Fall of Twitter Celebrities

In the age of social media, a different type of celebrity has come to surface. It can be argued that internet celebrities don’t need talent, money, or prestige – all they need is a gimmick and a willing audience. However, these internet celebrities are also subject to what happens to all celebrities: scrutiny of one’s past. Recently, two Twitter personalities had their past tweets resurface which caused a storm of controversy; but does the public have the right to judge a celebrity before stardom?

Kelvin “Brother Nature” Peña and Adam “Adam22” Grandmaison are Twitter celebrities. Peña is known for being the “hispanic Steve Irwin” due to his fascination with all types of animals. His most popular Twitter videos usually revolve around a deer he dubbed “Canela.” Grandmaison is known as a former rapper and the creator of the popular YouTube podcast, “No Jumper.” No Jumper was made popular due to Grandmaison interviewing underground artists along with other popular YouTubers.

With the double-edged sword that comes with being a celebrity, both fell from grace due to their past tweets. Peña’s endorsed Anti-semitic and sexist ideals with one of his tweets featuring a Swastika emoji followed by the phrase “HEIL HITLER” and another reading, “when I grow up I wanna be like Chris Brown. So if my girlfriend tried to look through my phone while driving I can choke and punch her :).” The latter references the case of singer, Rihanna, being physically abused by her ex-boyfriend and rapper, Chris Brown.

Grandmaison faced a similar downfall, this time due to his comments towards young women. One of his tweets sent out “Shouts to all the 18 year old girls out there that let a real dude like me hit it even though when I was 8 they were still an egg.” This was later followed with “My advice to any young girls out there: sleep with much, much older men” and “I would almost rather sexually harass than have sex.”

Clearly both celebrities have twisted ideals that should prohibit them from being idolized by the public. However, consider the age at which these messages were released. Peña sent his racist/sexist tweets when he was around 12 years old while Grandmaison sent his around 26 years old. I am not justifying any comments that Peña said, but consider what you said at that age. I know for sure that if I had a Twitter at that age, I would also have sent some comments that are now considered inappropriate. However, Grandmaison was reasonably into adulthood, and should have been able to recognize his comments and what they meant.

Yet, if that was the case, why was all of Twitter so quick to “cancel” Peña and not Grandmaison? Both celebrities tweeted offensive comments and both suffered some aspect of a reckoning. However, Peña’s fall become a public spectacle, causing people to name-call and persecute him to the point that he put his account on private, revoking the public’s right to retweet his tweets. After the ordeal, Peña sent out an apology and returned to public status, explaining how impressionable he was at that age. However, Grandmaison has yet to send out a formal apology for his comments.

Whatever the case, I don’t believe in “forgive and forget” for celebrities. As role models for impressionable 12 year olds, they should be held accountable for their actions – even the past ones. Although I do not completely blame Peña for his past, he should have deleted the tweets when he realized his immaturity (or when he became famous). As for Grandmaison, he should have been cancelled a long time ago but he still going strong. It just goes to show what happens when society decides to chose either pitchforks or blindfolds. Either way, someone loses.

Frank Peña is a third-year Journalism and Informatics major. He can be reached at fpenaaya@uci.edu.