Have you wondered why every YouTube Apology is the same? I did.  They’re all filmed in an intimate, unpolished setting to evoke raw emotions with the goal to directly appeal to your own emotions.

Most YouTube apologies aren’t genuine acts of repentance; they’re clever PR maneuvers aimed at appeasing sponsors and retaining viewers. Which is their money source of course.

All these apologies and responses are part of a well-calculated plan, From the lack of editing to the one-on-one conversational tone and the exaggerated display of remorse.

But why would a YouTuber resort to such a public and clichéd display?

What is the real motivation behind these YouTube apology videos?

Let’s break it down: YouTube creators aren’t just casual content makers; they run

businesses and have careers at stake. When they mess up, they need to engage in

damage control. That’s where Public Relations (PR) comes in.

Now YouTuber PR has four objectives:

  1. They must portray themselves as genuinely empathetic and compassionate.
  2. To generate a positive reaction from their current audience
  3. While attracting positive subscriptions in the process, and
  4. Fixing your mistakes in a heartfelt manner.

And let me just say before we get any further, people are complex beings, and we understand that making mistakes is natural. However not all of these are mistakes, some of these actions from these content creators are completely abhorrent.

Therefore going forward there will be sensitive topics coming up, which some people may find disturbing, viewers discretion is advised.

When apology videos surface, most creators tend to follow the same PR playbook, leading to the apologies ending up looking the same. But that doesn’t mean everyone who follows the same PR routine is a villain.

Because for most YouTubers they need to make money, which means keeping Daddy Capital happy.  Creators are essentially brands, and their brand image must be advertiser and sponsor-friendly. 

Therefore whenever something controversial happens either through their own actions or accusations from another, YouTubers need to create a  well-crafted apology to shorten the negative news cycle and a chance to regain control of their narrative.

If done effectively, apologies reassure their followers that they are not as “bad and problematic” as portrayed. However The true test lies in observing whether they genuinely change their behavior over time. Because a sorry doesn’t fix things overnight.

Audience retention is crucial. Ad revenue and sponsorships are directly tied to watch time, which is linked to views, which, in turn, somewhat affects subscriber count. From a money earning standpoint, this is how you keep a resource like loyal viewers from slipping away.

However, all this might still seem quite abstract. To truly grasp the nuances of YouTube apologies, it’s beneficial to delve into specific examples…

YouTube apologies The Good The Bad and The Ugly

The standard YouTube apology is straightforward, involving five key steps:

  1. They explain the context of the apology
  2. Then they admit guilt or if accused incorrectly they prove why
  3. While appealing to the loyalty of their fanbase
  4. All while asking for forgiveness if they are guilty and to create a redemption arc. 
  5. And if they’re not guilty they make sure the facts are straight.

However, achieving redemption or proving that you’re not guilty is no easy feat. So the best you can usually manage is to follow these steps, minimize harm, and patiently wait for the bad news cycle to pass. Because not everyone will accept an apology.

Or you can say “to hell with that” and speedrun digging your own grave.

Starting off with Logan Freaking Paul

A glaring example of this is Logan Paul, who, in December 2017, visited Aokigahara, a notorious suicide forest in Japan, and during the video he was filming, he came across the body of someone who recently committed suicide. He had footage – with only the face blurred out – in the video and he and his friends were making jokes and laughing.

Obviously, this is awful.  Paul’s initial apology on Twitter only underscored his lack of genuine remorse, attributing his behavior to the pressure of making a 15 minute TV show EVERY SINGLE DAY for the past 460+ days.

This self-serving excuse showed a clear reluctance to accept responsibility. And for a content creator that said in his apology  “My goal with my content is always to entertain” though showing something like that was entertaining is baffling.

There is nothing about that which could be classed as entertainment in any way. This duel apology is the perfect example of the standard formula we spoke about, but without any of the PR objectives in place.

His failure to promptly admit guilt and the excessive focus on his achievements and ego painted a picture of a creator unwilling to learn from his mistakes. That part is really important, because if a YouTuber doesn’t actually learn from their mistakes, they’ll inevitably end up doing some version of the same thing later.

And sure enough, fast forward to 2023, Logan Paul’s only compounded his mistake since then, with his recent entanglement in the CryptoZoo NFT project. Where he marketed it as “a really fun game that makes you money.”

Of course, the people who bought in lost money because NFTs are a straight-up scam. He promised to refund folks after being called out by CoffeeZilla. He still hasn’t. So it shows he really hasn’t changed in the last five years.


Ethical and Technical Mistakes Cause a Break for Linus Tech Tips

Now we’re going to move onto the most recent apology from Linus Tech Tips, one of the biggest tech channels on YouTube. Please be aware this is an on-going situation so we’re going to cover what we know so far.

Linus Tech Tips (LTT) has recently come under scrutiny over a compounding set of issues that have been raised by Gamer Nexus, we’ll put the whole video in the description.

At its core what’s happened is that the churn of content has been to its detriment. LTT has prioritized quantity over quality and in doing so has resulted in delivering bad or misinformed data on the hardware they’ve been testing.

This in turn has created ethical concerns on how they test their products such as their review of billet lab’s $800 solid copper cooler which was tested on the wrong type of GPU and their Pwnage Stormbreaker mouse where they left the plastic on the feet.

But just like Logan Paul, big ego and poor judgment obstructed a heartfelt apology as Linus went onto the field to bat for himself, taking to the forums and laying it all out, saying there won’t be a big apology video about this.

This goes against everything to do with PR Basics and HR management as Linus has over 100 employees and should have collectively discussed what to do next. Which they did 3 days after the post.

Now this video in my eyes is one of the better apology videos, the whole team and new CEO came in to discuss the areas they work in, where they made faults and what they’re going to do for the future which is to take time off making content.

However due to Linus’s original response just like Logan Paul’s tweets, damage has been done and the decent apology video’s impact has been diminished. This was a big mistake to make costing LTT  -200,000 YouTube Subscribers, that’s a lot of damage.

Not only that their floatplane subscriptions which is another platform for content creators has been reduced down by 6K and they’re now sitting just under 36K, that’s a loss $30K/mo or $360K/yr from their original number before the apology video.

 If Linus needed to say anything on the forums it should have been short and sweet, “We’ve listened to your issues with our content, we will cover this all in a video on Thursday”.

Now How About A Ukelele Song? 

Then there are instances where an apology proves insufficient, where actions are so heinous that they leave no room for second chances. Enter Colleen Ballinger, known for her character “Miranda Sings,” who faced serious allegations of inappropriate communication with minors. (It’s worth mentioning that she’s 36.).

The evidence of these unsettling interactions was overwhelming, making it an inexcusable offense beyond the redemption that any YouTube apology could offer. It’s not something you can shrug off with even the best YouTube apology. But she still tried.

Ballinger’s response was a tone-deaf ukulele song, blaming the fallout on a so-called “toxic gossip train,” while neglecting to take any responsibility for her actions or provide the necessary context.

This lack of accountability only fueled the already raging backlash, causing everyone to talk about it making the apology video to spiral out of control. In this case, doing nothing at all might have been a better choice than attempting an apology that only added fuel to the fire.

Yeah, I…I mean, what is there to say that hasn’t been said in a million video essays by now?

As we examine these examples, it becomes apparent that these actions are indeed unforgivable, and even the most masterfully crafted YouTube apology could not undo the damage done. 

As for Linus, only time will tell as more things could still come out that increase the damage already done, so they’re going to prioritize damage control, remove Linus from the forums and create a genuine redemption arc and healthy working environment for anything to improve.

So how about we move on from two guys one ukulele and talk about the culture of giving creators a chance to explain themselves? As viewers who care a lot about the content creators we follow, the last thing we want to hear is controversy.

As the allure of pouncing on entitled and clueless peoples makes those videos go viral, overshadowing the genuinely good ones that have merits of forgiveness and they explain exactly what happened and clear up the facts. 

YouTube apologies done well

Well-crafted apologies hold immense significance.. In fact, good YouTube apologies are really hard to find precisely because they don’t go much of anywhere. But they’re still important to do!

Remember – if you put out an apology video and it just reaches your subscribers and a handful of others, you’re still reassuring people that it’s OK to watch your content. And that’s important. A good apology is a good way to set things straight and do what’s morally right, while also signaling to brands that it’s OK to advertise again.

So we’re going to start with Jenna Marbles. If you’re of a certain age, you know who she is. A once-massive presence on YouTube 3 years ago. She’s made one response video and one apology video. We’re going to start the response video first.

This response video was created due to the reactions of Jenna Marble purchasing a fish and tank setup. Unknowingly to a novice fish owner they didn’t realize the salesperson had no idea what they were selling and thought they were ethical.

As a result Jenna was sold barbs fish and an 8 gallon bowl, which fish experts will tell you, that environment is entirely unfit for them. Due to this Jenna took down the original video and delivered a 47 minute response.

In this response she explained  the context with sincerity as she had no intention of hurting the fish. She showed genuine empathy and compassion towards the people who called her out and wanted to turn this terrible thing into a positive learning experience.

She admits the guilt of going into buy fish blindly and was expected to be taught what to get and even though the videos can be spontaneous, her heart is in it to look after these pets like she did with her Hamster.

Now onto the second more problematic apology which has to do with her old content not aging well. In her apology she addresses three videos. The first was when she used blackface to impersonate rapper Nicki Minaj, the second had racially offensive lyrics in and her final video features her going on a rant that she called “slut-shamey.

This is pretty bad stuff, and not something you can brush aside, but Jenna Marbles did it again just like her fish response, especially in a way that satisfies the media which is normally impossible.

Yet her apology video received praise, even from media outlets like Vulture, because of its simplicity and authenticity. Jenna appeared genuinely apologetic in terms of body language, openly admitted her wrongdoing, and kept the video lo-fi without excessive production.

What set her apology apart was her willingness to cancel herself, taking direct action to hold herself accountable. And that’s why it really worked, this display of personal responsibility resonated with viewers, giving her apology real weight and impact.

Of course, whether an apology is enough to redeem someone is a subjective question, dependent on individual moral compasses. Not every mistake demands permanent exile from the content game.

But what it does mean is that the surest way to show that your apology is real is to actually be accountable. That could mean pivoting into a new style of content. It could mean bringing on someone to help keep you in check. It could mean donating to or volunteering for charity. 

And most importantly, it means sticking the landing. Keeping your promises for months or years. Showing that you’ve genuinely changed and grown as a person.

But, of course, living up to this ideal is hard. Most won’t.

YouTube apologies often revolve around saving face and follow a standardized pattern, especially when advertisers or large audiences are involved. However, executing this formula with genuine sincerity can be a challenge, as big egos and poor judgment can obstruct a heartfelt apology. 

Many apologies lack contextual explanations or genuine remorse, making them appear insincere and meaningless. It’s easy to play it safe and follow the rules without truly meaning it, as advertisers may eventually return as long as major blunders are avoided.

Nevertheless, there is still space on YouTube for authenticity, humility, and true contrition. Viewers are perceptive and can differentiate between sincerity and insincerity. Embracing genuineness is crucial, as insincerity risks diluting the channel’s original magic, even if advertisers return. Without genuine remorse, it can lead to a slow decline, akin to a half-dead mall trying to stay afloat.

For any YouTube content creator needing to apologize, doing it right is paramount. Telling the truth, providing context without defensiveness, acknowledging available information, and focusing on those who were wronged are essential components of a meaningful apology.

Ultimately, a heartfelt and sincere apology can make all the difference. It is an opportunity to rectify mistakes, earn back trust, and demonstrate moral responsibility. So, if you find yourself in need of an apology on YouTube, do it with utmost sincerity and authenticity. A genuine apology is not only the right thing to do but also a chance to preserve the magic that makes your channel special.