Hi! I just wanted to say that I’m really happy about all of the discussion going around youtube, tumblr, twitter, and other sites about sexual violence and how to prevent it and how to stand with the victims of these heinous crimes.
I don’t want to take any of the attention away from any of the other people who have come forward with their experiences, but I would just like to add one more name to the ever growing list of disgusting youtubers who used their fame to manipulate young people. The youtuber I would like to talk about is Neil Johnson, or more commonly known as banananeil on youtube as well as Love and Confessions and Life of Neil on youtube and love-and-confessions and banananeil on tumblr.
I started talking to Neil at my first Vidcon in 2011, because he and I had mutual friends. At this time I was 13 and going through this phase where I only hung out with people older than me because I thought the kids my age were below me intellectually. Pretty stupid, I know. I immediately took a liking toward Neil because he treated me equally and let me use his super nice camera and I thought he was cute and quirky and funny and ya know all the other reasons you would like a white boy on youtube. Nothing happened between us at Vidcon, and I guess I should preface this by saying nothing ever physically happened between us ever. Well anyway, after Vidcon I went home and watched all of his videos. I think I might have watched them all twice or three times because I was really into this boy. We met as friends, but I had already put him up on this unattainable pedestal. I don’t remember what we talked about in that first year of being friends, because I don’t have any of those early conversations (I had a different computer at the time), but I remember him saying I looked like I was 18 or 19, and honestly that’s how he treated me.
Now let me say this, I was a pretty shitty, jealous, 13 and 14 year old and I was pursuing Neil in full knowledge that he had a girlfriend because I thought for some reason this 20 year old would leave his adult girlfriend for a 13 year old. Yeah, I was pretty delusional. But the delusion was very realistic because the thing Neil was AMAZING at was making you feel like the only girl in the world that mattered. What he never told you was that he thought two or three other girls were just as phenomenal as you are. So while he was flirting with me he was in the midst of a long term relationship and cheating on that relationship with another underaged girl as well as doing who knows what with who knows how many other girls.
Another thing is I think Neil always wanted to sext me. I was very flirty as a 13 and 14 year old, but I didn’t really know what that meant at all. I hadn’t kissed anyone and I hadn’t understood what couples were meant to do (because I had been in one really shitty fake middle school relationship and it was dumb so I didn’t really understand the point), so I was calling him pet names and giggling to myself about it, just, whatever, thinking it was cute. I was very innocent and I thought I understood more about the world than I really did. I don’t have this conversation anymore, but I remember the one time he made me feel uncomfortable was when he tried to get me to talk about touching myself, and masturbation. My parents hadn’t talked to me about sex yet and I hadn’t been in a sex-ed class ever and so the first time I was being introduced to my body was by this older man on the internet, sexualizing it, and that has negatively effected me up until today (and honestly I still have trouble thinking of myself as anything other than a sex vessel).
And I don’t have proof of this, but remember this very well, he called me on skype when he was in his underwear and was being very sexual and flirty with me as he was packing for a trip to see his girlfriend I believe. And the first time he ever sexted me was when I was no older than 14 and it was a shirtless picture of him in his underwear flexing. I wish I still had the picture, but it’s long gone since it was on an old phone.
The last interaction I had with him was last year, and this is stuff I have screenshots of. I was a little more conscientious at the time, but still didn’t realize there was anything weird or wrong with the conversations I had been having with Neil until this one and the last time I talked to him on snapchat. Usually I had instigated the conversations, but in this last one he started it. It started pretty normally, just talking about life and school (I literally said “just started sophomore year of high school”) and then we started talking about how we had missed each other and hadn’t seen each other in a while and then I said something about not even being 16 yet and that’s when it got sexual by neil saying “lol just turn 18 already”. And it escalated from there. He would say increasingly sexual things and then edit them seconds later by erasing all of the text and writing something like *cough* and I allowed him to engage in this, which I know I shouldn’t have because I KNEW he had a girlfriend and at a certain point I actively realized this and started talking about his girlfriend and how much I liked her and he would still go back to trying to talk dirty to me.
I don’t really have some overarching point about this except that Neil Johnson is pretty disgusting. He manipulated and lied to several girls, leading us all to believe he broke up with one girl and was totally devoted to another all whilst leading me on. At the time I was underaged, and I currently still am. And all this time I never said anything because I didn’t want to hurt his current girlfriend, but this has been bothering me for a while now and I don’t want to be silent about it anymore.
Here are some choice screenshots!
Neil was one of my roommates for the year of 2011 in Seattle, and there were plenty of issues between us. Although I was unaware of any illegal behavior at the time, safe to say that there were numerous instances of terrible, often sexually-related mistreatment of women around me, as well as myself. As of right now, I do not feel comfortable divulging more detail. This is someone who I lived with, who was in my circle of friends, dated people I consider friends, etc. It’s very close to home, and I hope you respect this. But I want to spread this because it’s not okay. This behavior is reprehensible.