Needed removal of Onision from YouTube￼
Supporting those who are causing harm on public platforms is more harmful than we realize
Who are we to dictate who’s allowed to post content on the internet? Oftentimes, it is easier to unfollow or unsubscribe from someone who is creating or sharing content that we don’t agree with. It seems futile to bother starting a fight with someone about their views and what they deem appropriate to post for the world, and instead we delete them from our pages and thus remove their content from our minds.
However, what happens when that content is actively harming those who are involved and who do not realize the effects it’s having on them? What happens when the mastermind behind the creation is using it to gain access to specific demographics for personal exploitation? We cannot just be content sitting idle or clicking that button to ensure they don’t appear on our screens anymore. The need to report the content is an important step in the process of getting these individuals off the internet, away from public consumption. We owe it to those who are most vulnerable to do the bare minimum. Report that video or photo instead of just scrolling past it. Just because you won’t see it doesn’t mean that others won’t still be exposed.
Now I have never been one to consume much content on the platform YouTube. Outside of the videos shown in courses and the occasional Crash Course search to explain a concept, this is not where I choose to spend my time. My attention has been drawn to this platform after viewing a docu-series called Onision in Real Life. This docu-series details the content that this creator has posted for over a decade, and the damage that he has done to countless individuals in the process; talking to victims who were groomed as young adolescents, dehumanized as they were entering adulthood, and who had the course of their lives altered by the individual who goes by the name Onision online.
During this docu-series we are exposed to the stories of Shiloh – his first victim – all the way through the list of those who have made the decision to come forward to speak. We see a variety of females with different backgrounds and from different areas of the country who are coming forth to speak out about the experiences they had. Throughout this we see the different tactics used to gain the trust of these women, all who were underaged when their interactions began, the youngest being 14 years old when they first made direct contact with the YouTuber.
Although these women were all very different, they had a few striking similarities; low self-esteem, few friends, and the longing for acceptance and affection. As a result, Onision would treat them all very different with a few glaring similarities that couldn’t be overlooked such as taking away their sense of femininity when they turned 18, pressuring them into flying across the country for him, isolating them from their loved ones, and eventually starting to use his current partner to assist in luring more women to their home through the promises of friendship.
While all of this was happening, everything was being documented and broadcasted for the enjoyment of his viewers. Millions of people were viewing the destructive nature of his relationships with all these women, and yet nothing has been done about it. Investigations have been launched and yet the victims are still sitting by, waiting for the day that charges are laid, and the court process begins.
Until that day happens there are other things that can be done. Although YouTube has taken away his ability to make a profit from his videos, he is still creating content and everything that he has made is still available for consumption. He has access to other media platforms, like Twitter, where many of these underaged females would attempt to make contact or be noticed by him.
Now again, I don’t spend really spend much time on YouTube, but knowing that there is content of this nature that is supporting someone so destructive by providing them a space for their voice to carry influence over others makes me want to never engage with this platform. Knowing that YouTube has been notified of this and all they have done is prevent him from making money is not enough.
Not only does Onision still have his platform available for his voice to be heard and his way of thinking to still influence those who are most impressionable that he targets, but others on that platform will continue to engage with him as well. He will continue to show up on other YouTube channels, whether they are dragging his name through the mud, or having him on to partake in their regular content. He will continue to be there and the number of people that he will negatively impact will continue to increase.
Onision ruined the career of up-and-coming popstar Shiloh. He altered the entire period of critical development for his youngest victim, Sarah, who was in contact with him and his partner from 14 to almost 19 years old. Other YouTubers have been personally attacked over and over again for the purpose of driving his views regardless of the harm that it may have caused. Yet here we stand with Onision still being able to create and upload videos onto YouTube.
It may not be easy to go through the process of formally charging him and giving the victims the true peace of mind that they so desperately crave and deserve. The least that we could do in the meantime is take away the medium in which he goes about facilitating this type of harm. Remove the way in which he can readily access those who are vulnerable and ensure the safety of those who need it the most.