward with allegations that Charles was texting and SnapChatting with them. These allegations are incredibly serious, but Charles opts to address them in his apology video while doing his makeup because it reduces his anxiety. Charles maintains that these people lied about their age, but acknowledges that he needed to do his homework on the people he was flirting with and apologizes for his actions.

Gabbie Hanna apologises for bullying her friends and mocking her friend’s sexual assault.

Jessi Smiles, Trisha Paytas, Alx James, & Beyonce (Gabbie Hanna Reupload)

Gabbie Hanna may have earned the title of one of YouTube’s most controversial creators, especially in the last few years. The Viner turned YouTuber turned musician turned TikToker has largely abandoned her channel for greener pastures, but she was embroiled in some controversy that began in 2020. Hannah’s former best friend Jessi Smiles—a fellow YouTube creator—has accused a former social media influencer of sexually assaulting her in 2014. A few years later, Smiles accused Hanna of collaborating with him and defending him publicly while besmirching Smiles’ name. Hannah took to YouTube in the first of many back-and-forths to try and set the record straight. Hanna also addressed accusations of bullying from fellow creators Alx James and Trisha Paytas while apologizing for offensive tweets, one of which was a tweet where she stated “If I could be any animal I’d be Beyonce.” While Hannah covers a lot of accusations in her video, she also has plenty to say about how the state of society and social media facilitated her downfall.

Sienna Mae denies Jack White’s allegations of sexual assault.

Sienna Mae Dance “Apology” Video (Re-Upload)

Sienna Mae Gomez is a beauty and lifestyle influencer who has built a platform on self-love and beachy vibes. Gomez would sometimes feature fellow creator and best friend Jack Wright in her social media posts, touting their relationship while the two were mutually coy about whether or not they were dating. Their friendship took a turn when Wright eventually came forward with accusations in 2022 that Gomez sexually assaulted him while the two were intoxicated at a party. In response, Gomez denied the allegations in an interpretive dance video—which she later removed from YouTube—in which she explains that she took a one-month hiatus from social media, calling it “one of the most difficult times of my life.”

Colleen Ballinger dodges accusations of grooming and texting minors.


Here we are—the creme de le creme of bad YouTube apology videos. Colleen Ballinger is a YouTuber who dabbles in family vlogs and sketch comedy with her character Miranda Sings, an ill-dressed aspiring singer who posts covers of popular songs to the Internet. Ballinger is facing a few different accusations, including blackface and distributing porn of fellow YouTuber and podcast host Trisha Paytas, but the bulk of the accusations are related to bizarre interactions with underage fans. According to screenshots from these fans, Ballinger asked them about their favourite sex positions and when they got their first period, and she also sent one of them a pair of underwear she purchased. Ballinger took great offence to being accused of well-documented misdoings and decided to deny these allegations with a ten-minute-long twee ukulele song.

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