Poland's Influencer #MeToo: Top YouTubers Face Allegations From Underage Girls
The Polish Prime Minister has launched an investigation into Polish YouTubers suspected of grooming underage girls. Dubbed by some as the “Polish #MeToo”, the scandal (also nicknamed "Pandora Gate") has prompted new questions into the investigation, prevention, and punishment of pedophilia in the country.
Stuart Burton, a Polish YouTuber known online as “Stuu” is being investigated by the Polish government after a creator online revealed inappropriate messages he allegedly exchanged with underage fans, Warsaw-based Gazeta Wyborcza reports.
Beginning his career under the pseudonym “Polish Penguin”, Stuu started uploading videos of himself playing video games, mainly Minecraft, which brought him widespread success with a young audience. He went on to gain nearly 5 million subscribers, and garner hundreds of thousands of views per video.
Eventually, Burton expanded his brand to include lifestyle content, and became one of Poland’s most popular YouTubers. He also founded “Team X”, a group of influencers who were included in his videos.
In spite of his success, Burton suddenly stopped uploading any content onto YouTube after just one year, without any prior warning or indication that he planned to quit his career. Just before disappearing from YouTube, a former partner and fellow influencer, Justyna Suchanek, posted a tearful video, stating that an online personality she knew was harming children.
She did not directly mention Burton or any of the members of “Team X” by name, and, though former subscribers had their suspicions, there was no way of confirming. In 2021, Marcin Dubiel, a fellow online personality closely linked to Burton admitted that he had quit YouTube because of his ex-girlfriend’s video. Still, he denied that Burton had participated in any illegal activity with minors.
Justyna Suchanek admitted that she filed a police report when publishing the video, but, without statements from the victims, the investigation lacked concrete proof.
He flirted with her and called her “mature for her age.”
The matter went quiet until a few weeks ago, when now-24-year-old Aleksandra Adamczyk shared her story about her relationship with Stuart Burton. When she was under 14, she allegedly sent suggestive photos to Stu at his request — being a fan of the influencer and wanting to impress him. In a series of incidents she now calls “disgusting,” she recalled the influencer flirting with her and calling her “mature for her age.” She also said that the YouTuber sent the underage photo of her to others without her consent.
One week later, fellow YouTuber Sylwester Wardęga published a 30-minute investigation into Stuu, which has since been viewed 9 million times. Wardęga’s video, which refers to the scandal as the "Pandora Gate", revealed screenshots of texts, conversations with other influencers, and other evidence to suggest that Burton had fantasies about minors, and that he frequently interacted inappropriately with young fans.
Sylwester Wardęga's investigation into Stuart Burton — Source: WATAHA - Krulestwo
Living in denial
In his investigation, Wardęga reached out to women with whom Stuu is thought to have corresponded when they were aged 13, 14, and 15. One 13-year-old former fan says that the influencer wrote suggestive messages to her about her body, and asked her to meet with him in person. He also allegedly wrote about erotic dreams he had involving her, OKO website reports.
Two other fans, who were 14 and 15 years old at the time, also shared accounts of how, when they met the former star, he served them alcohol and invited them to his apartment. His accusers, who believe that they were drugged, do not remember the rest of the night, but one of them stated that she woke up lying next to Burton. After the incident occurred, he texted her that they had done “crazy things” together.
Although he hasn't shared his date of birth publicly, Burton is thought to have been born in 1992, meaning he is currently 30 or 31 years old.
Wardęga’s video also revealed Stuu's conversations, in which the YouTuber allegedly confesses to not seeing any wrongdoing in his acts. Instead, he justified his actions, stating that “in other countries you can have sex with 12-year-olds,” and that sexual activity is allowed from the moment when "the chick gets her period." He also admits to finding it normal for teenage girls to get drunk and send him nude photos without being pressured.
Accusations and distancing
Though Stuu is at the center of the accusations, Wardęga’s video claimed that several other Polish influencers and YouTubers were to blame, including Marcin Dubiel, Michał Baron (pseudonym "Boxdel") and Agata Fąk. All three of them not only operate online, but also earn significant amounts of money fighting at Fame MMA galas.
Agata Fąk (born 2000) is followed by 1.5 million people on Instagram, and gained fame largely through her relationship with Stuu. She is accused of knowing that Burton had previously met with minors, and had sexual contact with them, but she did not report it to the police. However, she denies that she knew anything about his exploits, and now says that she would not have gotten involved with him had she been aware of his past, Gazeta Wyborcza reports.
The popularity of these influencers has prompted the Polish government to get involved.
Marcin Dubiel, another popular YouTuber, is followed by 2.4 million people on Instagram, many of them young women.
Dubiel reacted to Wardęga's investigation with a statement on Instagram. "I am disgusted by every person who has ever harmed a child. I want it to be clear: I completely distance myself from Stuart and all his disgusting behavior. Yes, we were friends for many years. However, I never looked at his phone and had no way of knowing what he writes to other people. Despite our many years of acquaintance, it turned out that I didn't know everything about him," he wrote. He is also suing Wardęga for slander, stating that he had nothing to do with Stuu’s actions.
Polish YouTuber Marcin Dubiel's YouTube channel
Tip of the iceberg
In a live broadcast this week on Facebook, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated that the YouTube documentary and its allegations could be “just the tip of the iceberg,” and asked the Polish authorities to investigate the matter.
Morawiecki denounced the behavior, stating “There is no consent for pedophilia, there is no consent for pathological-celebrity behavior on the internet.” The Prime Minister also announced the creation of a hotline, where other victims of grooming or inappropriate action could report their stories.
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