The DFTBA Sexual Abuse Scandal

The DFTBA Sexual Abuse Scandal

Part of a series on Vlogbrothers. [View Related Entries]

Updated Mar 18, 2014 at 11:34PM EDT by Brad.

Added Mar 17, 2014 at 11:15AM EDT by Molly Horan.

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Overview

The DFTBA Sexual Abuse Scandal refer to a series of accusations of sexual misconducts made against several musicians who were or are signed to the Don’t Forget To Be Awesome (DFTBA) Records, a digital music label launched by the Vlogbrothers for a group of independent recording artists on YouTube. Since the outbreak of the allegations, which emerged between November 2008 and March 2014, all three musicians involved in the scandal have had their music and merchandise removed from the official DFTBA website.[2]

Background

DFTBA Records, which is named after the initialism of one of the Vlogbrothers’ catchphrases “Don’t Forget To Be Awesome,” was founded by Hank Green and musician Alan Lastufka[3] in November 2008.

Lombardo’s Arrest

On February 12th, 2012, The Smoking Gun[4] reported F.B.I agents has seized Mike Lombardo’s computers after several teenagers came forward saying they had exchanged sexually explicit photos with the DFTBA-signed artist. In July 2012, Lombardo was arrested on charges of soliciting explicit photos from minors[1] and subsequently sentenced to five years in federal prison on the charge of possessing child pornography[5] on February 28th, 2014. Shortly after news of the FBI investigation on Lombardo broke, Hank Green issued a statement on behalf of himself, his brother John, and DFTBA records on his Tumblr blog[11] on February 18th, 2012, explaining he had taken down Lombardo’s page from the label’s official website.

Notable Developments

Allegations Against Tom Milsom

On March 11th, 2014, Tumblr user Olga[6][7] wrote a blog post in which she accused YouTube musician Tom Milsom of emotionally abusing and manipulating her during the course of their relationship. On March 13th, Olga posted another update with more details about her accusations, including their age difference at the time they had first met. The relationship began when she was 15 years old and he was 21.

Allegations Against Alex Day

On March 12th, an anonymous Tumblr blog post accused yet another DFTBA artist Alex Day of pressuring her into a sexual relationship with him.[8] In the following days, additional allegations of misconduct were made against Day by both anonymous and self-claimed victims.[9][10] That same day, Day addressed the allegations on his Tumblr blog in a post titled “On Mistakes.”[19] In it he states:

“Until yesterday, I thought that I had had only appropriate, though occasionally manipulative relationships with women. However, the model of consent that I followed, not that I specifically thought about it at the time – was that only “no” meant “no.” That is not what consent is.The result of that belief that ‘only no means no’, is that I spent a long part of my life doing shitty things to good people and barely ever realising or acknowledging that I was doing the shitty things.”


Hank Green’s Response

Green addressed the allegations against Milsom in a post on his Tumblr[13] in which he explained he was sad and angry over the revelation Milsom had had a relationship with a minor. Green posted a response to the allegations regarding Milsom and Day on March 14th, 2014.[12] In his post titled “WTF Is Going On” he explains:

“This probably goes without saying but I am both furious and saddened that people in my community would have these manipulative, unhealthy, and even abusive relationships. I do not know all of the details of these relationships, nor do I believe it is my place to know, but I have no doubt that Alex and Tom took advantage of people and I am so tired of being angry that now I’m just sad.”


The same day he uploaded a video to the Vlogbrothers[14] channel titled “Sexual Abuse, Consent, and Culture” which explored those issues. As of March 17th, the video has gained more than 310,000 views.



News Media Coverage

On March 14th, 2014, New Media Rockstars[15] published a post titled “Alex Day Now Involved In ‘Sexual Misconduct’ Allegations, Asked To Be Pulled From DFTBA Records As Well” which covered the allegations against Day and his response. That same day, New York University’s student publication NYU Local[16] detailed a brief history of sexual charges and allegations made against the DFTBA artists in a post titled “Sexual Abuse Allegations Rock YouTube Community,” while The Daily Dot[17][18] reported on the troubling implications of YouTube artist-an interactions in the light of the DFTBA scandal.

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