This goes beyond mere YouTube drama.
by Gabby Curran
YouTube personality Onision (real name Gregory Avaroe) is no stranger to controversy. He’s been admonished for illegally damaging wetlands near his home in Washington state, openly mocking an anorexic YouTuber, and filming his ex-girlfriend in a seizure state instead of taking her to the hospital. Most recently, though, he and his husband Kai (previously known as Lainey) have been accused of emotional and sexual abuse, and of grooming children––specifically young girls––from a young age.
For those unaware, grooming in this context is defined as “befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a child…to lower the child’s inhibitions with the objective of sexual abuse.”
Allegations of grooming against Onision and Kai began back in 2016, when viewers became wary of the fact that he and Kai had a 16-year-old fan named Sarah living with them. In September of that year, Onision put a video out explaining that Sarah was just a family friend. Sarah herself put a video out in January 2019 restating that her relationship with Onision and Kai was neither romantic nor sexual in nature.
In September 2019, however, Sarah––now 19 and living on her own––took to her Twitter account (@notsolillioness), posting a series of screenshots suggesting that Onision and Kai had been grooming her from the ages of 14 to 18. In a September 2019 interview with YouTuber Blaire White, Sarah claimed that Kai directly messaged Sarah at 14 on Twitter giving her his phone number. She also claimed that they would “make sexual jokes to each other [and] make jokes about [them] being together”, as well as exchange inappropriate photos of themselves while she was a teenager. Sarah was invited to live with Onision and Kai at age 16 after “some really not so great stuff went down” at home. Onision and Kai then became intimate with Sarah shortly after she turned 18. Sarah stated that her January 2019 video was made at Onision’s insistence and that she broke down several times over the course of filming it.
Onision and Kai’s habit of reaching out to younger fans goes back further than Sarah’s story. In November 2015, Kai began messaging 18-year-old Instagram model Billie Webb, stating that his relationship with Onision was open and that the former was in fact encouraging of Kai pursuing girls. The three entered into a polyamorous relationship with one another, only to have it fall apart in 2016, and again in 2017. Onision relentlessly harassed Billie online, revealing private details about her life on his Twitter. Screenshots of text messages between the two also suggest abusive behavior while the relationship was still ongoing, including a conversation wherein Onision asked Billie to either get a tattoo stating “I’m a Liar” on her lower back or be chained up in his basement for a week in order to make up for past mistakes.
Since Sarah’s accusations, several of Onision’s former affiliates have come out with allegations of their own. Onision’s ex-girlfriend Shiloh––the one he filmed in the midst of a grand mal seizure––created a Twitter account in September 2019 giving details on her own relationship with Onision. In a series of Tweets, Shiloh stated that she and Onision began talking in 2010. Over the course of their relationship, Shiloh alleged that Onision “manipulated [her] into cutting off both of [her] parents from [her] life”, had her sleep by his editing chair so she could “service [him] when [he] needed it”, shaved her head during sex without her consent, controlled what she wore and ate, and wouldn’t allow her to have any social media accounts that he didn’t have the passwords to. Over the summer of 2011, Onision allegedly called her “clinically obese” and unattractive, causing her to break down and suffer her first grand mal seizure, which resulted in three years of memory loss. It was this incident that Onision filmed and posted to his channel. Though Onision has taken the video down, it has since been reuploaded. Onision’s ex-wife Skye has also taken to Twitter and released screenshots of abusive emails Onision sent her in the months following their divorce, some of which included suicide threats. Other screenshots also show Onision harassing his ex-wife’s younger sister Alicia with constant emails asking her to “hang out” and collaborate on YouTube. Adrienne Jourgensen, another ex-girlfriend of Onision’s, also released a video containing 13 voicemails that he left her shortly after their relationship ended, adding to the allegations of emotional abuse that have come out against him.
It’s unclear whether or not all of this information is enough to incriminate Onision and Kai. Some have suggested that Kai himself is a victim of Onision’s, as the two began dating while Kai––then Lainey––was 17. Kai, however, now has a history of pursuing teenage fans over social media separately from Onision, sometimes asking for inappropriate photos from them.
This whole situation goes beyond petty James Charles-esque “YouTube drama”; young girls have been demonstrably psychologically damaged by these two and deserve justice. Unfortunately, for now, only time will tell whether or not they will get it.