After YouTubers and influencers were caught throwing a huge party in Los Angeles last week, YouTuber MacDoesIt says he has had it with his industry colleagues acting above proper coronavirus protocol, endangering others, and ruining the reputations of everyone in this line of work.
Machaizelli Kahey, 23, who has over 2 million subscribers of his account, replied directly to an apology fellow YouTuber Erika Costell had tweeted over the weekend about the party.
"We've been in this for 4 months," he tweeted. "We’ve all been in this. We’re all in this together. Your actions through this reflect on us all. If you do something bad, we all look bad. So excuse me when I say a simple note app apology doesn't erase the damage. Do better or say nothing at all."
Kahey told BuzzFeed News he thinks that "the lowest holes in our barrel are spilling the broth."
"Not all of us are like the ones that act above all of this, yet the ones who act above this are rippling through us," he said, "especially in traditional forms of media that have publicly shown they don’t take us seriously in spaces outside of our own."
He believes the damage is, of course, most important to public health and direct dangers that misbehaving can pose for vulnerable people. But it's also creating a bad public image for the industry.
"We are all going through this together and one person’s general ignorance of it all can destroy the lives of hundreds, both in the spread of the actual virus and the spread of the ignorance against the virus," he said.
Kahey has severe asthma and bronchitis and said he's been consistently quarantining and socially distancing himself from loved ones for four months now.
In contrast, social media celebrities like Costell and Tana Mongeau documented themselves at the party. In one screen recording of Mongeau's Instagram Story from the evening, the two say, "We don't fucking care" into the camera.
Costell later apologized for the comment, but claims it was "in no way related to the COVID-19 pandemic." BuzzFeed News has reached out to Costell.
Kahey said when he caught clips of the packed party, he was "upset and not surprised." He felt that if he responded directly to Costell's apology, or "someone seen in some aspect at 'their level,'" it could have more of an impact.
"When I saw the apology it just rubbed me the wrong way, and knowing like most influencers' apologies, there will be a group of devotees that would take that as enough. So I just decided to take that moment in the replies to remind everyone that this situation we are in cannot be looked at and evaluated through the aspect of an individual, but as a unit," he said.
"Our country is in a pubic downfall and images surfacing like that just make us look even more worse than we already do."
He believes many influencers — not all — project an image "to act and look cooler," even in the face of a pandemic. Their devoted fans and brand deals only enable the negligence.
"A socialite’s life probably wouldn’t feel full without being social. The elevated life, perks, and admiration at times can make all of us feel impenetrable and probably gets into some people’s heads more than others and make us focus more on a social image and title to keep than realizing the world around us is literally changing," he said.
Kahey simply wants influencers, like Costell and Mongeau and every famous TikToker who attended the house party, to consider wielding their powerful influence for the public good.
"We all love what we do, but it is very clear that a handful of us need a reality check to understand we are not an elevated species, just people with really cool jobs," he said.
"Creators and influencers should spend more of their energy encouraging their followings to do their part in fighting this virus, and help others understand that this isn’t just an inconvenience to one person, but to us all."