Influencer ethics – Making money off a lifestyle you no longer lead

So this post is a little out of pounds from pennies normal subject area but I think it is a really important thing for anyone who is looking at becoming a online influncer promoting their lifestyle and making money from it to be considerate of.

If you gain a following around the lifestyle you are promoting, build a brand around it and make money from it but then change your opinion on the parts of your lifestyle that you have previously made money from promoting then should you still be able to profit off the content you made about the previous lifestyle?

So whats ‘the tea’?

A youtuber Alyse Brautigam who became prominent in the vegan and raw vegan online community with the YouTube channel ‘Raw Alignment’ recently posted a video announcing that she was no longer vegan and has began eating meat again. A lot of people within the vegan and online community have since spoken out on the fact that they believed that she hadn’t been vegan for some time but hadn’t addressed this online as it would have a negative effect on her channel/brand and that she would lose money from this announcement.

The different sides of the argument

Since the initial video Alyse has spoken in an interview and also on Instagram videos addressing some of the statements made by others about her change in lifestyle and stated that she did not initially speak about her change in lifestyle as its something she was going through personally and wanted to process it herself first. She has also said that she will not remove the videos that she has on her channel about her vegan diet and her former views on veganism as she views her videos as a timeline of her personal growth and wants people to be able to view her whole journey. She has also pointed out that although her videos around veganism and her diet have been very popular that it was never her intention to be known purely for her diet and that her channel is about mindfulness and personal growth which she has also done many videos on and tried to move more of her content over to.

Many in the vegan and online community have spoken about if she is no longer living that lifestyle and has different views then why should she have the videos still online making money along with potentially promoting her former lifestyle. You may wonder why people within the vegan community wouldn’t want veganism promoted within those videos if people stumbled across them but if you look into many of the other vegan you tubers who are talking about it and their views of her actual diet you see that many are of the belief that Alyse wasn’t actually following a vegan diet but a very restrictive diet that is actually a unhealthy and negative representation of veganism and the vegan lifestyle

So..

With most internet ‘dramas’ you never know what the next chapter is going to hold. Alyse is continuing to post videos to her channel and work on other projects associated with her brand – it is her full time job after all. A quick look at her social blade stats shows that her subscriber count is dropping and I think it will continue to drop with people opposing her new view on her diet. I don’t doubt that her other content is valuable to many and I think that it will eventually even out but the question still poses – should her old content on veganism still be monetized?

My personal view/What to take away from this situation

There’s no doubt her content took her time and money to create but two years on from some of the videos with the views she received from it she has definitely reaped the benefits financially so I think that now in line with her new outlook on life I think if she wants to keep the videos online then they should be demonetized.

I think that its a difficult situation to be in when you are struggling with how to live your life and have an audience so attached to how you do, there will be a tremendous amount of pressure on how to handle the situation. When you do not have specific experience or training on what to do in situations like that you have to be mindful if you are considering posting aspects of your life online then people may have strong opinions about it which you may not like. To continue to gain money from something you no longer are a part of will lessen some peoples respect of you and can potentially hurt the brand you have created. That being said you should not continue to promote something that you do not believe in for financial gain or fear of other repercussions, the fact Alyse came out and addressed it was brave and a risk but I don’t think Alyse will ever regret sharing her truth as dealing with others reaction to her truth isn’t as bad as living a false life online just to appease others.

Have you been following this situation or seen a similar one happen? In situations like this how do you think the creators should handle it? let me know in the comments!

Also if you enjoyed this post let me know – Would you like to see more discussion on online creators/influencers in regards to how they make money?

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