Casey Neistat is a YouTube star known for his popular vlog, a series of daily video diaries with extensive use of elaborate and well done camerawork. These vlogs have netted Neistat 5 million subscribers and over a billion views across his library of videos.
On October 11, Neistat published a video outside entitled “who i’m voting for president,” where he revealed his support for Hillary Clinton. In the video, he says that it can be difficult to make a stance that isn’t always popular, and emphasized the importance of political discussion. The video also includes a rally to his audience to get out and demand answers about politics from their favorite YouTubers.
It has already garnered 4.4 million views.
The end of the video includes text which reads: “this video was NOT sponsored by Hillary Clinton or any other political entity. But you need to vote for her and make sure everyone else you know votes for her or the consequences of electing the unstable irrational alternative will be far reaching and severe.”
The video has received heavy criticism for trying on the one hand to encourage political discourse, while on the other hand insisting viewers vote for Hillary Clinton. Others criticize the video for inciting a mob of people to harass YouTubers into sharing their political views, when they could have chosen to keep their political leanings to themselves.
Ethan Klein of H3H3 Productions criticized Neistat for hypocrisy, showing statistics within Neistat’s subscriber count and video views actively discourage his point that making political statements aren’t popular. The statistics show that Neistat’s video wasn’t only popular with 4.2 million views, but that with such a large audience, there is hypocrisy in saying that anything you do might be unpopular, as his subscriber count and average daily views have only maintained their steady rise in the days since the video was uploaded.
“Don’t f**king listen to me, don’t listen to Casey, I’m just a YouTuber, how does that qualify me to tell you who to vote for?” Says Klein. “I literally go to the store with 200 shirts on, and you’re looking to me for advice on who to vote for president?” Klein pointed out that most YouTubers rely on gimmicks and audacity to gain views and money from advertisement revenue.
Klein also criticized Neistat for advocating for the polarization of politics.
“Don’t let people bully you if you want to be in the middle,” says Klein, who advocates finding a candidate based on a person’s own opinion, rather than looking to one of two choices.
Although some have praised Neistat for his political video, the response from Klein seems to be the most well-respected response to Neistat’s video, with Klein’s response to the controversy seeming to be a concise plea to stop the internet star from taking himself too seriously.