A veterinary student and prominent YouTuber denied allegations that he abused and starved animals for his videos to get more traffic.
According to a news report by local broadcaster Channel A on Thursday, an animal rights group filed a police complaint against Park Gab-su, the owner of the YouTube channel Gabsupasture, accusing him of abusing animals for his videos.
Gabsupasture has more than 500,000 subscribers, having gained popularity for its videos on cats and dogs.
The animal rights group accused Park of making money by misrepresenting animals from pet shops as abandoned animals he had saved. He profited from YouTube as well as donations from viewers, the group alleged.
After the news report, a video titled “revealing the truth about Gabsupasture” was posted on YouTube by people claiming to be Park’s fellow veterinary students.
According to the video, Park and the editor of his channel -- another veterinary student -- treated the animals like tools for their videos. An audio recording appears to show Park saying he needed to be “less abusive” to his cats, while messenger chats between Park and the editor suggested they had intentionally starved two kittens and had left the animals alone for a whole day “to make them work.”
“This was what we had planned in the first place. We knew that videos made from fabricated content would be successful,” said a voice in an audio clip that appears to be Park’s.
According to the video, Park and his co-worker are expected to become veterinarians -- Park in two years and his co-worker in one year.
Park initially denied all the accusations and posted a short clip on Thursday night saying they were based on false statements. The video was deleted a few hours later.
On Friday morning, Park held a livestream on YouTube and admitted he had bought the cats from pet shops but denied any abuse. Cats could be seen playing in the room as he spoke.
“The cats are so fond of me that they would come looking for me when I am out of their sight,” Park said. “I have never abused the animals.”
Park further stated he would prove his innocence in court.
By Choi Ji-won (email@example.com