How a drama YouTuber lost her entire career overnight
The Creepshow Art saga, explained from my perspective
Welcome back to my blog, THE KIDS AREN’T ALRIGHT. I’ve missed this space! My life has been extremely hectic these past few weeks with travel to see my family.
ICYMI I published a bunch of stuff for Insider, including two mini-investigations: one, how YouTube fumbled the moderation of a child safety violation in a disturbing family vlog; and two, how a vigilante group that includes TV journalist Chris Hansen and YouTuber Seth Francois fumbled the publication of rape claims against a TikToker.
Fumbling is an outstanding theme of the internet this week, perhaps even more so than usual. Trisha Paytas fumbled the “Frenemies” podcast bag. TikToker Bryce Hall fumbled hard in his boxing match with YouTuber Austin McBroom. And onto the subject of this week’s blog, a commentary/drama channel fumbled her entire online identity.
Niche internet drama has always fascinated and enthralled me. Regardless of my initial familiarity with the subjects, if there’s a Shakespearian drama breaking out in an online community, I’ll sit and listen to the unraveling of all the gritty details.
This week, a niche internet drama hit uncomfortably close to home.
Creepshow Art, whose first name is Shannon, is one of the largest voices in the YouTube drama/commentary community. Drama and commentary channels are the in-house media arm of YouTube, independently reporting and commenting on the actions of other YouTubers and social media figures.
At her peak, Shannon hit around 500,000 subscribers. She started out in ArtTube, the YouTube niche where artists will record themselves drawing and talk over the footage. She segued into talking about YouTube and internet drama and exploded from there. I found her in early 2020 and for a while, she was one of the YouTubers I enjoyed listening to the most.
But as someone who has interviewed Shannon, considered her a peer, and had a friendly relationship with her, I wanted to add my voice to this saga. Beyond that, it’s a riveting tale of deception that may resonate with my readers. Let’s dive into it.
My personal experiences with Shannon
The first time I contacted Shannon, I wanted to interview her about her Dahvie Vanity and Jeffree Star coverage. Shannon produced a lot of videos in early 2020 about the relationship between Star and other unsavory Myspace celebrities who would go on to be accused of criminal acts.
In addition to providing a thorough rundown of her own observations, Shannon talked about growing up on Myspace and witnessing the Jessi Slaughter “You done goofed” meme firsthand. I quoted her in my Slaughter investigation and linked to her videos in a few pieces about backlash against Shane Dawson.
I really liked Shannon as a content creator. There seems to be some revisionist history going on with people claiming her videos were always boring or unoriginal, but that’s not strictly true. Shannon was clever. Her art skills may have been exaggerated, given that she did a lot of tracing, but her analysis of various internet phenomena and creators was oftentimes striking and engaging, at least to me.
I believe Shannon demonstrated a deep knowledge of internet psychology, including fan behaviors and creator manipulation. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. It wasn’t in spite of a lack of aptitude that Shannon accrued half a million YouTube subscribers and developed friendships and rapport with dozens of other creators.
I also noticed that Shannon used overt self-deprecation in her videos to gain sympathy from her audience, despite clearly trusting her own opinions enough to act as a moral arbiter for creators big and small.
But Shannon wasn’t a master manipulator. She made huge mistakes and acted irrationally and overly confident in ways that led to her reputation collapsing. The first domino to fall was Shannon’s history of posting on a skeevy internet forum.
What the Lolcow posts revealed
If you’re deeply invested in internet drama, you probably have a passing familiarity with forums like Lolcow. I’ve trawled influencer gossip forums for years, but like many figures who report from a place of neutrality, I don’t partake in the snarking.
One place I DON’T frequent is Lolcow, an imageboard known for politically incorrect snarking, not entirely dissimilar to Kiwi Farms or even 4Chan. Lolcow is a dirty shit-talking site, but it still has its own rules and customs. And historically, Lolcow has outed the identities of notable people who repeatedly use the site’s anonymity to talk about themselves.
For those who know Myspace history, Lolcow outed Kiki Cannibal. It outed controversial YouTube figures. These people have admitted that Lolcow correctly identified them by tracking their IP addresses over time. Last week, Lolcow claimed to have outed Shannon and shit hit the fan. Here’s a thread that goes into what Shannon posted.
Shortly after Lolcow’s decision, Shannon posted to her Community tab on YouTube and made a few conflicting remarks. She confirmed that the IP addresses associated with the posts were really hers, but claimed that her stalker had been the one posting from her IP address, which Shannon said was spoofed.
This isn’t possible over the course of multiple years, and Shannon’s own friends expressed doubt. Shortly after, Shannon disappeared from the internet, with claims that she’ll return only if she can legally prove the posts weren’t hers.
The Lolcow posts were utterly devastating to Shannon’s brand. Not only did she shit-talk her own closest friends, according to Lolcow, but she seemingly also used homophobic, transphobic, and ableist slurs — and nastily attacked other peoples’ appearances.
That’s extremely at odds with Shannon’s whole reputation. She has made a prolific, profitable online career off asking social media figures to take accountability for actions she determines are morally reprehensible — including shit-talking friends and being bigoted. Everyone is hypocritical from time to time, but Shannon seems to have draped herself in anonymity to go undercover and blatantly disregard every principle she claimed to stand for.
One of the most mind-blowing elements of Shannon’s alleged Lolcow postings is the seemingly compulsive, irrational nature of them. Why would Shannon do this? Any self-promotion she received from her posts would be insignificant compared to the overall reach of her channel. The same could be said for negative repercussions when Lolcow said she antagonized her friends and competitors.
This is in sharp juxtaposition to how Shannon profited greatly off her channel, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from advertising revenue, based on insight from other YouTubers at her level.
Shannon’s experiences with Emily Artful
On June 12, ArtTuber Emily Artful came out with a highly-anticipated exposé about Shannon. In this two-hour video, she breaks down her personal history with Shannon and Shannon’s partner Anthony, who Shannon has stated is her husband. This history begins before either Shannon or Emily launched their YouTube channels.
Specifically, Emily accused Anthony of raping her during an abusive on-and-off again relationship during a period of Emily’s life when she says she was addicted to heroin. Emily knew Shannon as Anthony’s coworker in California, where the three of them used to live, according to public social media posts made by each person.
I highly recommend watching the full video on 1.5x speed.
Emily doesn’t have concrete proof for all of her claims, but the screenshots, photos, and videos she does have paint a compelling portrait of years of alleged abuse at Anthony’s hands. The extent of Shannon’s involvement isn’t fully discernible, but it seems that Shannon knowingly stood by and defended Anthony despite Emily confronting her with the allegations.
What’s more, Shannon posted a long Storytime shortly after Emily confronted her that reflects all of Emily’s allegations, but from Shannon’s POV as the recipient of the abuse. The sequence of events shows Shannon proactively sharing details of Emily’s story publicly years before Emily did.
These details about Shannon’s life before YouTube appalled me, because I heard a different interpretation from Shannon’s own mouth. When I interviewed her in April 2020, I asked Shannon to elaborate on her channel’s history and she told me that she was experiencing homelessness when she started YouTube.
She audibly choked up and described this experience as overtly negative during our call. It was the first time I heard about Shannon experiencing homelessness and I walked away thinking she had experienced a true hardship. It shaped my future opinion of her. In Emily’s video, she shows clips of Anthony explaining that they lived out of their car as an artistic choice. This bowled me over.
Shannon confirmed that Emily’s ex Anthony is her current partner in the purported DMs between her and Emily that are shown at the tail end of the video. She never disputed the establishing facts of Emily’s narrative, similar to how she confirmed the Lolcow postings were associated with her authentic IP address.
In her denials, Shannon sealed her fate, because she inadvertently confirmed the existence of these breadcrumb trails and patterns.
What can we take away from all this?
I can’t say with 100 percent certainty whether Shannon stalked and harassed Emily over the past decade. Skepticism is an important consideration here. We aren’t privy to Emily’s evidence like IP addresses, and Shannon may never fully confess or reveal crucial details regarding who did what.
But considering all the circumstantial and direct evidence available to us, there are holes in a lot of what Shannon has presented to the public regarding her history, her values, her relationships, and her content.
As a frequent viewer of Shannon’s, I was genuinely shaken by how similar Shannon’s art and content style is to Emily’s. It casts doubt on all of Shannon’s behavior over the past five years, and her role as someone who negatively impacted other creators’ lives.
I would also encourage anyone who is invested or otherwise interested in this saga to check out Hopeless Peaches’ videos about Shannon’s claims about her.
The bonds we form online, especially with people we consider to be peers, are meaningful. When a degree of trust is established and then completely broken, it can be deeply damaging.
A lot of Shannon’s former friends have had the spotlight swivel to face them, considering that she disappeared and left a lot of anger, shock, disgust, and questioning in her wake. I would encourage anyone who’s invested in this drama to remember where their energy is best spent. Don’t attack Shannon’s friends out of misplaced anger.
The question of accountability in this situation has more to do with Emily than any of us observers. The things Emily has accused Shannon and Anthony of doing are criminal, and it’s up to her to decide whether to take a legal route — I respect her decision either way, especially given the prohibitive time and cost restraints required by our justice system.
As viewers, we may be unsatisfied with Shannon disappearing. But frankly, I think that’s the best course of action. Her role as a moral arbiter online is irrevocably damaged. Not all of Shannon’s opinions were wrong, per say, but she doesn’t deserve a platform to influence others or cause harm to creators anymore.
I also think this can serve as a healthy reminder to remain skeptical. When you spend hours listening to someone, it can feel like you’re getting to know them. But the internet can be a convincing facade. Don’t let your opinions be solely guided by one source. And be careful where you place your trust.