Neglect. Exploitation. Narcissism. These are just a few of the things vloggers Anna Saccone and Jonathan Joly have been accused of recently thanks, in part, to a Guardian article about the pair.
Since they began daily vlogging over five years ago, they’ve been subjected to a hefty amount of trolling with tweets, YouTube comments and even petitions calling out their supposed lack of parenting skills. So when The Guardian wrote a piece on whether it’s safe to turn your children into YouTube stars, the content of the piece and the comments were flooded with negativity towards the family and daily vlogging as a whole.
The article also prompted intelligent debate- we’ve interviewed both Jonathan and Anna themselves on filming their babies- and it’s a topic we’ll see grow as more family vloggers break through into the mainstream. In the Guardian piece, Jonathan spoke about how he has his family’s best interest at heart: “My filming isn’t directional, it’s observational … I don’t make [the children] do anything.” he told the Guardian. The Guardian also represented the views of a child psychologist.
So far, so even? Perhaps not. The journalist in question apparently did part of her research on a well known gossip forum, specifically looking for evidence of wrong doing by the Irish family. As a result, the Saccone Jolys have faced strong allegations of everything from faking a poison pen note threatening to “rape Emilia” and repeatedly neglecting and mistreating their children to the point they’d faced serious danger.
So should Anna, Jonathan and their management (Gleam Futures) respond? Or should they continue to keep silent? We argue both sides…
Here’s why they should respond to the allegations
1. The allegations are pretty hefty; accusing Jonathan and Anna of not caring their children’s images are being used on sites frequented by paedophiles to faking a poison pen letter which threatens to rape and gouge out the eyes of their daughter and feed their son’s penis to their dog. As parents- let alone the fact they’re in the public eye- they should be so outraged that they’re eager to set the record straight. Sure, crisis management is needed but not a single person would surely criticise them for objecting to some of the worst things a parent could be accused of?
2. It would be a stand against trolling. We’re told to not feed the trolls and ignore them but we thoroughly believe there’s a case for setting the record straight. With over 1 million subscribers, the negative press articles and comments are no doubt drowned amongst a see of positive and neutral discussion but there’s still no mistake that it exists. Whilst the gossip site in question needs no further publicity, now could be a chance for Jonathan and Anna to make a stand against trolling. We’ll be discussing why it’s important to respond to trolls in the near future.
3. It looks weird that they haven’t. Let’s be real, with all celebrities- online or mainstream- they’ll more than likely address scandal in some way. To ignore the Guardian article and the comments surrounding it only means that people will continue to question, fuel rumour and spread theories about the couple and their parenting ability.
Here’s why they should continue not to respond
1. Dignity. There’s no doubt that Jonathan and Anna’s team will dealing with this and if their strategy includes not responding and staying silent then surely it’s well thought out? Eduardo and Emilia will grow up with allegations and cruel comments about themselves and their parents so by not putting out any sort of comment on the Guardian article, Jonathan and Anna are setting the tone for how their children should deal with any potential issues they’ll have in future.
2. Even if there is an issue going on behind closed doors, it won’t be played out online nor will the finer points of it becoming from Guru Gossiper. Whatever your opinion of the family, they’re real humans with real lives and it’s incredibly easy to forget that when you’re watching a series of social media updates or a daily highly edited video. The desire for privacy still stands.
3. They don’t have to. Simple as that. As their success grows, more and more articles will be published about the pair and to respond to everyone – no matter the extent of their accusations – could become a full time job. If the pair want to reach household name status, walk the red carpet at events and have an international career then malicious comments and articles will be part of the game, however sad that is.
So, what do you think? Should Jonathan, Anna and Gleam address the Guardian article and the rumours circulated by – mainly – Guru Gossip? Or should they continue to stay silent, despite the fact that allegations are pretty extreme? Tweet us your views at @WeTheUnicorns.