Zoe Sugg and Alfie Deyes apologise after backlash to joke which 'trivialised domestic violence'
20 December 2019, 14:24
"There was absolutely no intention of trivialising a serious issue, we were just being silly."
YouTubers Zoe Sugg and Alfie Deyes have removed a video from Alfie's channel and apologised after being called out by fans over an insensitive 'joke' which appeared to make light of domestic violence.
Following a week of festive vlogmas videos from their recent trip to New York, Zoe and Alfie sat down to film a couple's Q&A. One short clip from that video, which saw Zoe shout "help!" after Alfie grabbed her leg, was soon called out on Twitter.
While some fans have defended Zoe's joke and dismissed it as 'people being too sensitive', a lot of people have understandably criticised them for making light of, and casually joking about, something as serious as domestic violence.
In the clip, Alfie grabs Zoe's leg as she says "ow" before shouting "help!" Alfie then responds: "That's not even funny, the neighbours are gonna think something weird is going on." Zoe then continues to shout "help" while laughing as Alfie says "that's legit not funny."
"Guys, that's one of my favourite games to play with Alfie when the bedroom window is open," says Zoe before Alfie replies, "it's literally not a game at all."
Alfie then explains: "The bedroom window is open because it's ridiculously hot in our bedroom and Zoe will just start shouting 'Help! Stop it, Alfie! Help!' and I'm like, that's not funny. Someone's gonna think I'm attacking you."
"No, don't say it like that because it looks like I'm – I've done it like three times," replies Zoe.
zoella joking about domestic violence and possibly r@pe in a new video with alfie. they've blocked the comments so it isnt getting any hate, but this is SO WRONG. joking about screaming help help get off alfie??? that's not funny??— Amanda (@ahwell13) December 18, 2019
#zoella #zoe #zoesugg #alfiedeyes pic.twitter.com/LwaBbWExCg
One disappointed fan wrote: "Alfie’s right; domestic abuse is not funny. This is disgusting. I’m usually one to defend Zoe when the internet goes after her but this time... nope." In reply to a comment defending the couple, another fan wrote: "It was a very sensitive topic for a lot of people and should never be joked about. Zoe laughing through it did not make it any better."
After seeing the comments, Alfie later tweeted, apologised and confirmed that the video had been removed from his channel. "I've received a couple of tweets this afternoon from people letting me know that a part in my newest video was insensitive," he wrote. "I for sure never meant to offend anyone. I'm sorry and have just taken the video down x"
I've received a couple of tweets this afternoon from people letting me know that a part in my newest video was insensitive. I for sure never meant to offend anyone. I'm sorry and have just taken the video down x— Alfie Deyes (@AlfieDeyes) December 19, 2019
Shortly after Alfie's tweet, Zoe apologised and reiterated Alfie's statements on her Instagram story.
She wrote: "We've seen a few comments about a moment in Alfie's newest video where I was messing around and demonstrating that I've occasionally wound him up at home by shouting "help" when he comes near me.
There was absolutely no intention of trivialising a serious issue, we were just being silly, but can totally see how that might come across to some people! We decided to take down the video so as not to cause any further confusion or upset!
Sorry to those of you who felt upset about it, that was 100000% NOT my intention & not something we would have posted had we known."