The Trending YouTube page is usually full of laid-back content like music videos, comedy sketches, and game trailers, as well as popular creators like Mr. Beast and SSSniperWolf. However, on August 24, the number one trending video was a call to the platform itself with allegations of racism or favoritism leveled at the Google video sharing service. The excitement was generated by the platform’s handling of gameplay video. The explosive statements have led other top content creators, from wetcr1tikal to Philip DeFranco, to discuss how uneven YouTube’s content moderation team enforces its rules.
Corey “CoryxKenshin” Williams is a black YouTuber and internet personality with over 14 million subscribers, best known for his humorous content. He started his career in 2009 uploading comedy parodies and then moved on to making horror game videos by playing famous games like Bloody as well as Five Nights at Freddy’s. Despite taking regular breaks from the platform, almost every time he returns to posting content on YouTube, he is trending for days on end due to his infectious personality. I mean, in the last 30 days alone, it’s got about 100 million views. It’s damn impressive.
So, if CoryxKenshin is seeing such success on YouTube, why is he laying such heavy blame on the platform? Well he swings around assistant at the morgue, a new horror game from developer Darkstone Digital that recently hit YouTube. In the game, you play as an undertaker’s assistant, embalming corpses and performing rituals in hopes of holding back demonic forces. Adult content includes instances of “disturbing images” and “profanity”. according to the game’s page on Steam.
CoryxKenshin loaded hour passage assistant at the morguedemo 18 August. On the same day – apparently even within hours – the video was age-restricted, meaning you have to sign in to verify you’re over 18 in order to watch. CoryxKenshin said that YouTube did not provide any explanation as to why. He filed an appeal for moderation, but YouTube denied that appeal, confirming in an email that the video “violates our Community Guidelines” but will not contextualize what that means or what part of the video violates YouTube’s policies. CoryxKenshin then spoke to his Affiliate Manager while searching the platform to see if anyone had videos on assistant at the morgue was limited in age. Nobody was, at least not at first.
His representative suggested that the reason for the content moderation may have been the end of his video, where the character struggles with depression and self-harm. Even though CoryxKenshin didn’t know what exactly caused the restriction, he began to compare his content with the content of other authors who used the same scenes. That’s when he discovered that markiplier video on assistant at the morguewhich used the same gameplay, had no age restrictions, leading him to suggest that favoritism, racism, or both are present on the platform.
Instead of having a dialogue with CoryxKenshin about his video and why it was age-restricted and Markiplier wasn’t, YouTube apparently removed the age restriction from CoryxKenshin’s video before restoring it and then age-restricted the video a few days later markiplier. This clearly angered CoryxKenshin not because it was bad design. So it was, but it seems to only further illustrate the unequal weight that YouTube applies in enforcing its policies. CoryxKenshin even mentioned that he “speaks expletives in video games” and doesn’t use profanity in his content, which is why he’s completely baffled by how YouTube treats him so differently.
“Why is my channel so much more scrutinized than my peers?” Korix Kenshin asked, disappointment clearly filling his throat. “When I say peers, I mean people around my level and my number of views. Just to keep it simple: why is my channel so much more scrutinized, especially when I was trending number 1 for several days in a row, which I did several times?
CoryxKenshin said this is not the first time YouTube has unfairly moderated his channel. He told another case in 2021 when YouTube gave him a community rule strike, without message or explanation, for his 2019 video. It seemed to come out of nowhere considering how long it had been since the video was made.
“Every time I start to get a surge of interest, a surge of activity, then YouTube comes along: “Hey, let’s take it for this 2019 video. See this Corey? No, that’s bad,” said CoryxKenshin. “It was not bad for nine months when I was off the stage. It was only bad when I came back and I was number 1 in the trend. This situation was only bad because I’ve been trending number one since I got back. Every second YouTuber has uploaded assistant at the morgueand now YouTube is going to start introducing some age restrictions because I encouraged them to act unfairly.”
Kotaku reached out to CoryxKenshin, Darkstone Digital, Markiplier and YouTube for comment.
Plenty of people online have shown their support for CoryxKenshin’s candor. YouTubers like Gidion suggested to CEO Susan Wojcicki “sit down and discuss these questions” with CoryxKenshin. News commentator Omni said no one “surprised at this place” any of these claims, while Twitch streamer CashNasty gave “respect for CoryxKenshin” for speaking the truth. Even the big names on the platform have made videos dedicated to the topic, including Ludwig, Philip DeFrancoas well as wet, most of whom agree that YouTube’s content moderation policy is vague at best and rubbish at worst, and that something fishy is going on behind the scenes in the case of CoryxKenshin. While YouTube has yet to say anything publicly, the situation seems to have become too big for the platform to ignore.