Although YouTube comic Michael Henry is loved for his humorous videos, he’s also shown he’s not afraid to broach more serious topics.
Last year he released a short movie called Adjacent. It explored the issue of sexual consent, and how a fun night out with friends on the gay scene can turn into something else entirely when things don’t go as planned with a hookup.
His latest video touches upon abusive partners. It starts in lighthearted fashion, with Michael gossiping with two friends about having an anal wart frozen. However, the laughs dry up when one of the friends, played by Darren Bluestone, reveals that he’s back in a relationship… with his toxic ex-boyfriend.
“Is this real or a joke?” asks a straight-faced Michael, before he and his other friend (played by Roz Hernandez) remind Darren of all the problematic or abusive ways in which the boyfriend has previously behaved, including physical violence.
“I wish you could see him the way that I see him,” explains lovestruck Darren, before going on to excuse his fictional boyfriend as “feisty”, “passionate” and “rowdy”, and makes claims that “he’s changed.”
“Does he still call you ‘stupid’ and ‘pathetic’ and ‘fat’?” asks Roz.
“You think I’m being abused? Give me a break,” replies Darren, who goes on to explain that, “I love him.”
“Sometimes love isn’t enough,” cautions Michael.
Many viewers were moved by the short video.
“You can actually feel the pain of this conversation,” said one comment under the video. “The hurt you experience when you watch a friend self-destruct in an abusive relationship leaves you with the most heart-wrenching, powerless feeling.”
Another said, “Usually I’m cackling all the way through Michael’s videos but this one hit really hard. It’s painful to hear these things that I’ve both heard and said in the past. Thanks for making this and releasing it.”
Drag queen Trixie Mattel was among those to highlight the video online.
— Trixie Mattel™ (@trixiemattel) October 6, 2021
In his YouTube caption, Michael includes contact details for anyone who might be experiencing similar issues.
“If you or someone you know is experiencing Intimate Partner Violence please reach out to: Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project at 1800-832-1901 or The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1800-787-3223.”