Roman Atwood mysteriously disappeared from the internet in January 2020 and left viewers of his daily vlogs without an explanation. TenEighty investigates the family tragedy, legal cases and lack of motivation that may have led to him stepping back…
Roman Atwood and his wife Brittney Atwood are known for posting family vlogs featuring his son, Noah, and their children, Kane and Cora. While Roman initially became popular for posting prank videos on his old channel, he stepped away in 2016 to focus on his vlog content.
Roman and his family had been posting to their Roman Atwood Vlogs channel since 2013. Forbes valued Roman’s net worth in excess of $2.5 million in 2015, while he had achieved more then 15 million subscribers to his vlog channel.
It rose in popularity with Roman’s daily vlogs, which he maintained for years with only minimal time away from uploading. In 2019, he took a break from uploading videos, but returned to his daily vlogs until 31 December 2019.
“There will be another vlog tomorrow,” Roman said in BIGGEST Happy New Years!!, the last video uploaded to his vlog channel. It would be the last video he posted before going silent online, and no further explanation was given as to why the next video was never posted.
Comments on his last video quickly turned to the lack of videos being posted. “Who else is hoping that Roman and his family are okay?” One YouTube viewer commented.
“The problem people have isn’t that he left, it’s that he left without notice.”
On 16 February 2020, Roman and Brittney surprised their followers by tweeting to celebrate Brittney’s birthday. “Happy birthday to my soulmate!” Roman said. Brittney tweeted: “Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes! Love you all so much!”
“You say you love us, but haven’t even been talking to us since New Years. So what’s up?” One user replied on Twitter. Another said: “It’s quite obvious they’ve forgotten who has made them rich and famous. It wasn’t just Roman making those videos day in and day out, it was everybody watching those videos supporting their favourite YouTube family.”
Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes! ♥️♥️ love you all so much! 😍
— Brittney Atwood (@_little_britt_) February 16, 2020
These tweets marked the last time fans would hear from the Atwood family before they stepped back from the internet. In debates online, viewers have discussed the creator/viewer divide and how they felt they were owed an explanation as to why Roman and his family had disappeared.
“The problem people have isn’t that he left, it’s that he left without notice,” one user commented. “People have built up psedo-relationships with vloggers. They feel like a part of the family because they watch them every day for years.”
Theories on social media have grown in recent months, with some speculating that Roman had lost his passion for creating videos and wanted to take a break. Viewers were quick to defend the creator by suggesting that even when Roman had previously lacked motivation for creating content, he’d always been open with his audience and explained how he felt.
In May 2019, Roman’s mother Susan Atwood tragically died after falling off a scooter and hitting her head while the family were travelling. “My heart is so heavy. We are all broken over here. My mom was everything to us,” Roman said in a social media post after the event. Viewers had commented that Roman’s father Curtis Atwood struggled to cope with the death and that Roman may have taken time away from the internet to look after his family in 2020.
“I’ve never sued anyone in my life, and now we have to, as a business, protect our brand. It’s just nutty.”
Viewers had also suggested that Roman may have been forced to stop posting videos due to a legal case with his popular Smile More Store. In July 2019, Roman posted a video titled We’re Getting Sued, in which he said, “We are getting sued, and in order to protect our brand we have to counter that. It’s not fun; I hate this stuff.”
Roman successfully won a similar previous lawsuit regarding the trademark “Smile More” with “a line underneath the words, starting and connecting from under the ‘S’ to finishing and connecting under the ‘O'” in October 2018. “I kind of regret not telling you guys when we were in the last [lawsuit],” Roman says in his video about the lawsuit. “It was a lot of stress involved and I always hid it. I’ve never sued anyone in my life, and now we have to, as a business, protect our brand. It’s just nutty.”
— dixie normus (@knloibel3) April 25, 2020
While viewers have speculated that posting content about the Smile More Store and promoting the brand may have been restricted during the legal battle, others agree it’s unlikely the legal proceedings would forbid Roman from posting any videos or social media content at all.
Some viewers began to comment on social media posts of Roman’s friends like Brian Carle, looking for more information about his social media disappearance. In one post, a fan commented: “Thousands of people message him on Twitter and YouTube everyday worried. Is Roman and the family okay? Can you say something, so I can try to start spreading the message to his community that he is okay?” In a rare response, Brian replied: “Everything is fine.” He also claimed in other comments that Roman and his family were “resting”.
Another comment from a friend of Roman’s on a different post read: “They’re all safe, but, yes, dealing with stuff, they will be back soon!”
Energy drink formula brand GFuel, who have previously worked with Roman, also responded to a comment asking why the family had been absent online. They responded saying that he was spending time with his family and that he’d soon return.
“He left to spend more time with his family – he’ll be back soon enough. Trust.”
While Roman and his family have not been sharing any content online, viewers have confirmed they are still receiving orders from the Smile More Store. Brian Carle had confirmed he was still employed by the company by responding with a thumbs-up emoji when asked if he was still working for Roman.
Many Twitter users have shared pictures after receiving items from the brand in 2020, and their online shop is still accepting orders. However, the Smile More Store Twitter account @SmileMoreStore has not tweeted since 5 December 2019.
Although Roman has not been promoting the store in his videos, in 2019 he began working with other creators who became brand ambassadors. Chloe Donald and Tina Phillips are amongst those who continue to promote discount codes for the store and generate additional sales.
While there haven’t been any new videos posted, Roman’s vlog channel videos still received over 10 million views in April 2020, many of which feature him talking about the store and promoting its products. This has reassured fans that while Roman is absent online, his business continues to generate income and fulfil the orders it receives.
@SmileMoreStore so my sticker just came yesterday honestly so happy with it roll on until I can put it on my motorbike 😍😍 I’m an anarchist that will happily promote the smilemore store best purchase ever payday I’ll be ordering loads more stuff 😍😍
— Drew-smith-allen (@Drewallen2121) May 10, 2020
It isn’t clear when Roman will return to posting content on his YouTube channel, although sources close to the family have suggested it is only a temporary break while the family rest. In the meantime, his channel continues to promote his positive message of telling viewers to stay positive and “smile more”.
- The 6 Craziest Shane Dawson Conspiracy Theories
- 4 Creators Making Music During Lockdown
- Video Spotlight: Unproductive in a Pandemic
- Five of the Best: Animal Crossing Videos
- How Streaming Platforms Are Cornering The Coronavirus Market