Kevin Samuels is the rising internet superstar getting all the buzz—and controversy—thanks to his live YouTube show where he discusses dating and marriage. Currently he has 1.15 million subscribers, over 185 million views, and numerous videos with over a million views. Many of his catchphrases like “average at best” and “high-value man” have begun to enter the mainstream lexicon.
It’s not all roses, though. Samuels has drawn a lot of criticism thanks to his brash treatment of callers on his show. In fact, a recent petition to remove him from YouTube and Instagram has garnered 30,000 signatures. These critics accuse him of being misogynist and spreading hate.
So what’s the unbiased truth? I decided to dive a little deeper into Kevin Samuels to figure it out.
Who Is Kevin Samuels?
Samuels is a self-proclaimed image consultant offering lifestyle and fashion advice for men and women of all backgrounds. In one video a caller mentions that he charges “$1,000 an hour” for this service.
In interviews, Samuels has said he originally went to college for engineering but ultimately moved into corporate sales, which gave him insight into image and economy. According to him, while working as an image consultant, he quickly realized a need: large groups of both men and women were unable to connect romantically because they didn’t understand one another’s needs.
On top of his YouTube channel, Samuels also runs a private dating group called “The Mix.” He claims this group has produced numerous marriages.
Kevin Samuels YouTube
Samuels’s YouTube videos are usually segments or recordings of live YouTube shows where he discusses specific aspects of dating and then takes callers. The callers are almost exclusively women, and Samuels usually gives blunt advice.
The channel took off at the end of 2020 with a video entitled “Mother of 2 Believes She’s the Prize.” This was followed up with another success “You’re Average at Best.” As can be seen in these videos, Samuels mainly focuses on expectations.
He talks to women looking for a specific kind of man, which Samuels calls “high value.” These are men making over $120,000 a year who have a network of other high-value men and are visibly successful. Often with a harsh tone, he informs callers of what men in this category want in return, a kind of woman many would classify as a “traditional housewife.” Moreover, he tells women these men are looking for young, attractive, agreeable women.
Samuels uses a number of catchphrases and catchy sound effects to drive home his points. These include: a dog bark to signal a woman whose dating expectations are so high she should just buy a pet instead; the “Danger Zone” soundbite from the Archer TV series to signal a woman aged 27-35 who is reaching the end of her reproductive window and is therefore less attractive to men; and taps music to signal a woman whose high or unrealistic expectations have destroyed her own love life.
Criticism of Kevin Samuels
The foundation of criticism against Samuels is that he’s cruel to callers. He frequently tells women they’re not as attractive as they think they are, that they’re overweight, and sometimes that their expectations of men are “insane.” Some people have suggested these exchanges are actually staged.
Furthermore, critics claim Samuels promotes a traditional worldview repressive to women. He frequently berates “modern women” and the feminist narrative that tells women they can have it all. He often tells women high-value men want “submissive” and “agreeable” women.
The more intense critics accuse Samuels of promoting a culture and results in “violence against women,” and he is participating in “red pill” and “incel” culture. Others have accused him of promoting white supremacy due to his “Eurocentric” beauty standards, even though Samuels himself is African-American.
My Unbiased Opinion
Any criticism accusing Samuels of inciting violence is just absurd on the face of it. It seems these days that we can dismiss any speech we disagree with as “inciting violence” even though Samuels has simply never said anything about violence on his show.
Accusations of misogyny or promoting hatred are more nuanced and debatable. While Samuels does seemingly encourage women to assume a traditional gender role, I don’t believe his advice is “misogyny” or even traditionalism.
Why? Essentially, Samuels tries to provide callers with a more “realistic” view of the dating market where people who want something specific from a spouse will have to provide something specific in return. Those who can’t provide enough will have to lower their “price” so to speak.
Women who call into the show have very strict expectations and stipulations up front, which Samuels usually asks about first. Specifically, these women want wealthy men, some giving a desired salary of $500,000 a year. Samuels attempts to illustrate for these women exactly what they’ll have to bring to the table to get a man like this, and if they can’t, how they’ll have to lower their expectations.
In other words, these women want a provider, which is the traditional male gender role. Samuels points out that they can’t demand the traditional male gender role without offering the traditional female gender role in return.
In numerous videos and interviews, Samuels has stated that if you want something different out of life, that’s fine. However, telling women that if they expect things from a man, the man should have every right to expect things from them, is hardly misogyny.
On the other hand, I do believe Samuels uses certain unconstructive communication methods with his guests and often goes beyond “tough love” and into simply being rude and unhelpful. Most specifically, I believe he leads many callers into traps that embarrass them in front of an audience simply for views.
Finally, I also wish he would provide the same tough-love-type content for men as well. Surely there are many men out there with equally unrealistic expectations who would benefit from a recalibration on the dating market.
In the meantime, it will be interesting to see if Samuels’s meteoric rise reflects a true need of the culture. Will he be a star for the foreseeable future, or is he a one-hit wonder? Will he get canceled? We’ll have to watch and see.