A YouTuber here is facing heated public criticism and possible punishment over his behavior in live broadcasts.
An online petition calling for authorities to punish the streamer gained almost 120,000 signatures in just four days after he was seen apparently abusing his dog in livestreaming video.
(Left, screen grab of Suh`s YouTube. Right, Catchdog Team`s Instgram)
The online petition, which also calls for tougher rules against such abusive acts on the video platform, was filed on the presidential office website on Monday. The online petition will be reviewed by Cheong Wa Dae if it exceeds 200,000 signatures within a month of being filed.
The YouTuber with 37,000 subscribers, identified by the surname Suh, shocked the public Sunday by beating and throwing his pet dog during a livestream. He had been accused of animal abuse in broadcasts several times recently.
During Sunday’s livestream, police officers found Suh’s house after he was reported by viewers, but the officers left without taking any special measures after Suh denied hitting the dog.
After police left, the YouTuber says mockingly to viewers, “The police cannot do anything. They can’t stop me from training my own dog.”
Suh also boasted of the inefficiency of animal rights laws in Korea.
“The animal protection laws are meaningless. No one gets punished for animal abuse. Even the dog traders aren’t punished,” Suh said, referencing the controversial dog meat trade here.
Suh throws his dog on to bed during YouTube livestream (Screen grab of Suh`s YouTube)
Infuriated by his actions, animal rights organization Catchdog Team, working with authorities, on Thursday had Suh stripped of his ownership of the dog and rescued the animal to safety.
With the number of signatures quickly on the rise, Suh livestreamed Wednesday and apologized to the public.
“I made a big mistake. It wasn’t right to educate my dog by hitting it. I didn’t realize it was so wrong until the news came out,” Suh said.
He said he would willingly receive any necessary punishment and even donate 5 million won ($4,200) to an animal rights organization.
During the livestream, he expressed fear at the mounting public denouncement. “The whole nation is trying to kill me. I think this would all end when I die.”
Taking his words as an implication of suicide, a viewer reported to police and Suh is currently under the protection of authorities.
Suh’s case of animal abuse is being investigated by Michuhol Police Station in Incheon.
By Choi Ji-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)