Twitter war: Why did Lindsay Ellis post a two-hour-long apology video?
YouTuber Lindsay Ellis has long been a name in the world of video essays. Her career started in the now thoroughly fallen from grace Channel Awesome where she was the Nostalgia Chick, talking about nostalgia-based content but more focused on My Little Pony and the like. Over time, however, she switched to more serious film and television criticism.
Currently, she’s published her first book, Axiom’s End, and uploads long video essays on YouTube where she covers topics from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 to the Omegaverse lawsuit. Ellis has had her detractors over the years. Now, it got ratcheted up to one hundred due to Linsday Ellis’ now-deleted tweet on Raya and the Last Dragon, which calls it an Avatar: The Last Airbender ripoff.
To quote, she wrote: “Also watched Raya and the Last Dragon and I think we need to come up with a name for this genre that is basically Avatar: The Last Airbender reduxes. It’s like half of all YA fantasy published in the last few years.” After the tweet received backlash, Lindsay Ellis attempted to clarify her statements by writing.
“I can see where if you squint I was implying all Asian-inspired properties are the same, especially if you were already privy to those conversations where I had not seen them. But the basic framework of TLA is becoming popular in fantasy fiction outside of Asian inspired stuff.”
It was not met well. So, Lindsay Ellis did what she does best: made a video essay out of it. In a one-hour and forty-minute video, which you can see above, she discusses cancel culture, the origin of the word cancelled, and how it feels to be “the villain of the day” on Twitter. It’s an interesting, if long video, that has, predictably, divided people about the creator. So here are some of those reactions below.
Gonna hold the L and say the Lindsay Ellis video is actually real good and is neither an Apology Video nor a This Is Why I’m Right Video but instead a “yeah here’s dumb shit I’ve done, now does this deserve a decade and a half of harassment that lead to this” which
— Weyoun Appreciator (@DumbCerb) April 15, 2021
It really is an interesting video
Lindsay Ellis had those self-receipts.
lindsay ellis saying she got canceled when she was the one who deleted her twitter because she didn’t want to accept that she did a racist… white women victimhood unparalleled
— roslyn talusan (@roslyntalusan) April 15, 2021
It also wasn’t an apology video
The tweets in question do come off as racially insensitive. And that should be addressed, an apology at least.
Already seeing takes mocking Lindsay Ellis for “posting a 2 hour video on cancellation instead of just apologizing” but if you remotely pay attention to Twitter it will be abundantly clear that everyone saying “just apologize” is already eager to clown on that apology in any form
— Houston (@blockbustedpod) April 15, 2021
But even if she did apologize, then would the apology be accepted? No. Not really.
This is the last Lindsay Ellis tweet I make but a giant FUCK YOU to everyone who blew this issue WAY out of proportion.
If your sense of justice leads one to have to publicly recount their (& their friend’s) traumatic sexual assault, you are NOT as noble as you think you are 🖕 pic.twitter.com/yZ3Zz8X9Ik
— Core Ideas (@Xanshil) April 15, 2021
The video definitely got real
If Lindsay Ellis felt the need to share a traumatic experience in her video, pressured even, then that is gross of the internet for having put her in that position.
It’s disappointing that criticism by Asians in regards to Lindsay Ellis’s tweet comparing Raya to ATLA has been subsumed by the overwhelming idea of cancel culture, and what it means, to a white person.
She’s centered herself in what was criticism about asian microaggression.
— Elaine 🌹 is on Patreon! (@artofelaineho) April 15, 2021
Listen to those that know what they’re talking about
The Asian community is dealing with enough right now as well. So if those in that community are saying something is wrong, then, as a white person, maybe take a step back and listen to those that know what they’re talking about.
All the people bitching about the length and section names of the new Lindsay Ellis video are literally proving her right.
— Matthew Sweetcakes (@MrSweetcakes) April 15, 2021
They are proving her right
Lindsay Ellis made an apology video about her tweets. I’ll be watching it and talking about, because I am POC, and more specifically, a South East Asian which this pertains to. Give me an hour or two…
— Seth Gunter (@sethhg313) April 15, 2021
Read the thread
Honestly? Read this thread about the video because it’s super interesting. While it acknowledges that, yes, people took the Lindsay Ellis thing too far along with valid concerns on cancel culture. It also points out that good faith criticism was ignored by Ellis in her video as well.
So there’s this tactic that I’ve seen played online over and over and over again, where it doesn’t matter where someone is currently in terms of content, maturity, personality, online presence, etc – their entire life, start to finish, seems to be defined by one or two events, forever. To thousands of people PewDiePie is “that guy who said the N-word one time 4 years ago” and this is how he will forever be remembered – going forward, everything positive he does, like the millions he’s donated to charity, will be met with “Well, it doesn’t absolve him of his racism”, and anything negative he does will be met with “Well, what do you expect from a racist, I’m surprised he hasn’t been cancelled already”.
We saw that exact same thing happen to Ellis. The Rape Rap was the big thing which forever marked her into the eyes of thousands of people (even though she lies in the video and says that it was just in the Gamergate right wing circle – I’m as leftist as they come, and it was pretty common knowledge on Tumblr and Reddit). So yeah, when the Raya tweet, which really wasn’t that bad at all started blowing up, it was very quickly met with “Well, what do you expect from someone who made fun of rape, I’m surprised she hasn’t been cancelled already”.
Now, in any other case this would just be “a thing that the Internet does” and we’d leave it at that, but what I find most fascinating is that this time Ellis did the same thing on herself. People in the tweets the author linked in the article are saying “Wow, they made her share her rape story, that’s going too far!” But the fact of the matter is that no, actually nobody made her do that. She could’ve easily left it at “It was an inside joke and a coping mechanism which was never meant to be public”, like she did with Mara Wilson where she deliberately omitted any details which weren’t any of our business. But she didn’t do that. She went into the sappy details in order to use the cancel tactic I described above to her own advantage. Suddenly she isn’t someone who said some problematic shit and did some bad videos a decade ago, she’s a rape victim – and therefore can do nothing wrong, and the criticisms are going too far. We see this a lot with people who use, say, their religion, gender or sexual orientation (like JK Rowling, who used her status as a domestic abuse survivor to justify her transphobia), but I’ve never seen it done with rape.
And what’s truly bizarre and paints Ellis in a really negative light to me is that she’s lying. Not about the rape – but about how she claims she just made some small jokes in private which were never meant to be shared publicly. I used to watch her videos back in the Channel Awesome days, and she made quite a few rape jokes, or even a few where she played herself as a rape victim in a sketch (like Spooning with Spoony 2 off the top of my head). You can’t claim that you’re a rape survivor who used private rape jokes to cope with the experience when those jokes are so numerous and so public.
So to summarize – Twitter’s pulling some BS moves to make Ellis come off like Satan herself, and Ellis herself is pulling some BS moves to make the people criticizing her feel bad. I’m not typically a “both sides” kind of person, but when both sides are using the exact same malicious tactics I think it’s very fair to say that both sides are wrong here.April 17, 2021
You accused Lindsay of lying twice, and both accusations are not backed up by any text-based argument. If Lindsay is attacked for one video (“rape rap”) , and cites the one video, and claims that the one video was uploaded without her permission, you can criticize her for making other rape jokes, but she didn’t claim to have not made other rape jokes, so that’s not a lie.
I’m not saying that this is harassment, but this same fallacy, identifying a criticism or a disagreement as a lie, and therefore attributing duplicitous motives, is used to justify harassment all the time. I can’t tell you how many times they did that to Anita Sarkeesian.June 13, 2021
>>>even though she lies in the video and says that it was just in the Gamergate right wing circle – I’m as leftist as they come, and it was pretty common knowledge on Tumblr and Reddit
I had to go back and watch it again to confirm that she does not say that.June 13, 2021
Yeah I still don’t get how this came from that tweet. Ya’ll need to see/read/hear what she said and not what you heard/read/saw.
Kinda like “The Red Pill.” Cassie Jaye when interviewing was not listening to what her interviewee said she was listening to what she wanted to hear.
The tweet says movie A is like movie B and other young adult movies. Should we create a new genre for these similar movies?
Haven’t seen the movie I already pay for Disney + I’m not paying more cause they’re upping the price this month.
Also Twitter and social media is cancer.April 19, 2021
Lindsay Ellis wants to have her cake and eat it too. She’s an eager supporter of online Cancel Culture when it benefits her against people or groups she doesn’t like, but the second it turned on her, she brushes off her (overstated but still sometimes bad) behavior. She also deflects in weird ways going on about how it’s the right wing doing it and.. honey the right wing DOESN’T CARE. It’s those further Left than even you are who don’t think you measure up to the purity standard. I’ve always felt she kinda comes across as what I’d call the “Intellectual Mean Girl” type and she’s really showing it more and more lately.April 20, 2021
the thing is that. for me, she has become self-aware as a media property. I agree that she shouldn’t be vilified. at the same time, she cannot be, simultaneously, as say as she is and ignorant of how the internet in general and YouTube in particular work. she isn’t entitled to a living on the web without its ups and downs. this upset is less damaging than what most folks experience as teachers, soldiers, worker bees. so, while it is regrettable, it isn’t horrible. after all, she didn’t do anything bad. it was a minor mistake. nothing she will have to explain to an employer.October 12, 2021
savy*October 12, 2021