It’s a different story for traditional celebrities, who often all but vanish after massive scandals. Movie star Mel Gibson kept a low profile for nearly a decade after a video surfaced of him in 2006 making anti-Semitic remarks. YouTube fans are more likely to defend their beloved stars because the online personalities are more connected to their audiences, Fraade-Blanar said.
“When you’ve made something a part of yourself, whether it’s a Yankees shirt or subscribing to a certain YouTube celebrity, you have a huge incentive to make that thing look good,” she said. “Because when they look bad, you look like a fool for following them.”
Hard-core fans can help determine how YouTube’s performers will fare after a controversy. Logan Paul’s legion of subscribers apparently don’t have an issue with his suicide forest video, and for now they’re keeping him afloat.