Zoe Sugg also known as Zoella on youtube recently released her book Girl Online which is about Penny, a blogger who suddenly becomes famous after meeting a rockstar. Zoe’s book broke all sale records for a debut novel, her book even broke J.K Rowling’s record, but what the media and her followers are concerned with is the ghostwritten scandal that surfaced after Penguin Publishing House confirmed that she did not write it entirely on her own. Ghostwriting is when an author agrees to write a book under someone else’s name.
This confirmation from the publishing house caused an uproar across social medias and many followers of Zoe claimed to have been lied and betrayed to while others admitted that they don’t really care who wrote it as long as it has an enjoyable storyline.
After all the negative messages that Zoe received she decided to take a break from Vlogmas which is when she posts daily vlogs on her second channel during the month of December. Regarding her break she tweeted, “Bare with me on Vlogmas. I’m taking a few days out and off the internet because it’s clouding up my brain. Thanks for understanding.”
Many saw this break as her running away from her problems and admitting to using a ghostwriter and when Zoe was asked was asked about the ghostwriting she said, “...of course I was going to have help from Penguin’s editorial team...The story and the characters of Girl Online are mine.”
What fueled more to the growing fire was the ghostwriter ,Siobhan Curham’s responses to her followers on twitter thanking the people that wrote their support for the supposed unfairness concerning Girl Online’s fame they said that Curham deserved more recognition for being involved in the book. This caused two fighting sides of an impossible argument between those who support Zoe wholeheartedly and those who see Curham as a victim and Zoe as a fame tool.
A few days ago Zoe began to post Vlogmas videos again and Curham decided to clear up all the online hate on both sides and posted on her blog, Dare to Dream that “ I did have some issues with how the project was managed...issues which have nothing to do with Zoe..” She actually praised Zoe for “ becoming a digital ambassador for the mental health charity mind” and she said, “ I’ve seen at first hand how caring and considerate Zoe is” this proves that Curham had nothing against Zoe which some fans thought was true.
As a writer I see the ghostwriting controversy as a situation that should not cause so much uproar if the ghostwriter accepts to write for someone else. The hate and negative attention that Zoe is receiving is unfair and mostly caused by the vague information that the media gives out. Zoe does not deserve to be hated or scorned since she did have an input in Girl Online, she wrote her own experiences with her anxiety and other problems that teenagers have. I agree with some individual's opinion concerning Zoe being used as a publicity tool by the Penguin Publishing house but I don't see it as entirely her fault especially since she always thinks of her followers when it comes to doing things such as launching a beauty line and writing a book.
Many youtubers are always being judged for falling into the stereotypical advertisements of promoting several companies and more commonly now accepting book deals. Zoe is an easy target for some since she is in the media's eyes constantly which seems rather unfair since they always twist her actions to damage her image when all she is a very honest and caring person that loves her followers and does the best for them and their well being. It's understandable for some fans of her to feel betrayed and lied to but they shouldn't be so quick to judge her actions without knowing the full story.