How Cancel Culture Broke Me
This is a chapter from my upcoming FREE book Canceled that’s launching on 7/19/19. Please check out the announcement page by clicking here, and thank you to those who have donated so far.
This entire fiasco absolutely ruined me financially. I’ve never spoken about this publicly because I know the hate mob would get their rocks off knowing they were able to do this. I’m opening up about this in this book because I want to be completely honest with you and give you some insight as to what happens when you get canceled. The mob will say they just want you to be held accountable and that you should face some repercussions for your actions, but this isn’t true at all. They’re out for blood and want you completely ruined. You’re not a person to them. You’re a thing, and if you dropped off the face of the earth, they’d forget about you and move onto the next person.
One of the most common sayings in the drama community and cancel culture is, “DRAG HIM/HER!”, and I think this sums it up perfectly. Whenever I see someone leave this as a comment or a tweet, I imagine it being like a gladiator arena with blood thirsty fans screaming for one gladiator to kill the other. This isn’t just entertainment for these people. It’s more like a blood sport, and this is a major issue. While everyone who is part of the mob will try to act as though they’re morally superior to everyone else, they’re often far worse than 90% of the people they try to cancel.
By now, you’ve learned more about my story as well as other stories about other people who have been canceled. From my story, worst case scenario, I hurt some peoples’ feelings and some people don’t agree with my style of content. On occasion, I can be blunt, a little dick-headish, petty and sometimes passive aggressive. But, as we find with cancel culture and the court of public opinion, there’s no spectrum for wrongdoings. In the eyes of the hate mob, I’m no different than Ted Bundy or Charles Manson, and they want people like me sentenced to death.
If I were to write a book about how to incite a hate mob against a YouTuber, the number one piece of advice I’d give is to say the creator only cares about money. This is the best way to get everyone pissed off at somebody. Create a narrative that they don’t really care about anything except for padding their pockets, and they’d sell out their own mother if it meant they could make a quick buck. I know this because I see this happen to every YouTuber they try to cancel, and it happened to me.
Something you should know about me is that I don’t expect handouts. I learned a long time ago that this world doesn’t owe me a damn thing. My mindset is that if I want something, I need to work for it. I’m going to talk about my work ethic, and this isn’t to brag. Many would say the amount I work is borderline unhealthy, but I want to share this so you get to know me better and understand that when it comes to the mob, facts don’t matter.
When I started my YouTube channel, I was working an insane amount of hours. I was working at the rehab from 9AM - 5PM and ran events for dozens of people once a month. Aside from that, I ran a meeting from 7PM - 8PM for our alumni every week, and I had a work cell phone on me that I was expected to answer 24/7 in case a client relapsed and needed to get back into rehab. The rehab center didn’t pay me that much, so I was also spending 10 to 20 hours a week doing freelance writing to make extra money. I’m also a father who has my son three to four days a week, and I have a girlfriend. I was doing all of this while I was still posting videos every day to the YouTube channel that weren’t earning me a penny for a very long time.
Again, I work harder than most people out there, and this isn’t to brag. It’s just something I’ve always done, and I think I get it from my parents. When I first got sober, my mom was the clinical director of a rehab, the director of psychology at a university, she taught psychology to inmates at a local prison, and she had her own private practice.
If you compare me to 99% of the YouTubers out there, I work harder than just about all of them. This isn’t to discredit their work. There are many creators out there that I respect the hell out of, but we all know they could do more. I don’t like to play the game where I hope for a video to go viral, so I work my ass off instead. There are many creators who struggle to even get out one or two videos a week while I’m creating two or sometimes three videos a day. Many other creators do much more editing than I do, and that’s important to note, but I’ve also had many creators tell me that I motivate them to work harder. I made a video a long time ago titled The YouTuber Burnout Myth where I speak more in-depth on this subject because people said I work too much. When you start to realize how many of your creators spend most of their time on Twitter rather than working, it starts to make sense.
Now, if you’re like me, people with a strong work ethic motivates you. It either motivates you or you at least respect the hell out of it. If you’re part of the hate mob, that’s not the case. The mob somehow manages to defy everything logical that we know. We’re taught that the American dream involves working hard and having the opportunity to start your own business. When it comes to the hate mob, you’re not a hard worker, but you’re doing this because you want to take advantage of people and live a lavish lifestyle. In my entire life, I’ve never seen thousands and thousands of people pissed off because someone is motivated to create a better life for themselves and their family.
If you remember the golden rule of canceling someone, it’s to say all they care about is the money. When people started making hate videos about me, they created that narrative and ran with it. Primink was the first one to start this narrative and had no problem knowing it was false. He did this by pointing out that I used to sell a course about the science of addiction on my website for $100. The next rule about canceling people is to say everything the person sells is a scam or the person is a fraud without any evidence to back it up. If you were to take someone to court for scamming people or defrauding them, you’d need evidence. That’s not how it works with cancel culture. With cancel culture, you just slap labels on things and people spread that narrative.
What actually happened was I taught this Science of Addiction course at my treatment center. It’s important to note that this was a nationally accredited treatment center, so I wouldn’t be allowed to teach this course unless it was accurate or we’d get into a lot of trouble. The clients absolutely loved when I would teach this course once a month because it’d teach them the neuroscience behind addiction and help them understand why they became addicted. Many of them would tell me that their loved ones wanted to learn more about this and asked if I had an online version. So, as someone who was working before work and after work, I thought this would be a good way to make some money on the side. A videographer friend came over, and we filmed the course. I posted it online, and I gave all of my clients a coupon code so their loved ones could take the course for free.
The next rule about canceling someone is to create the narrative that the person you’re trying to cancel is filthy rich, and Primink as well as many others did this like professionals. By watching their videos, you’d think that I’m living in a mansion, travel around the world on my private yacht and eat gold-crusted ice cream every night for dessert. When I made my response video to Primink, I showed evidence that I had made less than $200 in the year and a half that the course was up because I suck at selling, and almost all of my sales were at discounted rates too. I actually forgot about my course, so when Primink brought it to my attention, I made the course free and gave someone a full refund who had somehow found and purchased the course a few months prior.
You would think that proving Primink was creating these false narratives by presenting people with evidence would clear my name. But, sadly, if you thought that, you were wrong. People could not care less. All they knew was I was selling something and they didn’t like me, so nothing else mattered.
As my channel grew, and my dream of becoming my own boss actually seemed like it could become reality, I did what just about any entrepreneur would do, which is diversify my revenue streams. Over the course of my channel, I’ve had many people ask how they could support what I’m doing too. Again, I don’t like handouts, so I want to be able to give people something they can actually benefit from. There are many creators out there who set up things like Patreon with nothing given in return except the good feeling you get from supporting that creator. I want to make it clear that I don’t think this is a bad thing, but I want to point it out for what comes next.
Like most creators, I started selling merch. My girlfriend Tristin is an amazing artist, and Tee Spring is free, so we started making merch so people could support the channel and rock some Rewired Soul shirts, hoodies or mugs with some art related to the channel. I also set up a Patreon, which I held off on for a really long time. This is because of the next rule of canceling someone, which is to point out that they have a Patreon and how that it’s just taking advantage of their fans. So, when I started my Patreon, I wanted to make sure it was worth it. I have various tiers with everything from your name in my end credits, to getting free copies of all my books, to a personalized drawing from Tristin as well as a one on one hangout call with me.
You’ve probably realized by now that I’m also a writer. This is my fifth book that I’m self-publishing. My first book HOPE is my personal story about how I overcame depression, anxiety and addiction. My second book Caught in the Crossfire is for anyone who has a loved one struggling with an addiction because so many people are affected by it. My next two books were Rewire Your Anger and Rewire Your Anxiety, and these are self-help books filled with suggestions based on coping skills that have helped me improve my anger and anxiety issues over the year.
I have never seen an author talked down to as much as when the hate mob came after me. A go-to for channels making hate videos about me, which resulted in ammunition for the mob, was to talk about the awful person I was for selling books that I wrote. I hope I’m not alone when I say this, but that is some of the most irrational logic I’ve ever heard of in my life. The hate mob tries to make you look bad for creating things and not giving them away for free. Some will argue that it’s not because I was selling products, but it’s because I’m not a licensed professional. If you think that too, please revisit the chapter I wrote about this criticism and all of the other unlicensed authors making much more money than I am by writing self-help mental health books like Johann Hari, Mark Manson or Russell Brand.
If you listened to what the hate videos about me said, you’d think that I became a millionaire selling my products, but that was false. Now, I’m going to tell you how much money I made…kind of. I’m not going to tell you the exact numbers, but I’m going to give you an idea so you can understand where my money was coming from and how being canceled affected my livelihood.
From November of 2018 until I was canceled in March of 2019, I was making enough money to live off of. Not only that, but I was making just a little bit more than I had working at the rehab that I was not happy working at. Friends and family members were so proud of me for being able to do something I loved by helping others. That’s what everyone wants right? To be able to support themselves and their family doing something they love? Well, this is a purely evil ideology in the eyes of the mob.
Aside from other creators making up stories about how much money I make, they were wrong about where my money came from. You would think that a majority of my money came from my books, Patreon and merch, but that wasn’t the case by a long shot. Over 85% of my income was from YouTube AdSense. That’s right. The majority of my income was from the free content I was putting out on a daily basis. While people were claiming I was a con artist ripping people off, the majority of my income was coming from people who weren’t spending a penny with me.
In my eyes, this was the ultimate win/win because I mainly created my channel because I know how many people can’t afford mental health help. I was able to support myself without having to charge people anything. All they had to do was watch my videos, and that was it. In fact, I could have stopped my Patreon, stopped selling books and merch, and I would have been fine based on the YouTube AdSense revenue that was coming in. Now, just to keep a roof over my head, I’m working even harder because I now get a fraction of the views I used to get, which means a fraction of the YouTube money.
It’s kind of ironic now that I think about it. The lies people told about me forced me into a position where I have to try and sell more things, which I never liked doing in the first place. Like I mentioned earlier, I feel guilty about making money and appreciate my fans, which is why I used to do so many giveaways and charity events.
I hate talking about money. I absolutely hate it. I learned a long time ago that money doesn’t make you happy, but it does decrease your stress. Because of the stories people spread about me and trying their best to make me look like a money-hungry asshole, I’m now more broke than I’ve been in a long time, and it’s embarrassing. I hate that I’m even having to write about this, but you need to know what happens to those who are attacked by the mob.
Like most parents, I give my son an allowance. He does a ton of chores at both his mom’s house as well as my house. Since I want my son to be more mentally healthy than I was at his age, I bought him a gratitude journal. If he makes a list of the things he’s grateful for every day, at the end of the week I give him $20. Cancel culture has ruined my finances so much that I’ve had to sit my son down to tell him that I can’t pay him for his gratitude journal anymore until things get better, and it makes me feel like an awful failure of a dad. Luckily, I have the best son in the world who totally understands.
I had to take a break after writing that last paragraph because I got tears in my eyes talking about it. The problem is, cancel culture doesn’t care. They don’t care that a father can barely provide for his son because of all this. They’ll quickly say, “You deserve this and brought this on yourself!”
To them, I’d say, “Really?” Cancel culture is so disproportionate. No matter what people have said about me, I’ve never wished that someone would be canceled or financially ruined because of their mistakes. They don’t care though. They feel that it’s “justice” knowing how broke I am based on the fact that I hurt some peoples’ feelings while trying to help others. They’re basing this justice off of the false narrative people have created about me. Meanwhile, they’re supporting creators who have made entire careers trying to cancel people. I want to ask you who is really morally corrupt in this situation?
Others from the hate mob have a go-to, which is when they say, “Good! Get a real job!” What’s a “real job”? For anyone who doesn’t like you, you don’t have a real job. I empathize with these people. According to the management consulting group Gallup, 50% of people aren’t happy at their job, and 25% of people absolutely hate their job. When I see people say, “Get a real job”, I know that it really means, “I’m miserable at my job, and I want everyone else to be miserable at their job.” If you were able to do something you loved and make a living, wouldn’t you do it too? I made a video a long time ago talking about haters who complain about Instagram models. I say more power to them. If I could get paid from my goofy ass looks, I’d do it in a heart beat, and I’d hope anyone with half a brain would do the same.
Earlier this week, I announced this book on my website. Even though I’m more broke than I’ve been in years, but I made this book free for a limited time. I did that because cancel culture is such a major issue that needs to be addressed, and I want as many people to know about it as possible. I don’t care about the money, and I knew people from the mob would create the narrative, “Oh look. He’s trying to profit from playing the victim.” Because of this, I’ve gone back to freelance writing to make some money while I write this book. I’ve also spent some time applying for a bunch of jobs that I’m over qualified for because I have to humble myself and ensure my son is taken care of.
Something I had to think long and hard about though was how I could make some money from this book for all of the time I’m spending on it. As I write this, I’ve been neglecting my girlfriend the last two days while spending some time with her at night to make this deadline. I’ve been spending over eight hours a day writing this book, and I hate asking for help. When I announced this book, I mentioned that this situation has ruined me financially, and I wanted to give people the opportunity to support what I’m doing by putting a suggested donation of $5. As of writing this chapter, I’ve only had three people do it so far.
I didn’t want to do this because of my pride, and I also knew people from the hate mob were going to have some cruel things to say about me having a suggested donation even though this book is free. The reason I chose to do it though is for the same reason I do many other things, and that’s to be the example. I encourage people to humble themselves and ask for help when they need it. What kind of example would I be if I let my fear of embarrassment or my pride prevent me from asking for help?