“Men are such judgmental prigs, you need women to help straighten you out.”
YouTube suspended the channel of a user for posting a clip in which a video game suffragette gets roughed up.
A streamer using the handle Shirrako recently published a series of clips from “Red Dead Redemption 2,” an action video game set in a fictionalized 19th century America, in which the in-game player is seen taunting and beating up a woman calling for equal voting rights, Motherboard reported Wednesday.
Like many exploration games, RDR2 is awash with richly-detailed side characters (also known as NPCs) meant to capture the game’s historical flavor. One of these extras is a vociferous suffragette encamped on the side of a small street, protesting, “let me vote!”
“Once women get the vote, we’ll stop making a pig’s ear of everything,” the suffragette says in the game. “We’ll elect a women president, within the first 10 years, of course. You see, men are such judgmental prigs, you need women to help straighten you out.”
Shirrako’s controversial video of punching her bloody, which gained hit 1.6 million views before YouTube took it down this week, occurred spontaneously during a stream.
“The [suffragette] NPC is made to be rather annoying,” Shirrako explained to Motherboard. “When you try to shop for clothing in the game, your dialogue with the shopkeeper keeps being interrupted by her shouting, so I simply wanted to shop in peace.”
Shirrako also told Motherboard that the original video was not intended as a political statement, but as a joke. Nevertheless, the video was titled, “Red Dead Redemption 2 — Beating Up Annoying Feminist.”
Unsurprisingly, most of the comments egged Shirrako on, relishing in the violent scene. Playing to his audience, Shirrako released a number of follow-up videos, one of which showed the suffragette being roped and dragged to a swamp, where she gets devoured by an alligator.
In response to Motherboard’s article, YouTube removed the video and disabled Shirrako’s account from uploading new videos.
YouTube explained the decision in email to Motherboard: “If a video contains violent or graphic content that appears to be posted in a shocking, sensational, or disrespectful manner, it’s less likely to be allowed on YouTube. We also don’t allow content that’s intended to incite violence or encourage dangerous activities,” the email read.
But YouTube’s guidelines require “three strikes” before an account is suspended, and Shirrako insists that he only received a single warning stating that the video was being reviewed.
“I went to bed completely clean in terms of channel standing, woke up with the channel just gone,” the streamer told Motherboard.
YouTube closed by channel because I killed a female NPC in #RDR2
They said It promoted violence.
— Shirrako (@ShirrakoGaming) November 7, 2018
Shirrako’s story stirred a social media pother. Some commenters were appalled that the video, whether intended as a joke or not, inspired the male-grievance virulence that it did, and criticized Shirrako for stirring cheap controversy.
This isn’t “Orwellian Censorship”, the only thing Orwellian is Shirrako controlling the narrative where he just “punched” her and he got banned. Which is a lie, he specifically targeted an NPC, put feminist in the title to stir up a response, and rightfully got banned. pic.twitter.com/EKyEqntD7o
— Jeneius (@JustJeneius) November 7, 2018
Others, including game culture critic Daniel Keem, criticized YouTube’s response as overzealous.
“YouTube, we cannot take this stance,” Keem, who has almost 2.5 million followers on Twitter, said in a video. “We can’t say that what somebody does in a video game is reflected to real life somehow, or is some type of a political statement.”
— KEEM (@KEEMSTAR) November 7, 2018
Keem’s post was answered by YouTube’s global head of gaming, who said the platform is taking the criticism into account.
Keem, thanks for your input. This was flagged this AM to me. The videos were re-reviewed, and we determined they should be age restricted, as they were not Community Guideline violations. The channel will be reinstated. All 8,000 videos will be rolled back to his channel.
— Ryan Wyatt (@Fwiz) November 7, 2018
By Wednesday night Shirrako’s channel was restored.