Influencer Animal Abuse Prompts PETA Appeal to Platforms

Group Calls On YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, and Others to Enact Zero-Tolerance Policy for Users Who Hurt Animals

For Immediate Release:
August 9, 2019

Contact:
Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Los Angeles – Prompted by two recent incidents—one in which Twitch streamer Alinity Divine threw her cat and another in which YouTuber Brooke Houts hit, shoved, and screamed at her dog—PETA sent letters today calling on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Twitch, and TikTok to impose an immediate and permanent ban on any users who post photos or videos of themselves harming animals.

In the letters, PETA points out that such videos normalize animal abuse—particularly for younger, more impressionable viewers—and increase the risk of “copycat” behavior by people desperate for attention, however negative.

“One day of outrage before the public moves on to the next scandal isn’t enough to stop streamers from hurting animals,” says PETA Vice President Joel Bartlett. “These people need to know that they’ll no longer get the ‘likes,’ followers, and subscribers they’re so desperate for if they harm a hair on an animal’s head, and PETA is calling for a zero-tolerance policy for animal abusers across all social media platforms.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to YouTube—which was also sent to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Twitch, and TikTok—follows.

Susan Wojciciki

YouTube, LLC

901 Cherry Ave.

San Bruno, CA 94066

Dear Susan Wojcicki,

On behalf of PETA’s more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, I’m writing with an urgent request: Please enact a zero-tolerance policy for anyone who posts videos or photos of themselves harming animals on your platform and immediately—and permanently—ban any user who does so.

Unfortunately, instances of influencers posting videos of themselves harming animals are increasing. In July, a Twitch user known as Alinity Divine came under fire for throwing her cat over her shoulder during a livestream. And just this week, YouTuber Brooke Houts posted footage of herself hitting, shoving, screaming at, and apparently spitting on her dog.

Videos like these are extremely dangerous, because they may “normalize” treating animals disrespectfully or even physically abusing them—particularly for impressionable viewers, including your platform’s younger users. They also increase the risk of “copycat” behavior by people who are desperate for publicity and attention—even the negative kind.

And while many people are rightfully outraged by videos like these, public scorn—which often moves on to the next scandal in a day or two—is not enough to prevent this kind of abuse. There must be consequences.

Tens of thousands of people have supported PETA’s call for Twitch and YouTube to remove the users mentioned above. We’ll be asking our members and the public to report all such videos to your support teams—and the authorities—immediately.

Please, make it clear to your users that abusing animals—on or off camera— will not be tolerated. Take decisive action today to ban any user who abuses animals.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Ingrid Newkirk

President

For Media: Contact PETA's
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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind