Nikki and Dan Phillippi killed their dog and folks are still big mad.
And now she’s back!
I’m 809 years late to this, but as I live and breathe for What I Eat In a Day videos I’ve always loosely followed Nikki. She got into some MLM scammy anti-vax nonsense and seemingly didn’t want to adopt a kid because they couldn’t profit from it on social media, but I honestly don’t care. I don’t even care about this but it seemed like a good opportunity to ramble nonsensically about why I find cancel culture ineffective in enacting any real change for the benefit of society.
Anyway, they killed Bowser, their dog, for biting their child (by Dan’s own admission the bite wasn’t bad…). They say euthanize, but eh. They’ve also had this dog for as long as they’ve been married.
The reaction to this news online was understandably not positive in part because the video is too long (much like my blog posts) and Nikki appears to be putting on a show for the camera – drinking coffee, making odd faces, constantly looking at her man. The video generally explained nothing in terms of what behavior made Bowser so threatening. People were ragging on Dan for his Old Yeller comment since it made no sense given Yeller was sick, but as someone with an extremely dark sense of humor, I can’t say I wouldn’t have said something similar. Nikki was dropped from all her sponsors and went social media dark for a couple of months.
Now, by their own admission, their child (who’s like 1) would pester Bowser when he slept/ate, take his food, and follow him around even when Bowser was clearly annoyed. It doesn’t sound as if they did anything to discourage this behavior, or separate them until the kid was old enough to stop (in her comeback video, she doesn’t address any of this, nor clarify anything other than to say what they originally said was true which, they said nothing of merit then either). They mention talking with multiple professionals, the Humane society – no one recommended more training or rehoming? This lack of training goes way back because they say Bowser was traumatized as a puppy and always had issues with aggression; yet during all that time before having a kid they didn’t bother dealing with those issues? (In her comeback video, she admits they downplayed how aggressive Bowser really was but doesn’t provide any further details).
Herein lies the perils of oversharing – she could’ve made a Instagram post saying, “hey guyz, sad newz but we had to put our dog, Bowser, down. Thoughts n’ Prayers ™ plz.” But that wouldn’t get clicks n’ views the same way a twenty-some minute video and pre-death photo shoot would.
In a way, it’s hard to feel sorry because she really dug her own grave.
That said, I will forever be a proponent of giving people the chance to learn from their mistakes and return as better individuals, particularly if their offenses aren’t criminal. Cancel culture usually doesn’t even help victims as it takes away their power to enact justice the way they want, it doesn’t encourage people to change, nor does it benefit society other than people feeling momentarily justified because they’ve involved themselves in something that didn’t effect them. The resulting vitriol from cancel culture often outweighs whatever the initial muck-up was – like in what multiverse does threatening to kill someone’s child because they euthanized their dog seem justifiable?
Cancel culture isn’t consequences either as most consequences don’t come from a genuine place, but rather from harassing companies and individuals until they bend to their feelings. It’s rooted in a fear of corporations having too much power and the result is often performative activism, which is useless.
Some of these fears are justified. Considering how Harvey Weinstein and other powerful men were protected for years by Hollywood, it’s easy to see why people resort to public measures to draw attention to injustices. Social media can be a good tool to give minorities a voice against the powers that be, but often it’s used to disportionately punish individuals for mistakes, sometimes mistakes they’ve made years ago, indefinitely. Or during a time when those things were socially acceptable.
In the end, it does more harm than good. Those who are ostracized will simply find other platforms to voice themselves (or just elect another Donald Trump who doesn’t care). The end result is a more divided society with lines political parties weaponize to gain power, and keep us broke and fighting each other over social issues.
So does Nikki deserve a second chance?
Sort of. I generally find it concerning we’re becoming okay with cutting off people’s ability to support themselves financially because they do or say something offensive. It sets a bad precedent. Societies have always swung between conservative and liberal climates – do we really want to set a climate where doing something that’s not “in” causes you lose your ability to financially provide for yourself?
Second, from a Biblical perspective, Jesus says forgive like seventy times seventy times so particularly as Christians we should give second chances. Granted, forgiveness should also accompany repentance: a confession (acknowledgement of something wrong) and a change in behavior, sometimes reconciliation if possible. Too often Christians offer forgiveness without demanding repentance first.
The problem here though is that Bowser is dead and most of those attacking Nikki have no personal ties to him – so what is the goal of all this outrage? Will it bring Bowser back to life, or encourage the Phillippis to be better towards their pets in the future? No. There is no end-game here in which anything improves for any of the involved parties. It’s little more than a chance for people to feel morally superior because hey, you might send a child/family death threats, tell someone to kill themselves, threaten to call CPS on them to have their child taken away, and bully them out of a job, but you’d never hurt an animal, amirite?
Conversely, whatever regrets Nikki might’ve had over her decision to kill Bowser will only get washed away by the sense that the hate directed towards her is unfair. After all, in her mind what she did was justifiable given Bowser presented a threat to her child and they supposedly exhausted all other options. And the problem with that stems from one’s worldview, and people who don’t view the world the way she does simply won’t understand. If you don’t place animal lives on the same level as human lives, what difference will it make to Nikki – killing a dog for biting her kid, or killing a cow for meat – so long as it benefits her? Ultimately, the hate she’s getting won’t encourage her to see why her actions were wrong, but rather to seek out those who don’t think it’s a big deal for the sake of preserving her mental health. Any valid criticism that might cause her to consider killing your dog because he’s inconvenient to your current lifestyle and exploiting his death for views is awful only gets lost in the mire of unrelated hate, while those around her agree that it’s all unfair and she did what was best for her family.
So, TL;DR: yes, she deserves a second chance, conditionally. Ideally, Nikki and Dan realize they made a terrible mistake, delete the original video, apologize for trying to profit off Bowser’s murder, donate some money to local animal shelters while encouraging their fans to do the same, and then reflect on why they felt the need to share this in the first place. Won’t bring Bowser back, but it shows a willingness to take responsibility for making a really, really bad decision and then trying to make money from it. After a few months, they’d probably be able to return to YouTube and those who choose not to support them could do so, while those who’ll forgive can also do so.
Sadly, Nikki did come back with another video and simply dug herself 6 feet below by being overly vague about everything, promoting her Patreon account, and talking about not wanting to be cancelled because YouTube is her family’s primary source of income.
The love of money really is the root of all evil.