It’s no big secret that the world is in a huge debate about whether or not the human race should or shouldn’t eat meat. The argument goes further with many claiming that we shouldn’t be eating any animal products what so ever. All arguments have valid points, all sides claiming to have ‘scientific evidence’ that their views are correct and thus the war between vegans and meat eaters was born.
But one Youtuber has made a career out of stirring the pot and by literally naming and shaming others to her audience. Leanne Ratcliffe, better known as Freelee the Banana Girl is a Youtuber from Australia whose channel ‘promotes’ a fully raw vegan lifestyle. There is no denying the 40-year-old social media star looks good! She is slender, toned and beautiful. But many have an issue with the stars approach to spreading the vegan message.
Freelee has a large following of nearly 735,000 followers. But, the Youtuber has a habit of going after the bigger fish on the internet. In 2015 she went after British sensation Zoella, claiming that she was a hypocrite for eating meat and ‘being cruel to animals’ and yet owning a dog (a black pug named Nala). Freelee’s nasty video is nothing short of bullying and is pretty much based on hearsay as the two media icons have never actually met. Zoella, who has over 12 Million followers on Youtube alone, did not react to the video other than to block the Australian vegan on all social media.
But Freelee wasn’t done, this kind of bullying video appeared on her channel with increasing frequency, her ‘fruit bat’ followers coming to her defence whenever she was called out in the comment section for her methods of spreading the vegan message. However, in 2017 she went after Youtube fitness instructor Cassy Ho, also known as Blogalaties. The fitness instructor had recently released a video confessing that she had suffered from an eating disorder throughout the opening years of her Youtube career. Freelee released a video calling out Ho, and claiming she was a bad influence on her nearly 4 million subscribers. Unlike Zoella, Cassy Ho did not take the abuse lightly and Freelee claimed that Cassy took legal action against her, almost having her channel shut down. However, Blogalaties CEO took to Twitter dismissing these claims tweeting: ‘When someone thinks you’d put that much effort towards them, but you ain’t got time for that.‘ She also tweeted: ‘When someone says your lawyers have contacted them but there are none.’ Whether or not Cassy Ho really did hit back against the smaller Youtube star will stay between them.
Since then, Freelee seemed to change tactics and began ‘helping’ rather than trying to put people down. In the second half of 2017, she began asking YouTubers who were ‘suffering’ to come and live with her for a month on her raw vegan diet. She asked influencers such as Eugenia Cooney and Trisha Paytas. Not surprisingly, no one took her up on her offer.
Also in 2017, she went after influencers such as Merideth Foster, whom her friends were claiming had an eating disorder. Whether or not this was true, Freelee called out to Foster, to tell her the only way forward was to go fully raw vegan. However, when Foster didn’t respond and didn’t change her ways, Freelee turned on the young American and posted a video that she was washing her hand of her. To put this in perspective, Meredith Foster has nearly 5 million subscribers, the likelihood that she ever saw Freelee’s video is very slim. Where Freelee felt she was being ignored, it was probably more the case that Foster didn’t even know the video, or its creator, even existed.
Last but not least, Freelee went after another young American influencer whom she at one point claimed to be friends with. Gabi Demartino, best known online for her channel with her twin Sister (Niki & Gabi), has had a few tries at the vegan diet over the past few years. However, over last year her viewers noticed a shift in the young singer’s weight and diet. Freelee called the Youtube star out, in a slightly less vicious video to which the young vlogger responded. Gabi explained that she had recently been diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Disease which severely restricted what she could eat. The singer commented that doctors placed her on an autoimmune diet to help her body recover and that the vegan lifestyle had only made her disease worse. This, however, didn’t stop Freelee from preaching that the vegan diet was still possible for the young artist. The video left a lot of Gabi’s fans (and also myself) wondering whether or not Freelee has the qualifications and experience to be making medical decisions and giving advice to people.
So what has she been doing more recently? In the last few months of 2017, Freelee began posting videos to her channel ‘advising’ women about the dangers of…well, pretty much everything. Her videos tell women to stop using shampoo, stop wearing makeup, stop wearing high heels. Well Freelee, why don’t you stop telling us what to do!
These are the facts, these are just a small portion of events that have happened over the last three years. To be honest, I have a love-hate relationship with Freelee. Her channel does promote some good points and her videos about leading a raw vegan diet are very informative. However, there is no denying that she has a nasty side and seems to enjoy putting people down. She defends her channel by saying that she is only speaking the truth and yet she has no medical qualifications to back up her statements. In fact, some of her ‘advice’ is just wrong. Period.
In July of 2017, the Daily Mail wrote an article on the vegan vlogger because she had come out claiming that her diet could cleanse the body and stop your period. She also claimed that periods were a sign of toxicity in the body. Doctors were quick to ‘slam’ the blogger down because her ‘facts’ were dangerously wrong. One doctor stated: ‘This is a very dangerous idea and displays a complete lack of understanding of female biology and the human body in general. Periods are not bad or filled with toxins. This trend is alarming because it comes from someone who clearly has no understanding of periods or even biology in general and is just another form of body shaming.’ (The Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4553382/Health-bloggers-claim-periods-toxicity-leaving-body.html).
This story is one of the reasons I decided to write this post. As someone with PCOS, I know how important it is to menstruate and have your period. Having a regular period means your body is healthy, to completely miss months of your cycle generally means there is something wrong. Freelee likes to make it known that she has no interest in having children, however, her misinformed advice could be detrimental to someone who does!
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