Sask. internet celebrity Alinity targeted online after dispute with YouTube star PewDiePie
WARNING: This story contains language some may find offensive
Natalia Mogollon sounds tired.
The Saskatoon woman, known to hundreds of thousands of online followers as Alinity Divine, has received hundreds of threats and negative comments online over the past month. She's even been accused of marriage fraud.
She wants it to stop.
"Having millions of people attack me, and not only calling me names but threaten my safety, with death threats," she said. "It's been quite hard."
Mogollon's story raises issues of internet bullying, copyright infringement and the safety of women online.
It all started when she got into a dispute with massive YouTube celebrity PewDiePie. It quickly escalated into widespread anger across the internet.
For the past five years, Mogollon has made a living on Twitch, a website where people stream live broadcasts of themselves playing video games.
Earlier this month PewDiePie, a YouTube giant with more than 62 million subscribers, was testing out a device called the Tobii Eye Tracker, which maps the precise location what people are looking at online.
He's the biggest YouTuber in the entire world. And he's got a lot of power.- Natalia Mogollon
He used the device while watching a video of female Twitch users, including Mogollon, and began trying not to focus on the users' breasts. At one point in the video, he referred to the women as "stupid Twitch THOTS," a derogatory term that's an acronym of "that ho [whore] over there."
Mogollon was streaming on her own Twitch channel when she saw it. She got angry, jumped out of her chair and yelled to someone offscreen, "Yo, can we copy strike PewDiePie's latest video?"
That's when things got bad.
In the YouTube community, copy striking is a dirty word.
A copyright strike is an official complaint against a YouTube creator for illegally using another person's video content without permission. Users that are found guilty can get their channel taken down or lose money generated by the video.
Someone did file a copy strike complaint against the PewDiePie video. Mogollon went online and talked about a company she works with called Collab DRM, that issues copy strikes for users across the internet, and claimed she had made money off the service.
Showing your underwear on stream, that's our fault. Bending over with your butt on camera, that's our fault, right?- PewDiePie , aka Felix Kjellberg
PewDiePie, also known as Felix Kjellberg, was furious.
"Alinity, the most likeable genius of all time, of course admits publicly to abusing copyright law, and basically to an illegal act," said PewDiePie in one of his videos.
Mogollon reponded with her own video, saying Collab was responsible for the copy strike action against PewDiePie and that she had no idea it was filed. She said she was joking when she made the copy strike comments.
But by then, it was too late.
Mogollon is now dealing with an intense amount of backlash in the online community. She said she feels like she's been unfairly singled out.
She has received doxxing threats. Doxxing is a form of online harassment where the victim's personal information — addresses, phone numbers — are posted publicly online.
She said she has already called Saskatoon Police to warn them about the possibility of a "swatting" attempt. Swatting is another online harrassment tactic that involves calling police and making a false report with the aim of causing a large, armed police response.
"I'm scared," Mogollon said. "I got a full home alarm system and I'm building a fence."
She said her gender is the biggest factor in the situation.
"People think it's okay to call us whores or thots or titty streamers or boobie streamers," she said. "I've gotten used to viewers calling me that, but when it is other content creators, it's very offensive."
I'm kind of waiting for somebody else to screw up, or somebody else to piss him off. And he can go after them instead.- Natalia Mogollon
The harassment has started leaching into the real world. She recently had to cancel a trip to Las Vegas, where she planned to livestream in public, because she was afraid someone would jump on camera unwanted and do something that would get her removed from Twitch, such as yelling offensive language or showing nudity.
As for PewDiePie, he apologized in a later video for his earlier use of the term thot, but talked about Mogollon being overtly sexual in her streams.
"I know you're not that dumb to not know what you're doing," he said. "Showing your underwear on stream, that's our fault. Bending over with your butt on camera, that's our fault, right?"
PewDiePie stated in a video that he doesn't condone anyone harassing anyone on his behalf. However, Mogollon said there's an unfair power dynamic at play.
"He's the biggest YouTuber in the entire world," she said. "And he's got a lot of power."
Ultimately, Mogollon hopes the whole thing will just go away.
"I'm kind of waiting for somebody else to screw up, or somebody else to piss him off," she said. "And he can go after them instead."
PewDiePie did not respond to an interview request. Streaming service Twitch said it did not comment on its users.