Top 5 YouTube Celebrity Downfalls

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What to make of the watered-down brand of celebrity open to overnight YouTube sensations? In a moment, a fifteen minute clock starts for these one hit wonders; in a flash of the pan, it’s all over. The whole phenomenon must be pretty dazzling and dizzying to live through—not that any of us will probably ever find out. Still, reliving the sometimes tragic fall from grace of these viral video wunderkinds can provide the same guilty pleasure as seeing any other celebrity eat crow. So we decided to look at the 5 worst YouTube celebrity downfalls of all time for your viewing pleasure.

5 Ted Williams / The Golden Voice

After a life of drug and alcohol fueled drifting, Ted Williams used his “God-given” gift to live out a rags-to-riches story, at least briefly. A Columbus, Ohio-based reporter discovered this silky-voiced Cinderella panhandling on an off-ramp, making announcements like an accomplished radio personality. After the video blew up, the Cleveland Cavaliers offered him a full-time job announcing their games, which included a house for the still homeless Williams. Eventually, Williams turned up on Dr. Phil, having returned to alcohol to cope with media pressure. The Cavaliers eventually retracted their offer, though Williams is reportedly sober and employed today. Although, you could call it a success, since he’ll no longer have to watch the Cavs play.

4 Antoine Dodson / Bed Intruder

Hide your wife, hide your kids, because Antoine Dodson has been all-over the map for the past few years. Following the break out success of an interview of Dodson, his high energy quotability wound up on nearly every computer screen. Shortly thereafter, Dodson began developing his own reality show chronicling his new opportunities following YouTube stardom. What went wrong? Well, Dodson didn’t have any real talent, so the “opportunities” never materialized. That, plus an outstanding warrant he acquired from a marijuana ticket. In 2013, Dodson resurfaced—first trumpeting his homosexuality and pseudo-celebrity, than denouncing both less than a week later. Sounds like he’s suffering from a head intruder.

3 Kai the Hatchet Wielding Hitchhiker

An unlikely folk hero, Kai rocketed to renown in early 2013—and out of Fresno, of all places. Kai was able to save innocent lives with a “smash, smash, Suh-MASH” of his ax, stopping a murderous man who thought he was Jesus Christ. Kai’s interview with a Fox affiliate became such a widespread sensation that he eventually got interviewed by Jimmy Kimmel, describing himself as “homefree” and giving away the money that Kimmel offered him for his appearance. Things turned for the worse when he posted an obscure and horrifying Facebook update about being drugged and raped. Two days later, he was arrested for the bludgeoning death of a New Jersey lawyer. With his bail set a $3 million, maybe he should have held on to some of that Jimmy Kimmel money.

2 Jessi Slaughter

Initially gaining notoriety for her flamboyant YouTube videos, Jessi eventually became the subject of a widespread cyberbullying campaign. Gene Leonhardt, Jessi’s father, interrupted one of Jessi’s posts in a misguided attempt to protect her. Uttering such phrases as “you done goofed” and “consequences will never be the same,” Leonhardt provided more trolling fodder. Molestation and abuse charges were later lobbied at Leonhardt, which actually brought to light many of Jessi’s behavioral issues in the ensuing trial. Jessi later posted an apology to her fans while in psychological treatment, coincidentally the same day her father died of a massive heart attack. Recently, she’s surfaced on a new Tumblr account, claiming that she’s become transgendered and is changing her name to Damien. Oh, almost forgot, she’s 14.

1 Kony 2012

Thanks to the unprecedented success of Kony 2012, millions of Americans went from not really knowing where Uganda is to hating militant leader Joseph Kony… and still not really knowing where Uganda is (it’s Africa, right?). The thirty minute video made the rounds on Facebook walls, accumulating 43 million views from March 5-8. The movement took a serious pounding about a week after its spread, when video creator and narrator Jason Russell was found naked and ranting in the middle of a sunny San Diego sidewalk—supposedly splattering invisible children wherever he went. He claims to have lost control from the pressure of Kony 2012’s success, and can’t recall masturbating. In other words, it’s OK to strut around naked in broad day light, just keep it PG.

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