Jared Knaubenbauer, known online by the Internet alias ProJared, is a male YouTuber who produces gaming-related content. Formerly a member of NormalBoots, he creates reviews of video games, particularly RPGs, and runs a specialized series titled One Minute Reviews. He first began uploading YouTube videos in 2010, and started to gain notoriety around 2013. His YouTube channel has over 800,000 subscribers as of 2019, while his secondary channel, which is dedicated to Let's Play videos, has over 250,000 subscribers.
Career[edit | edit source]
Before finding a career making online content, Knabenbauer was a member of Comedy City, an improv comedy group based in De Pere, Wisconsin, from 2001 to 2009. He worked as a store manager at GameStop in Green Bay, Wisconsin from 2004 to 2009. In 2009, he joined ScrewAttack, and remained a prominent member from then until 2011, during which he hosted, produced and edited a number of gaming-related shows. Among these are Hard News, a daily gaming news show; Reboot or Retro, in which he compared reboots of retro video games to their original counterparts; Newsroom, a comedy sketch show that satirized the gaming industry; and SideScrollers, a weekly podcast, which Knaubenbauer later started producing as videos instead. Simultaneously, Knaubenbauer was a store manager for GameAttack, a gaming storefront owned by ScrewAttack, in Highland Village, Texas until 2012.
Beyond his own YouTube series, Knabenbauer has made guest appearances in various online series, including videos uploaded by Game Grumps and PeanutButterGamer. Knaubenbauer appeared in a Nintendo Direct video for E3 2016, and was a guest on Dice, Camera, Action, a Dungeons & Dragons livestream show produced by Wizards of the Coast. He also made a cameo appearance in the pilot episode of the Nickelodeon children's TV sitcom Game Shakers.
YouTube career[edit | edit source]
Knabenbauer first joined YouTube and began uploading videos in 2006 under the name "DMJared". After later changing his channel name to "ProJared", he uploaded his first video game review, a video on the game Two Worlds, on September 17, 2010. The channel began rising in popularity in 2013. Since then, he has amassed over 900,000 subscribers and over 186 million views. Knabenbauer also runs a Let's Play Channel, called "ProJaredPlays", which has over 250,000 subscribers.
Controversy[edit | edit source]
On May 8, 2019, Knaubenbauer released a statement on Twitter in which he revealed that he and his wife, Heidi O'Ferrall, had filed for divorce after having been married since 2014. Knaubenbauer wrote that the decision was reached after extensive therapy sessions for both partners, and that "Heidi’s privacy, mental wellbeing, and discretion has always been and will remain my highest priority through all this". He also stated that people "may see a lot of rumors, speculation and gossip going around", and urged readers to draw their own conclusions based on their observations. Several minutes following this post, O'Ferrall made a series of posts on her Twitter account in which she claimed that Knaubenbauer had been cheating on her with Holly Conrad, a YouTube and the former wife of animator and Game Grumps member Ross O'Donovan, since Fall 2018. O'Ferrall alleged that Knaubenbauer had been secretly engaging in sexual activity with Conrad, which he denied vehemently upon questioning from her, and that she had evidence in the form of sexually explicit images and text conversations between the two which she discovered on Knaubenbauer's old cell phone. O'Ferrall also accused that Knaubenbauer had consistently acted abusively during the duration of her marriage, insisting to her that she was the one causing any problems in their relationship and making her feel guilty for questioning his loyalty. Additionally, O'ferrall claimed that he had spent several years sending nude photos to fans of his YouTube series via Snapchat and Tumblr, as well as requesting that they send their own in return, in what she initially perceived as an effort to create "a body-positive space for consenting adults" before learning that it had escalated beyond such a premise. Following this, nude images of Knaubenbauer began appearing online, and several alleged victims came out claiming that Knaubenbauer had engaged in sending sexually explicit photos to them as teenagers.
Following the allegations, Knaubenbauer faced extreme backlash from various members of his fanbase. Knaubenbauer's YouTube channel, which had recently surpassed 1,000,000 subscribers, suffered a considerable drop in sub count, losing 30,000 subscribers in less than a day. He has since lost over 120,000 subscribers, according to Social Blade, bringing his total to a little over 900,000 subscribers. Members of r/projared, the subreddit page dedicated to Knaubenbauer's channel, quickly turned on Knaubenbauer, with administrators removing Knaubenbauer as a moderator and replacing the page's description with simply "jared cheated on his wife". The subreddit shifted in focus to instead center around YouTube creators JonTron and Scott the Woz, in addition to memes posted shaming and making fun of Knaubenbauer's alleged actions. In a public statement on their website, NormalBoots revealed that they would be ending their partnership with Knaubenbauer, as well as updating its social media use policy to reflect their stance on the issue, revealing that they had been informed of the allegations since receiving an email in April 2019, and assuring a commitment on their part to maintaining a safe space for all creators and viewers. Gaming YouTube channel Game Grumps, which had uploaded several Let's Play videos featuring Knaubenbauer as a guest, began removing these videos in light of the controversy.