Cancel culture has reached unprecedented heights, and the latest battleground is Twitter's animation fandom community.
The seed of war was planted when popular animator Sr Pelo released his newest video, "Every StoryTime Animation." The video parodies StoryTime Animations (or "STA"), a genre of YouTube cartoons whereby someone tells a personal story alongside animation. Pelo makes fun of almost every major YouTuber in the genre, but it ultimately seems pretty lighthearted.
Every StoryTime Animation www.youtube.com
Pelo's video drew a lot of praise from the YouTube animation community, many of whom dislike the STA genre.
But Arin Hanson (otherwise known as "Egoraptor"), a well-known animator who currently hosts the Game Grumps web-series, had a different opinion.
"This is mean," Tweeted Hanson, expressing his feeling that making fun of other artists isn't in good fun and actually just hurts feelings.
Whether or not Pelo's video was intentionally mean-spirited or actually offended any of the people it parodied, Hanson was basically just saying that similar experiences hurt him in the past. Apparently, this opinion was enough to set off an angry Twitter mob, leading to "Arin" trending in the US with a constant stream of toxicity pushed by mostly cartoon avatars (naturally).
A lot of the anger directed at Hanson revolved around perceived hypocrisy. Hanson started his career by making animated videos on Newgrounds.com, a popular hub for independent animation in the late 2000s. Much of Hanson's early content was also incendiary, and posters dredged up the absolute worst of it.
One video from 8 years ago shows Hanson and his wife laughing about the n-word.
Another comment Hanson made 8 years ago to another animator wasn't particularly nice.
Obviously, Hanson's prior behavior was problematic; nobody is denying that. But people change a lot over the course of a decade, and Hanson has clearly grown as a person. For some reason, these posters think Hanson being an a**hole when he was younger and changing as he got older is throwing shade at his roots.
Arin had defenders too, of course. Many people viewed everyone making fun of a guy over trying to get people not to make fun of others as awful.
On Pelo's end, he didn't even understand why people were attacking Arin over a pretty innocuous opinion in the first place.
So why did a guy basically saying "bullying isn't cool" lead to people dog-piling him? Because as cancel culture, drama hounds, and the animation fandom community in particular have proven time and time again, they have absolutely no barometer for nuance. Everything is black and white to them. They seem incapable of looking at a situation and thinking, "I thought this video was funny, but someone else didn't and that's okay too."
Many of them seem young, so perhaps their venom is just a sign of immaturity. It's a lot easier to view people's personalities as immutable at 15 years old than it is at 30. Maybe they just don't realize that there's nothing hypocritical about someone being different than they were 10 years ago.
But regardless of their reasoning, these people (not Pelo, but rather his fanbase) are absolutely proving Arin Hanson's point. They are mean. They are bullies. And hopefully, one day, they can change.