YouTube star Eugenia Cooney is a 22 year old from Connecticut, and despite a following of nearly a million people, a Change.org petition demanding that she be banned has accumulated more than 18,000 signatures. The petition claims the vlogger’s physical appearance in each video reveals she has an eating disorder, which may indirectly inspire other young girls to lose an unhealthy amount of weight.

Cooney explains in a recent video titled “Sorry” how her videos' intentions aren’t to promote weight loss. “I’m sorry to anyone I’m angering or upsetting because I seriously never mean to do that. I feel like so many people on the internet hate me right now and seem to think I’m a really bad person. They think I’m too skinny or have a ‘problem.’ They say I’m a bad influence on girls, but I’ve never encouraged or told people to look like me.”

Cooney discusses her own struggles with bullying in school and says she’s used to the negative attention, however she doesn’t want to encourage more bad behavior from commenters and fans. Other vloggers have made videos on how unhealthy Cooney appears to be and even request that viewers stop visiting her pages in order to cut off her fan base. Accusers believe that because she makes money off the hits from YouTube from her extremely thin physique, she’s not incentivized to gain back healthy weight.

 

 

A photo posted by Eugenia Cooney (@eugeniacooney) on Oct 18, 2016 at 9:28am PDT

 

Cooney continues in her video: “Some people have been titling videos with very dramatic things, like ‘Eugenia Cooney died’ or ‘Eugenia Cooney might die soon’ but don’t worry guys; I’m not dead or gonna die right now. Don’t worry, I’m alive and okay. The whole situation has been really upsetting.”    

The petition has since been removed from Change.org, and although its creator claims their intention wasn’t to insult or belittle her, Cooney expresses a visceral reaction throughout the video response. Accusers argue she is unintentionally influencing her viewers, from young girls who have reportedly lost weight after watching Cooney’s videos to girls already struggling with anorexia who envy her figure.

“My little cousin lost 17lbs because she wanted to look like Eugenia. She is now receiving care,” wrote one commenter on the petition. “She’s only 12 years old.”

According to the National Eating Disorder Association, anorexia nervosa is a serious and potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss. Between 90 to 95 percent of those who suffer from anorexia are girls and women. Up to 20 percent of those struggling with the dangerous eating disorder will die. While Cooney claims she’s healthy and naturally skinny, anorexia is one of the most deadly mental health conditions to date because of its ability to mask the physically noticeable signs of illness from its victims. 

Read more about anorexia and how those with the condition exhibit different brain activity from healthy eaters.