Back in 2021, confused parents swarmed various social media channels to investigate why Stevin John, the actor, and entrepreneur who has played Blippi on the eponymous YouTube channel since its launch in 2014, was replaced by another actor in a new video.
Stevin created Blippi to provide edutainment for kids aged 2 to 7. Over the years, he amassed 12.4 million subscribers, and, for many, he has become practically indistinguishable from Blippi. What is he up to now?
Stevin stepped back from Blippi to spend time with his family.
Stevin wasn't "fired" and he didn't "quit". He's still involved with Bippi behind the scenes and is still bringing in the dough. The reason he stepped away was because his then-fiancee, Alyssa Ingham, was going to have a baby and he wanted to concentrate on his family. It's understandable because having to produce that much content is not easy. His son, Lochlan David John, was born on March 9, 2022.
Blippi was replaced by another actor.
A new actor stepped into Blippi's shoes in a video uploaded to the Blippi channel on May 8, 2021. Despite his infectious enthusiasm and charismatic personality, the new Blippi (Clayton Grimm) left many viewers feeling confused.
Dozens of parents headed to social media to express their disappointment and point out that their kids, no matter how young, have spotted the continuity issue.
"Did they not think my extremely observant 4-year-old would notice a different dude playing #blippi?" tweeted @Bobby_Dawson.
"Oh, our oldest was way into his videos. But like...did they think kids just wouldn't notice it's a whole different person? That's crazy," wrote @carolinetweeted.
Several complaints address the lack of sufficient warning about the casting decision. But a post shared by Blippi's official Instagram account on May 8, 2021, mentions the changes.
"Due to popular demand, we are bringing more Blippi from The Live Show to you all! Don't miss the launch of Learn With Blippi tomorrow on Blippi's YouTube channel. Who's ready!?" reads the caption.
Blippi came under scrutiny for similar reasons a few years ago.
A similar scandal broke out after the premiere of The Live Show. Instead of Stevin, to whom many of his younger viewers appear to have developed a sense of attachment, another actor was hired to portray Blippi in The Live Show.
As parents like Angelina Sakowski told BuzzFeed News in 2019, the creators ostensibly failed to provide sufficient information on the cast of The Live Show. As she said, she bought a ticket without reading the fine print, only to realize that Stevin wasn't starring in The Live Show.
So, who is Blippi now?
The guy who stepped into Blippi's goofy costume is an actor named Clayton Grimm. He was well-known to Blipi fans as the guy who played him in the live tours. When Stevin decided to step back and let someone else make the popular videos, Clayton stepped up to the plate. Although many fans were initially upset, and many still miss Stevin, Clayton has continued to rack in the views. It's like when Sammy Hagar took over for David Lee Roth in Van Halen. Maybe he wasn't as good, but they still sold a lot of albums.
But a recent comment posted by Blippi's Instagram page paints a different picture. According to the comment, Stevin will continue to appear in various Blippi-related media, but he will play a less significant role in the YouTube videos.
"Stevin, the current Blippi, is not going anywhere! He will continue to play Blippi across a range of platforms and media. We are however adding a new Blippi to perform on the new YouTube show!" Blippi's Instagram account wrote in response to the flurry of confused comments.
We have a feeling this isn't the last we've seen of Stevin in the goofy costume. Only time will tell if he'll be back. There have been rumors of a musical on Broadway for years but that was derailed by Covid. Will parents be taking their kids to Times Square to see a Broadway Blippi soon? We shall see.