A Youtuber with a staggering 3.4 million subscribers has been blasted for her videos in which she eats live animals.
South Korea-based Ssoyoung makes 'mukbang' content - videos where content creators eat often extremely large amounts, or unusual types, of food.
Ssoyoung has created a number of videos depicting animal suffering. One, which has 24 million views, shows her decapitating live squids, then dousing the moving heads in soy sauce. Another shows her put live octopuses on a grill, slamming one down as it tries to escape the flames.
'She loves torture'
YouTuber Ethan Klein very publicly condemned Ssoyoung in a recent video titled ASMR has gone way too far. He said: "She clearly loves torturing animals. Is cruelty a central theme of her content? This video, I believe, proves yes."
He added: "They have to know that an octopus is an intelligent creature that is suffering. You can't burn it alive. How are they just ignoring that?"
Klein's wife Hila added: "I think she knows that if she wasn’t acting at least a little squeamish and nervous about it, then she would be seen as a total sociopath."
In closing the video, Klein said some viewers may accuse him of xenophobia, and of being 'an ignorant American'.
Another YouTuber - Tyler Rugge - made a video about Ssoyoung titled Mukbang Youtuber who Hurts & Kills Animals on Camera. He followed it up with another video, titled A follow-up to my video on Ssoyoung, in which he addressed what he described as the 'cultural aspect'.
In the video, Rugge revealed that he'd been accused of racism for condemning Ssoyoung's actions. He said: "I'm literally part-Japanese. My grandma is 100 percent Japanese. I am not racist against Asian people, I can guarantee you that much.
"Another thing is, in my opinion, just because something is someone's culture, it doesn't justify it. Another thing that maybe doesn't matter to you is that it's really not a big part of Asian culture to do the things that she was doing. Sure, some people in Asia do do that stuff, but it's not like it's a some widely accepted practice in Asia. There are plenty of people commenting on my videos saying like, "I'm Korean, I'm Japanese, I'm Chinese...and that's not what we do here."
'Not animal abuse'
YouTube has been criticized for not removing the videos, as under its terms of service, animal cruelty footage is banned.
It instructs users not to post content 'where there is infliction of unnecessary suffering or harm deliberately causing an animal distress'.
But according to Business Insider, these videos have been found not to violate these terms. A YouTube spokesperson told the outlet: "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."
Now a petition has been launched calling on YouTube to ban Ssoyoung from its platform.
The petition, which has almost 20,000 signatures so far, says: "The Mukbang Youtuber Ssoyoung is torturing animals before eating them alive. While she's pouring soy sauce over live squids whose hoods have been cut off, she's getting tens of millions of views...This is clearly animal abuse, and you don't have to be a vegan to see that."