Eugenia Cooney, a 22-year-old New York vlogger with an online following of nearly 1 million people, is currently at the center of a very heated controversy. More than 9,000 people have signed a petition to take her offline, saying that she promotes anorexia to young teens due to her extremely thin physique. They also insist that she seek medical help.
“Eugenia Cooney has a serious medical condition and needs to seek help,” the petition starts. “She has been influencing her viewers by her serious underweight condition. She has not been getting better since the day she started YouTube, she’s getting more and more sick each day.”
It continued, “And it’s honestly like she does this bodily harm to herself and shows young girls, such as her viewers on social media that it is “okay”, to be suffering from a medical condition such as Anorexia-Nervosa. It is physically & medically to be that skinny without denying treatment such as she does. She has not got any treatment. And is triggering her fan base.”
It then goes on to claim that through her scarily thin physique Cooney is influencing her viewers (though the writer clarifies that she “may not be” doing it “intentionally”) by showing “more than 50% of her body in her videos and pictures,” and thus is “not helping girls with Anorexia or any eating disorder.”
According to the petition write-up, Cooney’s YouTube and YouNow audience ranges in age from 12-21, and research states that people ages 13-19 are the most vulnerable to eating disorders. One supporter claimed that their cousin starved herself to look more like the vlogger after watching her videos.
“My little cousin lost 17lbs because she wanted to look like Eugenia. She is now receiving care. She is only 12-years-old,” they wrote.
Cooney joined YouTube in 2013 and has since amassed 893,481 fans, each of which she receives financial contributions from. She also has very popular social media accounts, with 432,000 Instagram followers and 115,000 fans on Twitter. As for her videos, content ranges from hair and makeup tutorials, to wardrobe advice. Since the petition started circulating, Cooney revealed how hurt she was on Twitter.
“I’ve never tried to do that,” she wrote, referring to claims that she promotes eating disorders in her fans. “Just so you guys know, if you don’t like me that’s totally fine and I’m not trying to force anyone to watch. I just don’t really think it’s right to try to get people banned off of YouTube unless they’ve done something really bad. I’m really sorry to the people who want me banned off of YouTube, I’m really not trying to do anything wrong.”
However, Cooney’s images have popped up on “thinspo” accounts (though it was presumably without her consent) and has been associated with the hashtag #Bonespo because of it. What do you think about the petition? Should she be banned or is this ridiculous? Sound off in the comments below.