A Chinese video blogger based in Russia, who has more than 750,000 followers on the short-video platform Kuaishou, is being heavily criticized for posting a series of videos in which he encourages a poor, elderly Russian man to abuse alcohol.
Calling himself Sea Brother (海哥 hǎigē), the 37-year-old Kuaishou user has been publishing videos that document how the old man’s health has deteriorated in the weeks since he began accepting alcohol. In the videos, the victim is seen living alone in a run-down house without much furniture. It’s possible he had a minor drinking problem when he was initially approached by the vlogger, but he appears to be in fairly good condition. After weeks of alcohol consumption facilitated by the vlogger, the man is visibly weaker, to the point where he can barely walk.
Today, Weibo user @D2O_ published an angry post (in Chinese) accusing Sea Brother of “cashing in on other people’s plight.” According to @D2O_, at one point last week, Sea Brother deleted all of his videos featuring the old man, presumably because of criticism in the comments section. The vlogger’s most recent video upload shows him bringing cooking oil to the senior’s home and giving him a haircut.
“I don’t know the story of this old man and how he got into this place, but tipping someone like him over the edge was straight-up evil,” @D2O_ wrote. The Weibo user also pointed out some of Sea Brother’s followers were complicit in the abuse, given that they encouraged the vlogger to continue his poisoning by writing comments like, “Let the guy drink to death!”
The denunciatory post quickly went viral, amassing more than 5,000 shares and roughly 15,000 “likes” on the social media site. Many people who saw the post called for a suspension of the vlogger’s account, saying that what he did to the Russian man amounts to murdering him slowly, and that he should be subject to a serious investigation by police.
“Can someone check in on the old man? He needs some real help,” one Weibo user wrote. Some commenters argued that as troubling as Sea Brother’s videos were, equally disturbing was Kuaishou’s baffling unwillingness to remove questionable content that contains abusive and violent elements. “He is far from the only trash on Kuaishou,” an internet user commented.
So far, the vlogger hasn’t responded to the criticism, and there has been no official statement from Kuaishou regarding the controversy.
This is not the first time that Kuaishou has come under fire for disturbing content created by its users. In fact, bizarre and sometimes dangerous content constitutes a large part of Kuaishou’s branding. Last year, the short video app prompted a barrage of criticism and apologized after allowing videos of teenage moms showing off their pregnancies to proliferate on its platform.