The ongoing saga on DeafVideo.TV is a convoluted tale, beginning with AFA’s inception in early March, prompting Barry Sewell to accuse AFA of being an extension of DBC, which has been denied by both organizations.
This led to CherylfromMA and InsaneMisha, two prominent vloggers/commenters and strong supporters of Barry, to gradually over time, question his motives when it came to AFA and DBC. Barry’s comments increasingly turned personal and it was clear to observers that he was deliberately pushing people’s buttons to incite a reaction. CherylfromMA and InsaneMisha’s break from Barry, however, was not apparent until they attended the AFA rally against AG Bell on April 3, 2009, sending shock waves through the vlogosphere.
Afterwards, the lurkers, commenters and vloggers witnessed a vicious, tragic deterioration of Barry’s friendship with the two, particularly with CherylfromMA. One of the most stark examples of this rift is Cheryl’s video comment calling Barry a controller and a destroyer.
Despite this loss of support and friendship, Barry continued his ‘questioning’ of AFA and thier supporters, ultimately leading to more of the Signing Circle supporters to withdraw from him. Not surprisingly, AFA celebrated the defection of CherylfromMA, InsaneMisha and the others, which only led to Barry being further incited against the organization.
At this point, it seemed that AFA was winning the public relations battle on DVTV, due to Barry’s rapid loss of supporters and mass defections to AFA. Things took a twist however, when Cobi, Barry’s son created a vlog mocking AFA by using the Aflac duck commercials. That vlog can be found here.
At first, people thought it was Barry who created the vlog, but when it was revealed that it was actually his son, people were outraged. They could not believe that a fourteen year old would do this, solely on his own, as Cobi and Barry claimed. Many also viewed this as a perfect example of how prejudice comes into existence.
People at first engaged Cobi in a dialogue, particularly Ella Mae Lentz. However, this turned heated, when some of the commenters began telling Cobi that his father needed to grow up, that they found his family disgusting and so on, for allowing him to do this. One commenter even stated to Cobi that controlling parents can lead bright and mature children to kill them.
This led to some other commenters to call for a halt to this, since they felt this was bullying Cobi. The comments targeting Cobi slowly reduced after that, and Barry and Cobi remained steadfast, refusing to apologize or take down the vlog. This in turn, led to Aidan Mack creating a vlog discussing brainwashing, and in that vlog, she accused Barry of brainwashing his female followers. That vlog was then removed by Tayler, and Aidan uploaded the same vlog, only with the accusation against Barry edited out.
Aidan went on to accuse Tayler of censorship, prompting him to make this vlog, pointing out that only .09% of the vlogs, have been removed. Less than a half percent.
As things stand right now, the dispute between Barry and AFA continues with both sides pressuring Tayler to keep Aidan’s brainwashing vlog up, or to remove it. Tayler made another vlog here, discussing the pressuring emails.
Not only that, but Barry’s relentless questioning of AFA and DBC has led to public acknowledgment by Ella Mae Lentz and others that they do consider cochlear implants to be audistic. There’s a private sentiment amongst observers that this has turned into a televised Roman amphitheater, and I share that sentiment. However, I would not be surprised if someday, years from now, historians or anthropologists pieced together this saga into a documentary. On the surface, it might seem merely like a sordid public display of friendships being torn apart and personal vendettas and grievances…
But upon closer examination, one does realize that the current saga provides an unique insight into Deaf culture, deaf identity politics, audism and most of all, into the human psyche.