It was recently revealed to us olds that YouTube and other social media stars are actually more popular with teens than celebs old enough to be funny old aunt/uncle. Some of these stars are but teens themselves, and in the internet era it’s not surprising that video stars untether from network wisdom are very popular. One well known star is 16-year-old Nash Grier, kind of the Bieber of Vine, with millions of followers and loops. He’s also part of a tour now hitting comic-cons with a recent appearance at Wizard World, and an upcoming one in Salt Lake City. The latter has led to some protest however, as some of his videos are accused of being racist, sexist and homophobic, such as the one below. In case you can’t figure out how to turn it n, it shows Grier screaming a gay slur at an AIDS ad. It’s the kind of clueless thing teenagers do in private, now sharable the world over, god help us.
There’s been some blowback about him being a guest at Salt Lake City Comic Con, interestingly. BUt organizers have defended him as a guest:
Dan Farr, Salt Lake Comic Con’s founder, told City Weekly in a recent phone interview that Grier and his Fam Tour are a solid addition to this year’s lineup and will likely bring in a new, younger crowd—you know, people who love watching his videos telling young girls how to look sexier for men (December 2013), throwing a spoon down a set of stairs and saying that’s how Asians name their babies (April 2013) and explaining to his followers that HIV/AIDS is exclusive to the LGBT community.
Although Nash deleted the below, he’s still been caught being homophobic:
Nash apologized for the HIV clip, claiming he’d been “in a bad place”when he posted the video, since deleted, in April of last year. Yet that “bad place” seems to have been more than a few-month phase: He’s also purged multiple pejorative tweets about “homos” or being a “damn queer” that once littered his Twitter feed, as well as a post from May 2012 that read, “Gay rights? Nahhh.”
Normally this kind of thing might stay a teapot tempest, but, once again, as comic-cons get bigger and bigger, they’re going to get more and more scrutiny.
I’d be curious to know how the Grier brother tour went over at recent Comic-Cons. The whole teen you-tube star demo doesn’t seem to have much crossover appeal with nerd world…but I’ve been wrong before.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.