Response released: 21 December, 2023
I would again like to express my sincerest sympathy to the writers and creators who were harmed by the theft of their creative property, and the supporters who, rightfully, feel betrayed.
Let me be clear: I unequivocally condemn acts of plagiarism.
The nature of my contributions to this YouTube channel were to editorialise and reflect upon a given piece of media. I can say with confidence that my independent contributions were authentically my own. However, I apologize for not taking a more active role to ensure the channel’s body of work was authentic.
In regard to the money raised to fund film projects through Telos Productions:
These generous donations were made in good faith, as such, I believe they should be returned immediately, and in full, to all donors. I have never had access to the Indiegogo account, nor any of its funds, therefore, I can only trust that the account holder will do the right thing from here.
Finally, I would like to outline what you can expect from me next:
1. In the immediate future, I will be taking time off to reflect, process, and learn from this incident. Mental health and well-being are paramount, and I hope anyone who is suffering, will seek out professional support.
2. Though my current employment remains uncertain, I am approaching this as an opportunity to invest in my personal writing projects. I am looking forward to (re-igniting) my passion for fiction writing, and investing my creative energy into new projects. I am excited to reconnect with the characters and stories from my first novel, Gentleman’s Club, as well as continue to add to my overall body of work.
3. I also hope for the opportunity to continue to foster the authentic connections I found within the Queer community, by creating a new space that explores, validates, and celebrates Queer identity. It is my hope that my future contributions to Queer art will help rekindle this sense of community.
I will be posting updates about my works-in-progress via my website and social media channels in the coming months.
Response released: 6 December, 2023
I am writing in response to the video essay, “Plagiarism and You(Tube)” released earlier this week by Hbomberguy, exposing mass plagiarism throughout the James Somerton channel. The evidence of unethical conduct provided in the video is undeniable. These actions are acutely alarming to me, both professionally and personally.
Due to the glaring disparity in our professional ethics, I have ended my ties with the James Somerton Channel, as well as my long-time association with James Somerton. I am also advocating that James offer a full and immediate refund to each of the IndieGoGo donors who contributed to Telos Pictures.
Plagiarism is personal in its violating effect. As a writer, it is one of my greatest fears. I am in disbelief that a friend so close as James would have disregarded these fears.
In light of these irrefutable actions, I am now deeply pained to have been associated with The James Somerton Channel as a content contributor. I was shocked by the widespread nature of the plagiarism in James’ videos; I cannot overstate how foolish I feel for trusting that James’ intentions and ethics were in line with my own.
I have scrutinized my own contributions to the channel over the past few days. Although I can say with confidence that my independent contributions were authentically my own, I cannot help but ask myself: how did I miss this?
Transparency and integrity are essential traits for authentic writing; this controversy has me falling short of that mark. I expect better of myself, and I will use this experience to strive for better accountability in all my future professional endeavours.
This evidence exposed a vital truth for me and presented a stark reality for my future hopes as a writer. But it also provided the catalyst I needed to leave the channel, and find more fulfilling work. I have learned a very heartbreaking lesson that will motivate me to be a better judge of character and a stronger advocate for authenticity.
To all writers whose creative works have been stolen, and to the loyal and trusting supporters of The James Somerton Channel, I am profoundly sorry for any part I have had in this shameful, but unwitting, breach of trust. I want to express my remorse for not taking a more active role to ensure the body of work was authentic, and that the individual I was associated with was truthful.
I am heartened to see that Kat and Harris have taken steps to generate exposure for talented queer content creators whose hard work and creativity was rendered invisible by plagiarism. In the link below, you will find a Google Form that will allow you to recommend queer YouTubers, who will be compiled into a playlist to give them the exposure they deserve. Thank you, Kat, for doing this.