VFX has gone too far

UPDATE: DPRJones and VFX have come to some sort of agreement. The details are here. Hopefully this will be the best scenario for VFX to end his destructive behaviour and each of them can move on with their lives. I certainly hope he can come to realize that although some people disagree with his worldview, that does not make them vicious monsters and he will stop spreading the message of hate. But I don’t necessarily support VFX’s request for people to remove videos about him so he can “move on”. It’s part of not repeating the mistakes of the past (as he indicated was his goal). Consequences: he haz them – his behaviour affected more people than just DPRJones. Being a new person and moving on involves accepting, not forgetting, past behaviour and giving people a opportunity to recognize new commendable behaviour. And being forgiven involves change and, if appropriate, consequences for bad behaviour.

See this video for another update from VFX and his dad.

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Over the past week or so, some shit hit the fan on YouTube. The user VenomfangX, famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) for his videos supporting creationism and against atheism, has yet again filed false DMCA notices against several of his critics. He did this before against another YouTube user, Thunderf00t (of the Why People Laugh at Creationists series, among other things), who forced VFX to issue an apology and read a statement outlining his new understanding of DMCA law.

For a complete history of VFX’s shameful behaviour (not just the DMCA, but his other morally questionable actions) please see this detailed post by Skepacabra. I’ve also written before about his past behaviour, in which I expressed some pity for him – it’s getting much harder to feel that.

It appears VFX did not learn his lesson. Not only has he recently filed false DMCAs against several YouTube users, he has done it under the same false rationale as before: the protection of his family against alleged threats. DMCA is a copyright law and has nothing to do with personal safety or threats. This indicates that either he has learned nothing or that he has complete disregard for the law. It also indicates that his apparent persecution complex regarding atheists is continuing unabated.

The cherry on top is this: Before shutting down his YouTube account (again), he featured a video accusing YouTube user DPRJones of “pedophelia [sic]” with information on how this crime could be reported. Yes, pedophilia is a serious crime (and a DSM mental illness). Another serious crime is slander. Another serious crime is using the legal system incorrectly to silence critics. Another serious crime is collecting money under false pretenses: promising to donate a portion to charity and then keeping it all. Finally, tying up the resources of child-protection organizations with poorly-researched (apparently) accusations that do not have sufficient proof for investigation, and that are based on false information, is despicable.

More to the point of my bringing this up at all, I want to address his comments that accuse his critics of being inhuman monsters who want to see him and his family harmed obviously, since they value their precious videos above his safety. I want to address his constant stream of dehumanizing bullshit that atheists have no morals and out to harm him.

YouTubers, and some are among the links in Skepacabra’s summary, have already pointed out (I strongly recommend watching all 3 parts of this video) that his own videos attract attention to him and that is his own responsibility, so I won’t repeat those points here. His removal from YouTube is to avoid legal action, not because his critics are silencing him (his critics were fine to simply issue video responses until VFX broke the law himself).

But I want to point out that often the first step towards violence against a particular group, is dehumanizing them and making them into monsters so that it not only becomes ok to do harm to those people, but it becomes (in their minds) morally necessary to rid the world of such people. It is irresponsible to portray atheists as monsters. Atheists who have friends and family who love them. Atheists who care a great deal about other people. Atheists who organized charity fundraising for SickKids and other charities after VFX refused to donate the money he collected (blaming atheists for that, by the way- ??)…

I’m not saying every atheist is a peach without a single fault – it is true of most if not all groups that some members do wrong. But it is dangerous to paint an entire group of people as amoral monsters. It invites prejudice and hatred and, potentially, violence.

So if VFX is scared of violence because of nasty YouTube comments generated by the very videos that he makes himself, how do some atheists feel day to day when in some states in the US an atheist can’t legally hold political positions (and certainly in practical terms, though legally allowed, can’t win due to anti-atheist sentiments)? How do some atheists feel when their entire personality and humanity is reduced to what they don’t believe in? How do some atheists feel when people threaten them with hell? – though many laugh because they don’t believe in hell, it speaks chillingly to the quality of a person’s character who would see law-abiding, generous, loving atheists burn in eternity and be ok with that. It does not feel good to realize that the world has many people like this.

Honestly, I hope he is sued this time. I hope he experiences real life consequences to his actions. Although he is an internet personality, his behaviours affect real people. DPRJones has been accused of pedophilia. SickKids lost donation money (that was subsequently made up for, and then some, by fundraising from other YouTubers). Legal time has been wasted on his false DMCA claims. Atheists suffer continuing prejudice. And yet he still gets away with his law breaking, self-martyrdom, and moral hypocrisy.

How long is this going to go on?

UPDATE: Today I found a 4 part video that details the issues surrounding VenomFangX’s activities. It seems to be a relatively fair assessment of his actions with minimal rhetoric. Clips in the video provide some examples of the dehumanizing language he has used about people who don’t share his beliefs. Many of the clips have VFX saying things about atheists like: they have no love, they are monsters, they want to hurt people, etc. This hateful, bigoted language does no one any good.

I hope he is sufficiently punished for any legal wrongdoing he may have committed, learns his lesson, and moves on with his life without spreading more hatred towards an entire group of people. I hope he learns to connect with his family and other people. I hope he learns that dislike of his behaviour does not equate with the dislike or persecution of Christians and that criticizing his views pales in comparison to reducing an entire group of people to “monsters”. I hope he comes to understand that accusations of pedophilia (or other unsubstantiated crimes) can ruin lives, destroy reputations, and break up families.

Also, I feel that the speculation that he is a sociopath or a narcissist (in the clinical sense) is irresponsible. If any YouTubers are reading this, there is a difference between picking up on narcissistic or potentially sociopathic behaviour and saying you truly believe he has a clinically-diagnosable personality disorder. If you are not a licensed professional, you really have no business diagnosing him. Even if you were, if you haven’t met him directly to assess him in a professional capacity, you do not have sufficient information to make a diagnosis. Let the professionals make those observations.

6 responses to “VFX has gone too far

  1. Northernskeptic

    VFX has been like the Glenn Beck of YouTube. I doubt he will change ever. he is just as much making a bad name for the theists as people like Brett Keane did for atheists.

  2. dprjones channel is back. The 4 videos of mine which were DMCA’d by VenomFangX have been restored.

    DJ

  3. The views of VFX’s father:

    • Yes, I’ve seen that video. Thank you. And while I do have sympathy for their situation, I still feel that at some point he’s going to have to start taking responsibility for his actions. I don’t think his being potentially brainwashed by Kent Hovind’s religious beliefs has anything to do with his breaking the law, though it almost certainly has a lot to do with his bigotry towards atheists.

  4. I… can sort of see how the little idiot might be considered brainwashed, but can’t the little idiot take responsibility for his actions? No?

    Then don’t treat him as an adult.