Santoro, a popular YouTube creator whose educational videos are watched by millions, originally uploaded a private video to his channel in September in which he spoke about an abusive relationship that had recently ended. A few days ago, he accidentally made the video public before switching it back to private, but he then uploaded a different version to YouTube after seeing the support he received from viewers.
In the video, he discussed the relationship and the fact that his ex, who he described as “extremely jealous,” isolated him from family and friends, manipulated him, and eventually escalated to physical attacks. He observed that men often feel discouraged from talking about abuse they endure, and he recalled thinking that nobody would believe him.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in four men are victims of a form of physical violence from an intimate partner.
Although Santoro never named the ex he referenced in the video, viewers quickly figured out that Santoro was talking about Arbour (their relationship was common knowledge online). Prior to the release of Santoro’s video, his friend Rob Dyke discussed Santoro and Arbour’s relationship, with some of his details matching Santoro’s side of the story.
Arbour began to respond to Santoro’s video in the comments section of one of her own videos, calling Santoro “that little bitch I dumped months ago” and accusing him of using her to get attention on his channel.
Her responses on Twitter varied between claiming that Santoro made up lies for attention and providing information for victims of domestic abuse.
Shortly after Santoro’s video began to make headlines, Arbour responded with a video of her own denying all of the allegations. She accused Santoro of overstepping boundaries multiple times by airing aspects of her private life on the Internet while they dated—including having his friends discuss their private life—and she denied that she ever abused him.
“Crying wolf on a serious subject, a very serious subject, and trying to fabricate a very large story and taking a tiny little thing and spinning it into something that just didn’t happen is just sick and really diminishes the validity of people’s stories who actually have suffered abuse,” Arbour said.
She also called Santoro out for using his platform of young, impressionable followers to get views, and she told her own viewers to think for themselves.
My wish for the next generation is to not believe everything you read or hear on the Internet. Use your heads, think for yourselves.
— Nicole Arbour (@NicoleArbour) January 13, 2016