A very popular video content creator from South Korea has come under fire for making “horrifying” videos of herself feasting on live seafood like octopus, squid and prawn.
Ssoyoung is a popular youtuber whose content can be described s a mix of ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) and ‘mukbang’ (online videos in which a host consumes large quantities of food while interacting with an audience).
What she does is to basically record herself eating all sorts of stuff and using high fidelity audio equipment to enhance the sound of her chewing for her viewers’ pleasure.
With over 3.4 million subscribers, a check on her page shows that videos of her eating live seafood get more views than most of the others.
By combining ASMR and mukbang, Ssoyoung managed to capture the attention of two of the most popular niches on YouTube.
Animal activists and fellow content creators are among those who have been criticising her actions.
It all started with Ethan Klein, of H3H3 fame, posting a video of the “atrocities” committed by Ssoyoung which features several instances of her sticking live octopuses and squids in her mouth or cooking them alive as their tentacles spasm.
Ever since Klein’s video went live on April 8, people have really taken up arms against Ssoyoung, putting up petitions, writing to YouTube to have her removed from the platform, and leaving negative comments on her videos.
“The fact she makes a show out of this is the most repulsive part of it all, everything dies but don’t rip them apart alive and make a video of it,” one person wrote.
“This is extremely sad, horrifying and disgusting all at the same time,” someone else commented.
“The [octopi] are fighting for their life, and she broadcasts it to the internet,” a YouTube user wrote. “This is basically like uploading videos of torture. How is YouTube not striking her channel to oblivion for animal abuse?”
Interestingly, Business Insider reached out to YouTube about the controversy around Ssoyoung’s content and received this statement in response:
“Our trust and safety team is located around the globe and we draw upon this regional expertise when drafting our policies. We have strict policies regarding animal abuse, and have determined the videos highlighted do not violate them.”
Ssoyoung herself or her team have so far declined to comment on the widespread criticism they are currently facing.
Following the outbreak of coronavirus in late 2019, there has been widespread criticism of Asian culture. While eating raw seafood is indeed part of many Asian countries’ cuisines, the animals are usually killed in a humane way, not tortured on screen as a way to get more views.