I love RWBY on RoosterTeeth. So when they came out with a new webseries called Camp Camp last year, I thought that everything would be great. The show was about a summer camp that was not doing so well and so the only counselors were one overly enthusiastic boy named David, a girl named Gwen who hates her job, and a man named the Quartermaster who has a hook for one hand and is supposed to be the “creepy” character. The camp lied about being different types of camp, so they have kids who thought it was theatre camp, a kid who thinks its space camp, a kid named Max who is basically the enemy of David as he hates camp and just wants to go home, and a few other characters. The show was basically made to make fun of summer camp and summer camp shows with their perfect lives and the perfect kids where all you have to worry about is someone putting bugs in your cabin. These kids basically hate camp, curse, act crazy half the time, and can’t understand why David just loves the crappy camp so much. I didn’t particularly like the show, but it was a fun thing to watch in between episodes of RWBY Chibi last summer, so I kept up with it until the last episode.
This year, I was debating whether I really wanted to watch it again, but in the end I decided, “Why not give it a shot?” The first episode had just come out recently, so I went on Youtube to watch it. In the episode, Gwen has found a secret stash of money and wanted to hire another counselor. David was excited when the first job applicant came, and he was basically the same as him. (Literally, it was his exact personality, and his exact character, wearing white clothes and with blonde hair). Gwen leaves because she cannot take the idea of having a second David around, and so now David and “Daniel” are left on their own. You see a newspaper flip over saying that a cult leader who basically killed all the members of his previous camp is on the loose, and shows a picture of this “Daniel”. When David introduces Daniel to the kids, Max sees that when David leaves Daniel starts talking to them about spiritual things and tries to get them to allow themselves to be cleansed from the negative energy from space. Max thinks that Daniel is some sort of cult leader, but David doesn’t believe him. When they go back, Daniel has prepared a gas chamber for the kids to go into to cleanse themselves, but when they come out they are in all white clothes and they are complete husks of themselves, basically brainwashed. Some are making a sort of Kool-Aid drink for them all to drink so that they can finish the cleansing process, and finally be free. Max knows that something is up with the drink and that they will die if they drink it, and so he convinces David that Daniel is a better counselor than him and goes into the chamber. David tries to fire Daniel, but since Daniel fulfills the job requirement he legally can’t fire him for some reason, David says that Daniel can’t sing camp songs, they go into a sing-off, Daniel sings the villain song and says he is going to sacrifice the children once they drink the Kool-Aid, drinks the kool-aid as part of the song, and basically accidentally kills himself. He goes off in an ambulance, Gwen comes back with a second “evil” counselor, and the episode ends. Funny episode right? WRONG.
The community of Jonestown in northern Guyana was formed by the Peoples Temple, a religious organization lead by a man named Jim Jones. He moved all of his people there when they moved from several American locations to create their own paradise. Their own socialist/communist paradise. It wasn’t people from communist nations that made up the community, it was actually 70% African American. Everything seemed perfect, until Jim Jones showed signs of mental illness. He was constantly in fear of capitalists coming to take his paradise away from him and kill all the people. He decided that the best way for them to die would be to take their own lives, so he would have drills called “White Nights” where he would have the intercom system that went throughout the community tell all the people to come to the main building, and in the main building there was a drink mix that he said had poison that would kill them within 45 minutes. Everyone would think it was the real deal, but then the time would be up and he would tell them it was simply a test of loyalty.
Throughout the years of 1977-1978, the Peoples Temple planned to move to another country, and relatives of those who lived in the community were becoming concerned for their safety. More and more members tried to leave the camp, and some were actually allowed to go. However, as they waited for the plane to leave, one of the members began to shoot them, killing several of them. That same day, November 18 1978, Jones told all of the members of the camp to drink the Kool-Aid mixture that he had made, that it was better than the troubles that would lay ahead of them, and killed himself soon after they had followed his directions. 918 people total died that day, 909 of them by drinking the mixture at the camp. This was the largest loss of American civilian life ever recorded until 9/11.
So almost 1000 people died in this massacre, not because of some silly gas chamber, but because they honestly believed, regular people honestly believed that the man Jim Jones was telling them the truth, and now people joke about it? How many times have you heard someone say “Don’t drink the kool-aid” to mean “Don’t follow the crowd”. And now, even Roosterteeth, one of my favorite companies, has the audacity to publish an entire webseries episode making a joke out of this horrible event. No one even disliked the episode because of it. Out of the 343,000 views, only 121 people so far have disliked it. It doesn’t even make a dent in the like bar, for all people know it could have been a fluke. And its not like cults aren’t around anymore. People still put their trust in others who either claim to be holy beings or claim to be the leaders of a religious organization who will protect them. Now while I don’t shame those people, they could honestly believe what the people are saying, and it could happen to literally anyone. However, it also means that if another cult leader came up who decided to create a massacre like that one, it could affect many. Not even 9/11 was orchestrated by one person, but Jim Jones was the ultimate leader of this group and all the orders came directly from him. Google the images of the Jonestown Massacre, I won’t even link them here because they are so disturbing. It really puts into perspective the number of people who were killed from this event.
While I don’t like posting about specifically negative things on my blog, when I realized that no one else was going to call out Roosterteeth and the creators of Camp Camp for publishing this episode making fun of the deaths of nearly 1000 people, I realized that I absolutely had to do something. I couldn’t sit here and allow this to happen! Most people don’t even know that the massacre occurred, they probably just thought that it was either a small scale thing or a completely unique plot line. Some people in the comments even applauded Rooster Teeth for having current events in their cartoon. This isn’t having a current event in the cartoon, it is mocking the deaths of 918 people. It isn’t approaching the topic with respect and raising awareness, it is simply making light of it. Someone made an advertisement last year about a 9/11 sale, stacked up 2 stacks of mattresses and fell on them as a part of the skit, and people completely lost it. That’s an ad, no longer than 2 minutes on the full Youtube version. This is a 13 minute long episode that focuses SOLELY on this topic.
Please share this and let more people know about how wrong it was for Roosterteeth to allow something like this to be posted. For the families of those 918 people that were killed, and for those who managed to escape the community, running away from their friends and family on a hunch that something was wrong, and who have to see and hear a tarnishing of their names as a joke. I hope that more people will know about it, and maybe even Roosterteeth will take down the episode eventually.
Link to the episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcL-fGTc27g