E! Online editor Seija Rankin wrote a tongue-in-cheek article on Monday about how she wasn’t familiar with many of the presenters and nominees at the Teen Choice Awards. The story, titled “18 Moments from the 2015 Teen Choice Awards That Made Us Feel Super Old,” questioned who everyone was and even spelled some of the popular web stars’ names wrong.
Though intended to be playful, the slight did not escape the notice of the stars themselves or their legions of teen fans on Twitter who are now bashing the article for its “ignorance,” E! Online for publishing it, and calling for Rankin’s dismissal, according to Digiday.
In her story, Rankin wrote that even though she’s relatively young herself, she simply didn’t know who many of these teens were. “Eva Gutowski? Lele Pans [Pons]? Joey Graceffa? Felix Kjellberg? Are those even real people?” Rankin wrote, spelling Vine personality Lele Pons’ name wrong.
But those Vine and YouTube celebrities have over 56 million followers between them. Felix Kjellberg, who goes by the handle PewDiePie on YouTube, has nearly 39 million subscribers alone.
YouTuber Tyler Oakley was one of the first internet celebrities to tweet about the story after it was published, according to Digiday. “If this ‘article’ is representative of [E! Online], I fear for the brand’s future,” he tweeted to his 4.5 million followers.
He was followed by other prominent internet stars like YouTubers Ricky Dillon, Shane Dawson, and Eva Gutowski, among others.
If you’re in media and know nothing about Internet talent, you’re not cute or clever. You’re genuinely irrelevant and terrible at your job.
— @jeremycabo (@jeremycabo () August 17, 2015
Rankin attempted to do damage control by tweeting that her article was meant to be sarcastic. In a statement to BuzzFeed
, E! Online doubled down on its editor’s statement, insisting that the article was intended to be “an irreverent, humorous take on the event.”
E! Online will be holding a Master Class in Sarcasm, and judging by Twitter post-Teen Choice Awards it seems like all of America needs it
— Seija Rankin (@seijawrites) August 17, 2015
But it did little to quell the growing tweet storm. Suddenly, the stars’ millions of combined followers were out in full force.
Apart from feeling insulted on behalf of their idols, readers were also furious about what Rankin wrote about the wardrobe choices on display throughout the event: “There basically wasn’t one single outfit onstage that didn’t make us clutch our pearls,” she wrote, adding that there was “so much skin.”
Angry fans accused her of “slut shaming”:
Many also demanded Rankin’s dismissal. One distressed teen even launched a Change.org petition to get her fired.
E! Online then went on the defensive. The network tweeted out a response that said, “Remember that time we gave a YouTube star their own TV show?” referencing YouTube personality Grace Helbig.
Helbig didn’t seem to like the network’s stance though, writing back, “This is embarrassing, @eonline.”
Remember that time we gave a YouTube star their own TV show?
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