Trigger Warning (TW): Self-harm, grooming, suicide
There's never a shortage of drama or scandals taking place in the YouTube community, since being somewhat controversial is often part of the gig for top content creators. In recent years, many have put out apology, breakup, or "exposed" videos in order to increase views.
For vlogger and gamer Craig Thompson aka Mini Ladd, his scandal is one that goes beyond the scope of a typical YouTube apology video.
The 25-year-old has been accused of messaging underage fans in a suggestive and flirtatious manner for months. Two of them, Ash and Halley, went forward in June of 2020 to share their experiences with his alleged predatory behavior. The interactions took place in 2016 and 2017, when Mini Ladd was in his 20s and the girls were teenagers.
They also both said that he attempted to manipulate them with his online presence and his mental health struggles to keep them quiet.
Mini Ladd had notably remained silent on the matter. He even returned to Northern Ireland, which some of his followers interpreted as him fleeing potential legal repercussions.
The Twitch streamer finally addressed his side of the matter when he put out the "My Apology" video on Dec. 28.
What did Mini Ladd say in his apology?
In the opening of his now-viral video, Mini Ladd said that he would not shy away from addressing the scandal head-on. He claimed that he was going against the wishes of his PR team by being so candid with his 5.23 million subscribers.
"I want to apologize for the things that I've done," he shared. He also clarified that he wasn't putting the video out to make people feel sorry for him.
"I don't want this video to be excused as an excuse or victimizing myself or anything like that. I just want to give you guys my thoughts. This is no more PR teams, no more anything like that. This is just Craig. This isn't Mini Ladd," he continued. "This is Craig talking, and I want to be as transparent as possible."
Mini Ladd then explained that he would be speaking about two people who were underage when he began messaging them: Halley and Ash. He shared that his interactions with the two took place at around the same time.
"A lot of people think that these people were random fans that I got in contact with. Both Halley and Ash, these were people that were my friends," he said. "Halley, I've known for a long time, since maybe 2013 or 2014. Halley was one of my Twitch mods."
Mini Ladd said that Halley was an effective moderator on Twitch and that she often helped him out on the gaming service. He said that their Twitch connection eventually became a friendship.
"She was someone that I could go to with my problems," he continued. "We became close because we both had our issues. It's not my place to say what's going on with her, but she's someone who has helped me out a lot."
The content creator said that he added Halley on Snapchat when she was 16, but their messages were entirely platonic at first. At the time, his intentions on the photo app were simply to maintain a streak (which is when there are consecutive, uninterrupted days of sending photos).
"This isn't when I was making any remarks towards her. This is just where I talked to all of my friends. I was that guy that had streaks, and I wanted to make sure that our streaks were good," he explained. "Back in 2015, that's kind of what people did."
Mini Ladd said that he began to send flirty messages to Halley in 2016 when she was 17. At the time, he was 21.
"And that's not OK, like, and I'm aware of that. So with Halley, and both with Ash, I sent the messages around this time," he said. "And I understand what I'm going to say next is quite taboo online, but if this is my way of putting all my cards on the table and telling you guys what happened, I feel like I need to say it. "
The Twitch streamer shared that he had contemplated ending his life at around this time, and that he allegedly told Halley this when she was considering coming forward with his predatory messages.
"The reason I did what I did and there was even a message where I said this is because what I said there is true," he continued. "I did try to end my life in 2017. I'm not looking for sympathy. I'm not looking for anything. That's not what this is about. This is telling you guys the reason, and I want you to understand the headspace that I was in."
He said that he was being "selfish" and he wasn't considering the "repercussions" of his actions. He noted that his actions were "stupid."
"I just wasn't thinking and I've regretted it since," he said. "For both Halley and Ash, I'm really sorry."
Mini Ladd then clarified the details of his relationship with Ash. Unlike his multi-year friendship with Halley, Mini Ladd said that he only knew Ash for a short time. They initially connected from mutual friends on Twitch.
After flirting with her online, Mini Ladd learned from a friend that Ash was planning on publicly exposing his actions. That's when he asked the mutual friend to tell Ash about his mental health struggles, in an attempt to dissuade her from going forward.
"The stuff I sent to her is just not OK either. That's not what I wanted. You know, she was someone that I really did call my friend and it sucks that I let her down like that," Mini Ladd said.
He added that he "completely regret[s]" sending the messages to guilt her, but that they came from a place of fear.
"I just love my job so much that I didn't want it to go away," he said in his video.
The YouTuber then apologized to the two for putting his issues on them.
"I'm sorry, guys. You were my friends, and I failed you. I was only thinking of myself, and I was stupid," he remarked. "I wish I could take it all back."
Mini Ladd said he issued private apologies to both Halley and Ash.
The longtime YouTube star then addressed the accusations that he hasn't apologized to Halley or Ash. He shared that he had to "fight [his] PR team," and he went ahead and privately apologized to both of them.
In addition, he issued a statement on Twitter.
As for why he took six months to discuss the accusations against him, Mini Ladd said that he was too scared to go public. He went to his home in Northern Ireland to spend time with his family while figuring out what to do.
He started going to therapy at this time, and he's discovered that he wants to focus on who Craig is and not who Mini Ladd is.
Mini Ladd concluded his apology video by asking his followers to allow him to rebuild their trust.
Neither Halley nor Ash has publicly addressed Mini Ladd's apology video at this time.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.