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HBomberguy vs. James Somerton Plagiarism Scandal refers to YouTuber Hbomberguy's takedown of fellow YouTuber James Somerton in a December 2023 video titled, "Plagiarism and You(Tube)." Somerton, a YouTube essayist who primarily discusses LGBTQ+ representation in popular media, was the primary focus of a nearly four-hour-long video that also criticized YouTubers like Internet Historian and Illuminaughtii for repackaging work created by other writers without providing adequate citations. Somerton shut down his social media handles and Patreon the day after the video was released, however, his YouTube channel is still active with the comments turned off as of December 4th, 2023.
James Somerton is a Canadian YouTuber known for making YouTube video essays about LGBTQ+ themes in popular media. He began posting videos in 2013 but only started to gain significant engagement in 2018 following the popularity of his video "Monsters in the Closet – A History of LGBT Representation in Horror Cinema (Video essay)."
On December 2nd, 2023, YouTuber Hbomberguy posted a video titled, "Plagiarism and You(Tube)." The video used various YouTubers as a case study to discuss plagiarism on the platform, including a section on video essayist Illuminaughti repackaging Brian Deer's anti-vax journalism without giving adequate credit and YouTuber Internet Historian using entire paragraphs from a 2018 Mental Floss article by Lucas Reilly in his script for a video titled "Man In Cave."
Hbomberguy's video was largely focused on James Somerton, citing the YouTuber's extensive history of allegedly misattributing or inadequately citing other queer theorists' work and passing them off as his own thoughts. Somerton was the subject of nearly two hours of the video's four-hour runtime (seen below).
On December 3rd, 2023, James Somerton made a post to his Patreon responding to Hbomberguy's video, calling it a rehash of a disproven plagiarization allegation (seen below, top). The post has since been deleted, but not before several of his patrons replied with their comments (seen below, bottom).
Later on December 3rd, Somerton deleted the aforementioned post and uploaded a new one, this time apologizing for breaking his viewers' trust and assuring them that he will have more to say soon.
The initial response to Hbomberguy's December 2nd, 2023, video focused on the 20-minute segment on Internet Historian's plagiarism, with some Reddit users pointing to other instances in which the creator appears to have paraphrased or plagiarized another writer's work. The subreddits /r/LGBT and /r/HBomberguy hosted threads in the days following the initial video as Redditors discussed James Somerton's alleged plagiarism, gathering over 400 upvotes each in two days.
X user @DrWallkick posted a meme on December 3rd joking about how Hbomberguy's focus on James Somerton may have been a relief to other featured creators. The post gathered over 9,000 likes in a day (seen below, left). Some internet users also defended Internet Historian against Hbomberguy's accusations, as seen in a December 3rd post by X user @DubiousShell that gathered over 2,000 likes in a day (seen below, right).
On December 2nd, 2023, Tumblr user stomachshredder posted a meme about Hbomberguy's takedown of James Somerton, gathering over 9,000 notes in two days (seen below, left). On December 3rd, X user @pseudonymjones posted a meme about how Hbomberguy repeatedly hinted at his own bisexuality to preempt any accusations of homophobia. The post gathered over 39,000 likes in a day (seen below, right).
Internet Historian Plagiarism Accusations
Internet Historian Plagiarism Accusations refers to a December 2023 video uploaded by Hbomberguy that accuses YouTuber Internet Historian of plagiarizing videos, which particularly highlights "Man In Cave" as its main example. The accusations of plagiarism regarding the content creator spread on social media in early December 2023 as people began to speak out against Internet Historian for his content, while others defended him amid the controversy.