Internet heroes come in many forms. Some are celebrities that millions love to watch online, while others are viral internet sensations because of a heroic act that was caught on camera. Either way, millions of people adored them and their contributions to the internet…until, of course, things turned sour, reminding us that sometimes heroes fall. Too often fame has a way of corrupting an individual or bringing about attention that the hero doesn’t want. They fall by the hands of a villain or become the villain themselves. And, you might be surprised how many internet heroes have succumbed to tragedy or the dark side. Ready to find out who they are? Here are 25 Fallen Internet Heroes.
After posting a video of herself wearing a toy Chewbacca mask, Candace Payne, also known as Chewbacca Mom, became a viral internet sensation, delighting people with her joy and laughter. She became such a huge hit, appearing on several television shows and was even in the same bit with J.J. Abrams. However, she overstayed her welcome when she posted a video of herself singing Michael Jackson’s “Heal the World” after a Dallas shooting. “No. One. Cares. What. Chewbacca. Mom. Thinks,” said one Twitter user.
Recently in 2017, a video hit the internet of a young man in a red hood trying to save a rabbit from the Southern California wild fires. He was the internet’s new hero, beloved by millions. But who was he? Oscar Gonzales of Pacoima, California, claimed it was he. He said he was driving a friend home when he saw the rabbits and decided to save them.
His heroism turned to controversy, however, when other people online widely criticized him for risking the life of himself and the rabbits by potentially scaring them back into the flames.
Then things got even worse when it was revealed Gonzales might not even be the hero. A second man named Caleb Wadman came forward, claiming to be the real hero. He even provided evidence of his red hoodie and the testimony of a local vet that treated the rabbit.
In 2015, famed YouTuber and author John Green faced accusations of sexual predation by a Tumblr user that gained quite a bit of attention. The user claimed Green used his status to prey on teenage girls. While the claims were never verified or proven, Green himself had to address the criticism, saying, “…posts like virjn’s misuse the language of social justice.”
Jenni from Jennicam
At age 19, Jennifer Ringley decided to do an experiment and have her webcam take a photo of her every fifteen minutes, unintentionally starting what is now called lifecasting. She became a huge sensation, and in 1998 was able to appear on David Letterman. Even though she eventually made money on it, she went dark in 2003. Later, she claimed she left due to the fallout from an on-screen affair she had and the burn out related to it.
Josh Ostrovsky, an Instagram and internet comedian that goes by the name The Fat Jew, has more than 10.4 million Instagram followers and delights people with his off-color jokes. However, he had a fall from grace when it was revealed he’d been flat out plagiarizing his work off of many other comedians. The backlash was intense and fierce by many comedians online.