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A YouTuber filmed her crying son for a video 2 years ago and became the subject of widespread scorn. She says she's grown but the video just won't die.

Jordan Cheyenne stands with her arms out at her sides.
Cheyenne said she felt it is "discouraging" that the controversy keeps resurfacing.Jordan Cheyenne via YouTube
  • Influencer Jordan Cheyenne addressed a 2021 clip of her and her son which has resurfaced online.

  • The clip showed Cheyenne telling her crying son to pose for a video about her sick puppy.

  • Cheyenne, who previously apologized for the clip, said it's "discouraging" that it's resurfacing.

YouTuber Jordan Cheyenne defended her "growth" after a clip from 2021 showing her telling her son to pose for a video while he was crying resurfaced online and ignited fresh controversy.

In a series of Instagram Stories uploaded on September 14 seen by Insider, Cheyenne, a lifestyle and fitness YouTuber with 517,000 subscribers, addressed the recently resurfaced clip, saying it's brought challenges to her ability to move forward.

The clip originates from a 2021 vlog posted on Cheyenne's YouTube channel explaining that her new puppy had been diagnosed with a condition called parvovirus, Insider previously reported.

Cheyenne has since removed the vlog from her account but it was subsequently reposted to Twitter. The clip shows Cheyenne telling her son Christian, who was then nine years old, to "act like you're crying," seemingly for the video's thumbnail. "I'm actually crying," he responded.

The clip elicited online outrage. Cheyenne went on to post and then delete an apology video, and to temporarily delete her YouTube channel.

In a statement given to Insider at the time, Cheyenne said: "Getting completely offline, canceling all videos and monetization, and prioritizing my child are all I care about."

She added: "I'm disgusted and horrified at what I did and there is absolutely no excuse. It's terrible on so many levels. I love my child more than anything and will regret this moment forever."

Cheyenne returned to YouTube after a five-month break in February 2022, saying in a video that is no longer available that she would no longer feature her son on her channel, Insider previously reported.

Earlier this month, the clip from Cheyenne's vlog was reuploaded on TikTok, where it received 8.7 million views, and was also reposted on Twitter by users who seemed to have been unfamiliar with Cheyenne and the controversy.

The reuploads sparked fresh online outrage about parenting content and parent influencers who involve their children in their content. It demonstrates how old videos can sometimes reappear on different platforms and spark new backlash, even if a creator has already addressed concerns about the content in the past.

"I feel like a LOT of influencers are like this... we just don't see behind the scenes," wrote one commenter on TikTok.

Responding to the resurfaced controversy on her Instagram Stories, Cheyenne said she was receiving hateful comments on social media as a result of the reposted footage.

"That was two and a half years ago, you guys, people are DMing me as if it was yesterday. You guys haven't seen the growth, the positive changes I made, the million apologies I have done," she said, going on to further discuss making parenting changes, including refraining from posting videos of her son on YouTube.

Cheyenne said that although she has addressed the situation in the past, she felt it was "really discouraging that it keeps getting brought up," and went on to say it has been challenging for her to move forward given the ongoing controversy.

"Listen, I'm not the victim. I made a super poor choice. Unfortunately, the entire world saw it. Huge learning lesson for me. But it's like, how do you navigate after that?" she said.

"You know, I try to still come on and still share my life with you guys and show that people make mistakes and you can change and you can grow, but, as we know, the internet is just, like, vicious," she said, adding that the online vitriol has sometimes negatively impacted her mental health.

The YouTuber added that she is "just trying my best to move on with the future, despite having made mistakes in the past."

Cheyenne responded to a request for comment from Insider via email and said, in part, "This incident was 2.5 years ago and myself and family have already gone through 2+ years of online harassment, stalking, and defamation. I've apologized multiple times in 2021 when this happened and I absolutely will not put my family through any more online harassment. I took a year off social media, kept my word on keeping my son out of my YouTube videos for 1.5 years and we are doing well and need to move on."

The family-vlogging genre has become an increasingly contested space over concerns about child exploitation and safety.

In September 2022, influencer Brittany Jade Szabo came under fire for pranking her twin sons by telling them to say they had a brother who died in a now-deleted TikTok video. In 2020, Austin McBroom, a co-runner of the hugely popular YouTube channel "The ACE Family," could be seen yelling at his wife Catherine in front of their children in a leaked clip that drew criticism at the time.

Update: September 17, 2023 – This story has been updated to include comment from Jordan Cheyenne.

For more stories like this, check out coverage from Insider's Digital Culture team here. 

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