Fat-shaming video causes YouTube row

A comedian who criticised overweight people has sparked a row over censorship on YouTube.

Nicole Arbour uploaded a video called Dear Fat People in which she derided people for being overweight.

She claimed she had been censored after her channel was suspended, while others accused her of deleting her own channel to gain sympathy.

But the BBC understands the channel was automatically suspended because a lot of people reported it to YouTube.

Ms Arbour’s YouTube channel has since been restored.


Nicole Arbour's videoImage copyrightNicole Arbour
Image captionNicole’s video was posted on Facebook and YouTube

Nicole Arbour is a Canadian comedian who uploads video rants to Facebook and YouTube. She has a combined following of more than 500,000 people.

In a controversial video, which has been viewed more than 21 million times, Ms Arbour described times she encountered overweight people.

“Fat-shaming is not a thing. Fat people made that up. If we offend you so much that you lose weight, I’m OK with that. You are killing yourself,” she said.

Ms Arbour has faced criticism from prominent social media stars.


Meghan TonjesImage copyrightMeghan Tonjes
Image captionMeghan Tonjes posted an emotional response to Ms Arbour

Whitney Way Thore, star of US reality show My Big Fat Fabulous Life, said fat-shaming was the “spawn of a larger problem called body shaming” that she was sure “everyone on the planet” had experienced.

“You cannot tell a person’s health, physical or otherwise, from looking at them,” she said.

Singer Meghan Tonjes said the video was “harmful”, adding: “I know what it’s like to sit there as a teenage girl and see something like that.”

Vlogger skagg3 defended Ms Arbour: “I don’t go on some censorship parade trying to put tape over people’s mouths, because I value the free exchange of ideas more than I value my own personal feelings.”


When Ms Arbour’s YouTube channel was suspended on Sunday, she tweeted that she had been “censored”.

Nicole tweeted: 'Wow, I'm the first comedian in the history of YouTube to be censored. There are graphic videos about murder and torture, but satire is (monkey covering mouth emoji)'Image copyright@NicoleArbour

YouTube said it did not comment on specific channels but told the BBC: “In cases where a channel or video is incorrectly flagged by the community and subsequently removed, we work quickly to reinstate it.”

Powerful tool

Grace HelbigImage copyrightGrace Helbig
Image captionGrace Helbig has more than 2 million followers on YouTube

Ms Arbour has since uploaded a new video, where she says she “does not care” if people are offended by her content.

Grace Helbig, one of YouTube’s best-known stars, said the comedian’s comments had been “mean”.

“Comedy can be a really powerful tool,” she said. “I wish that we could use it more respectfully. I wish we could just respect each other as human beings.

“The more you just say whatever you want with disregard to people’s feelings, the less I as a viewer consider you as a comedian, I just consider you as kinda mean.”

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