By Erin K. Costello
Anyone who has read my writing (all 12 of you) before this blog is probably wondering why I am writing about some vlogger instead of my usual coverage of vaccines, or more specifically, anti-vaxxers. My answer is, I don’t know.
Katie Joy, from Without a Crystal Ball, has never done anything to me personally. I also don’t think she has done anything quite horrendous. That is, until recently. Lately she seems to have turned into an angry bully who targets families on YouTube. Families who have broken no laws or any of YouTube's TOS (terms of service). Katie just seems to want to burn down as many channels as she can, because she can.
**Edited on June 20, 2020, to update with newly discovered information regarding the reddit post on r/woacb discussed below.
Before COVID-19, Katie, for the most part, lied. She basically just lied. Not even big lies with devastating effects. However, that wasn’t from her lack of trying. She lied trying to get a reality star thrown in jail for an alleged parole violation (there was no violation), tried to get a man labeled as a sexual harasser, lied about her son having autism, seemingly forgetting about a blog post from 2017 when she explains her son was misdiagnosed with autism, lied about calling another YouTuber a meth head, etc… You get the point. No one had really taken things she said too seriously, so her lies were largely ineffective. During COVID-19 though, her channel has grown up to over 110k subscribers, so now there are more people hearing her lies, which also means there are bound to be more people who believe her lies. She also isn’t just lying any longer. She has since repurposed her YouTube channel as a platform to go after other YouTubers, and social media influencers, in efforts to get them shut down or cancelled. This, apparently, is referred to as “cancel culture.”
If a channel is profiting off of illegal acts or if it violates the platform’s TOS, then naturally it is expected to be shut down or cancelled, or otherwise reprimanded. However, targeting a channel, or influencer, over your own personal morality is dangerous ground. This is how we end up with the “morality police” and how we rationalize taking away the rights and free will of others. Our society already has laws that cover severe violations against morality, such as murder, stealing, or other ways to harm and victimize people or a community. Additional judgement and punishments by society is hateful and dangerous since the slights committed are purely subjective, and that's assuming every accusation would be sincere. What you may find immoral, I may find normal. This also does not take into consideration personal circumstance. For example, Myka Stauffer. Now, I agree with most everyone else that Myka and her husband, James, should never have adopted the child I will refer to as H. A few years after having adopted the toddler from China, they realized H was autistic and required more care and attention than they were capable of giving the young boy. I do not know how hard they tried to care for H. I do not know if I would have done anything different. I know we all like to think we would not have made the same choices as the Stauffers. But I am not them nor are they me. I only know what I can imagine. I do not know the reality of their lives or their individual make-up as parents or as people. I do know that there have been other parents in similar situations as the Stauffers, but with children of their own. Sadly, the outcomes for these kids have not been as promising as H’s outcome. H has a chance. H is still alive. H is not being abused or neglected. So many other kids are, sadly, killed by their parents, abused, neglected, or tortured with promises of a cure from drinking bleach, turpentine, or dangerous behavioral “therapy.” I feel confident that this is not H’s future. I also know the Stauffer’s did not violate any laws, nor did they break any of YouTube’s TOS. I do not disagree with those who say the Stauffers let their son down and did him wrong. Although, their actions are questionable, I can't say they made the wrong decision for H. When I read about the stories of kids, whether developmentally disabled or not, being murdered by their parents, I always wonder why the mother or father did not choose to give the child up, or give the child to a family member, instead of killing their helpless child. I'm sure most everyone asks the same questions. The thing is though, we lose credibility to ask such questions when we attack, harass, and punish parents who do just that; who admit their shortcomings and get the child the help and care they need and deserve. Which is why going after them in hopes to “cancel” their channel seems weirdly personal, vindictive, and spiteful. I would have guessed that YouTube’s TOS did not allow for this sort of harassment between users on their platform. But, apparently, they do.
What Katie is doing is not illegal, though I do believe she often toes the line (doxxing the Stauffers for example), nor is what she is doing against YouTube’s TOS (though, I think it should be). Her actions have also caused her channel to explode in views and subscribers the past few months. As a result, I can't fault her for her actions. I do, however, think she is a shitty human being for finding this to be an acceptable way to make a living. I also find her, comically, in denial every time she defends what she is doing by claiming to be an advocate to children and the disabled.
Because of this, I think, is why I am writing about Katie Joy Paulson, again. I am annoyed at how she is using these kids from these channels. I am annoyed at how she is exploiting other people for profit, and then lying about her actions. Much like how anti-vaxxers take advantage of kids, sick or disabled kids, as well as their parents, Katie is doing the same exact thing. To her credit she is not an anti-vaxxer, exactly. She vaccinates herself, and her child when recommended, but she doesn’t vaccinate her cats. I feel bad for her cats but very happy she agrees with human vaccinations. She has also written about anti-vaxxers a couple years ago on her blog post, though these posts are now only available through the Wayback Machine. Since then, unfortunately, the direction she has gone, and the person she has become, does not represent the rest of us vaccine advocates very well, or lend us much credibility. But… this thought is all a discussion for another day. Today I want to focus on her recent GFM (Go Fund Me) campaign, though it has since been deactivated, and the donations are being refunded. I want to demonstrate the inconsistencies she knowingly makes in her efforts to profit from other people, especially in the form of donations.
She begins her fundraising story with,
“My name is Katie Joy. I’m a Youtuber, public figure, and victim of a stalker and online defamation campaign. Over the past year, my company has been relentlessly targeted along with my family, for simply having a job online."
It’s true that her name is Katie Joy and that she is a Youtuber. I’m going to split hairs here though and say she isn’t a public figure. She is a YouTube public figure, possibly even an online public figure. But she has no chance of being spotted in actual public from her online activity. If she were at a YouTube convention though, she could expect to be recognized. Although this argument is not without merit, I do feel it is a petty one, so I’m done with it.
Her stalker and online defamation claim are two separate complaints. There is only one person, that I’m aware of, she accuses of stalking her. I’ll refer to this person as SM. I am familiar with the gist of the whole ordeal but I do not feel confident enough to make comment. I also realize this situation is currently in legal proceedings. I do not want to risk my comments having an affect on those proceedings.
As for her defamation claim, people are legally allowed to talk shit. Most of what is said or shared in criticizing Katie is in reference to her own behavior and words. Though, I am sure some people are rather mean or presumptuous with their opinion, this is not illegal nor does it carry any fault for damages. Also, none of this is done because she “simply” has a job online. Tons of people make a living creating online content. What people take issue with is how she chooses to make this living online, and the dishonest ways she goes about doing so. She is, literally, doing to other content creators what she is crying “foul” for having done to her. Only, those who are calling her out are not profiting from doing so. They gain nothing. They just don’t want to be lied to, and they don’t want to see lies about other people spread throughout their community. They also don’t like to stay quiet when they see her and her followers mass attack another person’s channel over nothing short of a moral disagreement. When Katie’s delicate sensibilities are offended by the actions of other YouTubers her answer is to send out a call to action among her social media followers to hit them in the comment sections, or their wallet by threatening sponsors. For Katie to describe this as simply having a job online is purposely dishonest. For her to describe it this way in her GFM campaign is manipulative. I do not know why she just doesn’t own what it is she does online. She isn’t breaking laws, she isn’t violating YT’s TOS, and clearly her followers enjoy her self-righteous shitty behavior, so why doesn’t she just own it? Nothing worse than a “Karen” who cant admit they’re a “Karen.” She should take control, embrace her inner Karen and wear it proudly.
Next Katie adds,
“The attacks have resulted in cops being called on us, our neighbors contacted, threats of calls to CPS, my husband’s employer contacted, and my public address being widely shared for malicious purposes.”
The attacks did not result in cops being called. Her neighbors called the cops, according to Katie and according to the police report. She, according to Katie, had a dispute with her neighbors over barking dogs. Neighbors then called the cops. No one online would have even known about what happened if she didn’t use her channel as a means to publicly paint her neighbors as being hateful violent individuals. It was while she was tearfully accusing her neighbors in a video of threatening to kill her, her husband, and their dogs, as well as making Katie and her family victims of a hate crime by, allegedly, cutting her PRIDE flag, that a viewer became concerned for Katie’s safely and called the sheriff’s dept in Katie’s county requesting they do a “wellness check.” Though, it is unclear if the caller believed Katie to be in danger from her neighbors or a danger to herself. Ok, maybe her neighbors cut her flag? To be honest, it looks matted and torn to me, likely due to wear and tear or weathering. Either way, it was not a hate crime and no one else called it a hate crime like Katie alleges. Only Katie called it a hate crime, but then she denied ever calling it a hate crime. This is what I mean by inconsistencies.
I do believe someone spoke with one of her neighbors, though I do not know if it was the same neighbor who called the cops. Regardless, the neighbor reached out and contacted someone they found online who they likely felt they could trust to speak with regarding Katie. So, if the neighbors did not and do not feel harassed, why is Katie crying "stalking" over who her neighbor speaks with, especially when she is the one who dragged her neighbors into her online life? She went online and accused her neighbors of being bigoted, violent homophobes that threatened to kill her and her dogs. She publicly stated this online to thousands of people. If anyone contacted her neighbors in a negative way it was more than likely one or more of her own supporters believing they were defending poor victimized Katie.
“Threats of calls to CPS.” Is she really complaining about threats to call CPS? How many people deal with actual calls to CPS over nonsense like this? She’s only dealing with threats to call, allegedly. I’m actually a little surprised it’s only been threatened. Usually in online drama like this CPS calls become almost routine. I don’t agree with people calling CPS on Katie, or even threatening to call. I believe she has her faults as a mother (who doesn’t?), but none that pose any dangers. I also don’t doubt that she loves her son and she and her husband are good parents. I have seen more reason to suspect this than I have seen to doubt this. I’ve certainly not seen anything to warrant a call to CPS. Regardless, this has not happened, according to Katie. Only the threat of it has happened.
Her husband’s employer was most definitely contacted. Though, they were most likely contacted by both supporters of Katie’s and the Katie haters. Katie posted online to thousands of people that her husband was laid off after 20 years, after not receiving a raise for 4 years, after the CEO gave himself a fat bonus, after their son racked up a lot of medical bills on the health insurance provided by her husband’s employer, and that the medical costs were likely the cause for him being laid off. She even asked if she could sue the employer for discrimination. She named the company and the CEO in these posts/tweets. Soon after, though, this was all deleted and she quickly explained the layoffs were announced weeks prior and were due to a failing company. This was also in the middle of the COVID-19 shutdown, mind you. As a result of her posts, I have no doubt the haters sent ss of this to the CEO and the company, but I also have no doubt her supporters, as well, sent angry emails and messages to the CEO and company while accusing both of discrimination against a “medically fragile” child.
I am surprised she accurately referred to her address as her “public address.” This address is publicly listed on her business license. A Google map arial image of her house was shared one time in a private message, though the address was redacted. This only came to light in a Facebook group when the sender admitted, voluntarily, of having done this. The only other instance I am aware of is a Reddit post in the subreddit r/woacb. The post exposing her information was an image of her neighbors with their address stated on the image. No one knows who posted this though. The post was deleted in less than an hour by the moderators, and the OP deleted their reddit account. Of course this could’ve been posted by someone with malicious intent. It also could’ve been posted by someone wanting to make her appear to be the victim. This image in reddit was posted a day after it was mentioned in a Facebook group that her business license contains her address, though the license was not shared in the group, mind you. Someone could have read that her public address was available publicly on a website and they went and found the address, or she could have read this post in the Facebook group and saw an opportunity. Regardless, it never should’ve been posted on Reddit, or anywhere else. I am just not sure who posted it or why.
** I have since found evidence that several posts were made to r/woacb on this day as well as a screen shot of one of the images while posted in the subreddit. The username of the poster was u/potentialice4. This account is still suspended from Reddit. I found this screen shot on a message board site called lolcow in a thread dedicated to Katie Joy. Once I knew OP's username I then did a Google search for the username and found part of the original subreddit thread. This is where I learned that there were, in fact, 3 posts made by OP to the subreddit; a photo of Katie's house, the screen shot showing Katie's address only without the redaction shown in my link, and a post with "Linda's info," who I assume is her neighbor.
It is true she was awarded a restraining order (RO). I do not know all specifics, like if it’s for 2 years or not, though it could be.
“but I still need to go to court.” Of course she still needs to go to court. The person she got the RO against is fighting the RO. Katie needs to prove her case and warrant the need for the RO. When applying for the RO, Katie very likely left out all the harassment and targeting she has done against this individual, as well as the instigating (something she and her husband do quite often and then delete). Once this matter makes it to court, it is unlikely the RO will be upheld after the other side reveals the rest of the story. I do not know if one side is more right than the other in this matter. I think it’s likely they are both wrong, but again, I don’t know all the facts.
Next she says,
“We have also been told civil actions are needed to end the group attacking my family.”
Who told them this? How did she present the situation to have been told this? She doesn’t say “My lawyers looked over all the online activity by group members and told me civil actions can be taken and are needed to stop the group.” She only says they have been told civil actions are needed, and are needed to end the group that is attacking her family. This could be meant a couple of ways. Who told them this, and what it was in response to, matters. I can't help but to find the fact she leaves all this information out of her sentence here, highly suspect.
She continues her story with,
“I understand that I’m a public figure, but my safety and my family’s safety should not be put at risk over a group’s relentless harassment and stalking.”
I don’t think she understands the position she puts herself in publicly, regardless if she qualifies as being a public figure or not. Either way, no one’s safely should be in question at any time, ever. That being said, I’ve honestly never seen anyone ever say or do something/anything that even remotely appeared to be at all threatening to Katie’s safety, let alone her family’s safety. The only thing about Katie that has been threatened or targeted is Katie’s reputation and credibility. Now, she could argue that this has been happening falsely. However, she would lose that argument since it is almost always her own words, claims, lies, and actions that are used to damage her reputation and credibility. In other words, the group is not the one causing these damages, it is Katie causing these damages. The group just references Katie’s posts and videos. If these references were deliberately taken out of context as a means to defame Katie, then she could easily prove this by providing the context or sharing the whole video. However, Katie often deletes these posts and videos. The only proof they exist for many such media are the screen shots and the video grabs/downloads captured by those who prioritize efforts to keep Katie honest. If this evidence isn’t captured quickly, though, it can end up gone forever once she deletes the post or even the social media account, the latter being something Katie has done several times across her many platforms. She has the power to shut up her haters by keeping her content up, unless, of course, her haters are telling the truth.
Katie goes on to say,
“We have spent $10k of our own money on attorney’s fees but it won’t stop.”
Can you imagine, in today’s economic climate, spending $10k on something as frivolous as this shit? I don’t know if this is true, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it were. Thankfully, her followers also saw this as ridiculous and quickly called her out for her monetary tactlessness. Regardless, if after spending $10k on something you still haven’t achieved the desired effect, maybe throwing more money at the problem is not the answer.
Katie ends the GFM story with,
“I want my reputation restored. I want my family to feel safe. I want to stop the lies and I want the defaming content removed.”
Wait, what? She wants to control what people think and say about her on the internet? And she thinks suing people, either criminally or civilly, is the way to go about improving her online reputation? How suburban, botox and lip injection, pumpkin spice, yoga pant wearing, middle-aged, all wrapped up in a head-band, white-girl Karen of her to demand to speak to the courts, as though courts are the internet’s manager.
* In the interest of transparency I’d like to come clean at this point as being a suburban, spray-tan, Color Street nail wearing, pink haired, caramel frappe, yoga pant wearing white girl myself. However, I am no Karen or Katie, and I hate pumpkin spice.
As for her family feeling safe, I don’t think she really gives a shit about them feeling safe. Let me explain... I think this is just a manipulation tactic. People who are genuinely scared for the safety of their family do not argue to be right, or take action that will prolong the feeling of unsafe, such as petitioning civil court to prevent people saying mean things about you on the internet. Instead, they just want to feel safe. They will take actions to ensure feeling safe. Instigating actions to prove your “right-ness” will only make matters worse. I think the reason why Katie doesn’t really care about her family feeling safe is because she doesn’t actually believe they feel unsafe. If they didn’t feel safe, and she believed this to be true, then I think her actions would be much different.
It isn’t defamation if the information is true and relevant. Katie’s own words, own posts, tweets, videos, and actions prove the information to be true. It is, in fact, HER information. It is HER content that she created and shared publicly, that is being shared among haters as proof of her lies and hypocrisy. When she accuses those in a Facebook group of defaming her, and telling lies, she is actually defaming herself by claiming her own content to be bullshit.
Considering her job consists of sharing information online with viewers, the information she shares is absolutely relevant. If the information shared was something personal or private, then it may not be so relevant, and I could then see her argument. Just because the information being shared is done so with the intent of exposing her and harming her credibility, that does not make the information, or the sharing of the information, defamatory. The information has to knowingly be false and publicly shared with malice. If she wants to restore her reputation, she should try to improve herself and her tactics. Once again, anything is possible.
Katie is a mean girl and a bully. I don’t mean that subjectively or “in my opinion.” I mean that definitively. My opinion on this matter is that she is unable to practice self reflection and see this about herself for some reason, possibly a specific reason. I have suspicions as to what that reason may be, but I do not have evidence or the degree to back up my claim. And since my opinion is purely speculative, I am not going to share my opinion. Unlike Katie, I am able to see when my actions would appear hypocritical. Spreading an idea “in my opinion” without any evidence to back it up, at the end of THIS blog post, would make me a HUGE hypocrite. What I can say, though, is that I find Katie’s Olympic-level style of cherry-picking in this GFM story to be eerily similar to what I see in the anti-vax community. Thankfully, though, she is not an anti-vaxxer. Because, if she were an anti-vaxxer, she’d probably be a very effective one.