A story so remarkable that it’s hard to find words is the one about Mariia Karpenko, also known as Fenix Fatalist, a favorite cosplay artist from Ukraine, and a YouTube video that tried to make her out to be a murderer. She has called the YouTuber out on it using her TikTok channel, and posited a very intriguing question that deserves an answer.
The YouTube channel TurkeyTom has 768k subscribers, and one particular video, entitled “E-Girls Who Are Horrible Criminals,” has been viewed almost a million times. At 6:00 into the video, the narrator begins talking about a Florida resident named Melissa Rose Turner. She went to college and racked up debt, so she turned to the internet to make money by first becoming a cam girl and making adult videos.
However, her life took a drastic turn for the worse when she found herself in an altercation with her boyfriend and took his life. The Tampa Bay Times reports that she was convicted of second-degree murder in 2022, and is now serving 20 years in prison. All of that is fact, but where the video gets it wrong is by using an image of Mariia Karpenko in its report at the time the narrator says that Turner was grieving her loss. Whether the YouTuber or someone on the editing team somehow mistook Karpenko for Turner, deliberately used a still of the wrong person, or some other scenario entirely, is not known at this time.
The picture in the YouTube video of Karpenko was actually taken from her Instagram where she is recounting fleeing her war-torn native country, Ukraine. She’s posting that she’s alive, as are her friends and family. She had to go through a lot to escape, but she managed. In the meantime, her husband remained behind, and she feels guilty that she ran.
That’s definitely understandable. So, when she finally returns home and comes across the picture of her being used in a video about a murderer, imagine her shock and disbelief. It prompted one very good question from her and that is, why was that particular picture used?
It’s possible that the video maker believed no one would ever make such a random connection. With almost a million views, that risk was calculated very badly. Now, the backlash is getting ruthless as YouTube users are calling the channel out on it.
Anna posted, “you made a mistake, you used a photo of a girl who is not crime on 9:50 also used the photo from the video where the girl is crying because a war has started in her country. this is slander, and the context is even more horrific”
Lighterfo XXX wrote, “I would like to mention that it is kinda disrespectful to use a picture of someone who was crying of the trauma she got for escaping her home country in Ukraine and had to left everything behind for her safety.”
Катя Худякова scolded, “On 9.50 you use a photo of Ukrainian cosplayer Fenix Fatalist depicting her as a criminal. This photo was taken while she was crying because russia invaded Ukraine. And you took that moment to depict her as some criminal… Do you realise that what you did was in incredibly poor taste?”
Mariia Karpenko, the Fenix Fatalist, has 114K followers on Instagram, 179K followers on Facebook, and nearly 10K subscribers on YouTube as well as being mentioned all across the internet. The use of her picture won’t change any of that, even though it would have been shocking for anyone, but TurkeyTom needs to do a little better.