Influencers Biggest Scandals

Tanya Zuckerbrot

This summer, fashion influencer Emily Gellis Lande dished out a healthy serving of criticism to registered dietitian Zuckerbrot.

In a series of posts, Gellis Lande shared anonymous tales from dieters, at least one of which who had paid upwards of $20,000 to follow the New Yorker’s high-fiber F-Factor Diet only to experience rashes, intense cramps, indications of metal poisoning and—in the most extreme allegation—a miscarriage. Gellis Lande’s crusade caught the attention of The New York Times which published a piece detailing the saga, with some of the tipsters recounting their stories to the paper.

Having hired lawyer Lanny Davis, once White House special council to former president Bill Clinton and attorney for Michael Cohen, Zuckerbrot denied the claims and the suggestion that her plan led to disordered eating, telling the paper that across upwards of 176,000 purchases of her snack bars and powders she had received just 50 health complaints. She later released a Certificate of Analysis to dispute concerns the products contained heavy metals and went on Today to further defend her program.

As for her online adversary Gellis Lande, who’s continued to share anonymous testimonies with her 208,000 followers, Zuckerbrot is hardly impressed. “I believe in her mind she thinks she’s helping people and that the lifestyle I lead is poisoning everyone and giving them anorexia,” Zuckerbrot, who’s worked with Megyn Kelly, sniped to the Times. “But she’s a fashion blogger. She doesn’t work for the World Health Organization. If this was Barbara Walters or John Stossel, maybe I would have paid attention sooner. But this is a young woman who has no credential in health and wellness or any medical or clinical experience. The girl sells clothing for a living.”

Still, Gellis Lande vowed in an August Instagram, “I won’t stop until there is justice for you guys and until your voices are heard, acknowledged and addressed!”

Jessica Mulroney

Much of the world underwent a long overdue racial awakening this summer, the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others pushing the Black Lives Matter movement back to the forefront. But it was stylist—and close Meghan Markle friend—Jessica Mulroney who got a true wake-up call. In a nearly 12-minute Instagram video, Canadian lifestyle blogger Sasha Exeter took Mulroney to task, saying her issues with her onetime acquaintance began when Mulroney “took offense” to Exeter’s plea that her 144,000 Instagram followers “use their voice for good and help combat the race war and what’s happening to the Black community.”

Believing the message was targeting her, Exeter continued, Mulroney engaged in what she called “very problematic” behavior, allegedly speaking poorly about Exeter to other brands and “sending me a threat in writing.” Though Mulroney commented on Exeter’s video with an apology, she later sent a DM that Exeter shared, Mulroney writing, “Liable [sic] suit. Good luck.”

Though Mulroney later posted a lengthier mea culpa to her own 400,000 Insta followers, announcing her intentions to promote “Black voices by having them take over my account and share their experience,” her planned reality show I Do, Redo was dropped from CTV and her social media account was later made private.

Her husband Ben Mulroney (son of former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney) also stepped down from his role as co-host of CTV’s eTalk, stating, “It is my hope that the new anchor is Black, Indigenous, or a person of color who can use this important platform to inspire, lead, and make change.” But the mom of three did get to keep her most high-profile friendship, writing in a since-deleted post, “I’m going to tell this once and for all. Meghan and I are family. She is the kindest friend and has checked up on me everyday.”

Jake Paul

Known for such cinematic greatness as “I DUCT TAPED My Brothers $400,000 Dollar TRUCK!” and getting fired from Disney Channel’s Bizaardvark, the Vine star turned YouTube personality graduated to the big leagues this summer.

On the morning of Aug. 5, FBI authorities executed a federal search warrant at Paul’s Calabasas, Calif., home, the bureau confirming it was in connection to a May 30 incident at a Scottsdale, Ariz., mall. Broadcasting live from a Black Lives Matter protest that ended at the city’s Fashion Square Mall, Paul unlawfully entered and remained inside the shopping center after cops ordered everyone to leave, police insisted in a statement. (Paul responded on Twitter that while he was documenting the protest, “neither I nor anyone in our group was engaged in any looting or vandalism.”)

Though rumors about the FBI raid grew as outsized as his YouTube following, reports emerging that multiple firearms were seized, Paul insisted in a since-deleted Aug. 12 video that the search was “entirely related to the Arizona looting situation that happened. It’s an investigation. There are rumors about it having to do with so many other things that have nothing to do with me or my character and the s–t that people are making up is absolutely absurd.” While no charges have been filed, Paul’s attorney told E! News in a statement that they intend to “cooperate with the investigation.”

James Charles

More than a year after making up with fellow beauty vlogger Tati Westbrook, the YouTube sensation started falling into some new feuds. First, in an August subtweet, he insinuated that perpetually bare-faced Alicia Keys had no business launching a skincare collection, later apologizing because he’s “not the gatekeeper of makeup” and “anyone should be able to secure their bag and it’s not up to me which brands people should or shouldn’t support.”

But not two weeks later the Instant Influencer host was forced to cover up another mistake when he came for Lauren Conrad’s new beauty line. Slamming The Hills alum in a series of Instagram Stories, he showed his 22 million followers the empty packaging he’d received “from a new makeup brand from somebody who has no business having a makeup brand.”

Fortunately the LC Lauren Conrad fashion designer didn’t shed a single mascara tear, hilariously copping to her misstep on Instagram by blaming the “woman who put together the gifts” (read: the winged eyeliner expert herself). Having put empty samples into a bag to test if they would fit, “When beauty products arrived and it was time to fill all the makeup bags she (again, me) accidentally included the bag full of empties with the others and it was sent out,” Conrad shared. “She will be let go immediately.”

Charles later apologized, saying the videos were meant to be funny and sharing that “Lauren and I spoke privately about the misunderstanding & are both good.” Still, it’s pretty clear he knows what he did.

Myka Stauffer

When The Stauffer Life vlogger and YouTuber kicked off a May video by saying, “This is by far the hardest video James and I have ever publicly had to make,” it was evident she wouldn’t be sharing her newborn nighttime routine or her daily diet. Instead, she and her husband revealed they had placed their nearly 5-year-old son Huxley, adopted from China in 2017, with “his now new forever family” after struggling to manage his autism.

The reaction from their nearly 1 million subscribers could best be categorized as outraged, fans debating whether the couple—parents to four other children—were simply naive or had exploited Huxley for clicks and donations only to discard him when his care became too challenging. The two lost followers and willing brand collaborators, the likes of Fabletics, Suave and Danimals announcing that they were severing ties and Ohio’s Delaware County Sheriff’s Office even confirmed to E! News that they were investigating the well-being of Huxley.

Authorities announced in late June that they had closed their case “without any charges,” but Myka’s brand remains shut down as well. A once constant Internet presence, she hasn’t posted to YouTube or Instagram since June.

Bryce Hall & Jaden Hossler

Quite the ride. When Hall announced May 20 that he and his fellow TikTok star “might do a whole road trip all the way across country in the next few days…” they received more than just the sightseeing recommendations they were after. Hall’s Twitter followers were already less than thrilled that the two were flouting stay at home recommendations to take a trip, causing the Gen Z idol to shoot back, “most states lifted quarantine, the boys are driving across country staying out of contact from everyone… it’s not that deep.”

But they dug an even deeper hole when they passed through Lee County, Tex. five days later, the sheriff’s office confirming that Hall was arrested for possession of marijuana and Hossler for possession of controlled substances. (They both posted bail the next day.) In a June essay, Hall told People he’d “started on the path” toward getting sober: “While I’ve messed up in the past, I’m learning and growing… and I will make you proud. I promise.”

Bryce Hall & Blake Gray

Among the summer’s least inspiring trends: the heady mix of youth and self-importance that caused a certain sect of social media celebrities to party like it’s 2019. (Naturally, they captured their irresponsible behavior on camera for their hordes of impressionable fans to see.)

The whole lot of them got called out by Tyler Oakley in a July tweet, the YouTuber telling his followers, “If your favorite influencers are at huge house parties during a pandemic (& are dumb enough to post it on social media)… they are bad influences. unfollow them.”

But it was TikTok stars Hall and Gray who would face true repercussions. Issued a citation Aug. 8 that a gathering at Sway House, their Hollywood Hills rental, violated the Safer L.A. health order and the city’s Party House Ordinance, per a press release from the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, they responded by throwing a bash for hundreds six days later to mark Hall’s 21st birthday. Officers, once again, responded to a call (gun shots were reported, but no evidence found that one had been fired), the press release confirmed.

Given another citation and final warning of noncompliance, per the release, authorities cut the power to the home Aug. 19 and both Hall and Gray were hit with two misdemeanor charges. They face up to a year in prison and $2,000 in fines, which, if you think about it, is quite the party foul. Hall and Gray have yet to respond.

Alan & Alex Stokes

Some pranks are cute. Say, George Clooney and Brad Pitt covering Ocean’s Eleven costar Julia Roberts’ dressing room door in shaving cream. This is not that. In October 2019, the YouTube personalities, known as the Stokes Twins to their 5 million followers, clad themselves all in black, adding ski masks and duffel bags full of money, and, pretending as if they’d just robbed a bank, called an Uber to serve as a getaway while a video camera rolled. Definitely not in on the joke, the Uber driver refused to peel away and a bystander—believing the boys were adding carjacking to their list of crimes—called the cops.

“Irvine police arrived and ordered the Uber driver out at gunpoint,” the Orange County District Attorney’s Office later shared in a press release. Though the driver was released once authorities determined he was not involved, the release continued, “Police issued a warning to the Stokes brothers about the dangers of their conduct and let them go.”

Lesson learned, right? Please. Four hours later the twins allegedly recreated the routine on the University of California, Irvine campus. Now facing up to four years in prison if convicted on false imprisonment and swatting charges, they received the ire of Orange County D.A. Todd Spitzer, who said in a statement, “These were not pranks. These are crimes that could have resulted in someone getting seriously injured or even killed.”

But in a September news release, their lawyer said, “We have reviewed all of the discovery provided to our offices in this case. We can say without hesitation that our clients are in fact not guilty of any crimes.” Having pled not guilty to all charges, they are due back in court Oct. 27.

Shane Dawson

Crowned the “King of YouTube” for his documentary series-length videos that earned him some 34 million followers, Dawson saw his 15-year reign come to an end in June after he posted a since-deleted explosive tweet about why he was leaving the online beauty community. “They are all attention seeking, game playing, egocentric, narcissistic, vengeful, two-faced, ticking time bombs ready to explode. And I’m OVER it,” he griped, calling out James Charles in particular as “a young, egocentric, power-hungry guru who needed to be served a slice of humble pie in the size of the f–king Empire State Building.”

His followers were, uh, not impressed, noting that those that live in glass glam rooms shouldn’t throw stones. And within days Dawson had posted a 20-minute video titled “Taking Accountability” in which he apologized for a slew of his own bad behavior, including using blackface, making racist remarks and jokes about pedophilia and posting one truly disturbing video that sexualized a then-11-year-old Willow Smith.

“This video is coming from a place of just wanting to own up to my s–t, wanting to own up to everything I’ve done on the internet that has hurt people, that has added to the problem, that has not been handled well,” he said in his lengthy mea culpa. “I should have been punished for things.” Which he was, YouTube stepping in this June to suspend his ability to monetize his three accounts.