- Hbomberguy included a two-hour breakdown of plagiarism allegations against James Somerton in a video.
- James denied the allegations, though the internet was not as receptive to his rebuttal.
- James has deleted his Patreon and Discord and has not released an official apology.
The YouTube essayists are fighting — and this time, things may be over for James Somerton. James is known for his queer takes on film theory and media, but his tenure on the internet has raised some eyebrows for various reasons.
The most recent series of allegations come from Hbomberguy (real name Harris Brewis), who detailed claims of plagiarism in James's video, often pulling directly from other writers and creators. This drama has spiraled, leading James to take time away from the internet.
James Somerton is under fire after Hbomberguy accused him of plagiarism.
Harris made a video titled "Plagiarism and You(Tube)," breaking down plagiarism as a whole on the internet — but a good portion of the video outlined the allegations against James. Though James was not the only creator accused of ripping off content from others, he included multiple examples of videos where James plagiarized the work of other queer writers and creators or just read directly from Wikipedia pages, totaling about two hours of the four-hour video essay.
This is not the first time James was accused of plagiarizing his work, and he previously had to address similar allegations — though it seems he has never been accused on this scale before. In a private Patreon post, he asked his subscribers to message him privately if they wanted to discuss the allegations further.
These plagiarism allegations are just the latest in offenses he's been called out on. Earlier in 2023, James faced backlash when he posted a video claiming that the revenue from his Patreon had dropped by 50%, potentially resulting in the imminent end of his channel. Though James claimed there was a significant drop in his monthly income, the number of Patreon subscribers he had remained the same, leading many to be suspicious of his claims.
"I'm gonna be honest: I don't believe you and this vid feels gross and exploitative. Like, revenue declined by 50% while subs remained functionally the same? That's just not how things work in this business; either you made a mistake, there was a glitch, or you're lying," Dan Olson, another YouTuber essayist, commented on his now-deleted tweet.
The two feuded online, and some alleged James was attempting to guilt his followers into giving him more money, and though the true motive was never revealed, it left a sour taste in the mouths of many.
How did James Somerton respond to the allegations?
Since Harris's video, James's response has been less-than-forthcoming, leaving many of his fans scratching their heads at how to react. Both James's Discord and Patreon pages are no longer active, and according to various Reddit posts, it seems even his co-writer, Nicholas Hergott, was unaware of the plagiarism issue.
Before James's Patreon was deleted, one subscriber snagged a screenshot of his statement posted to the account, in which he promises to "say something more extensive once I've prepared myself emotionally."
"I'm in a terrible headspace right now so I don't want to post anything too long because I don't know where my brain will lead me," he starts the statement, shared by a Redditor. "... I will say more soon, though. But for now, I want to apologize. I'm heartbroken that I've lost your trust and just hope that someday, with a lot of work, I can get it back."
It seems for now, James will be taking time away from the internet. Whether he'll be able to come back from this, though, has yet to be seen.