ShirrakoGaming, a popular video game YouTube account with half a million subscribers, recently posted a series of videos to their channel showcasing some of the open world interactions that are featured in the critically acclaimed Red Dead Redemption 2. These videos showcased a multitude of ways that Arthur Morgan, the player character, could interact with various Non-Player Characters (NPCs) across the vast terrain of RDR2. These recorded interactions range from a man drowning after being covered in fecal matter, throwing a racist activist off of a cliff, to a cross falling on members of the KKK before Arthur Morgan engages their leader in a fight. Yet one particular recording found ShirrakoGaming in YouTube’s crosshairs.

The particular video that caught YouTube’s attention was one titled “Red Dead Redemption 2 – Annoying Feminist Fed to Alligator.” This video features Arthur Morgan listening to a suffragette  speaker, knocking her down, tying her up on the back of Arthur’s horse, and then taking her body to be fed to (more accurately bitten by) an Alligator:

The video itself contains no commentary, and is merely a recording of the in-game action. This interaction is not specific to the character or to female NPCs. Anybody can be placed in a swamp, wherein their person will be devoured by the hungry predators. The videos were made by Shirrako to showcase some of the lesser known aspects of the game’s mechanics.

Following the posting of this video, ShirrakoGaming soon found that their entire channel had been deleted from YouTube. ShirrakoGaming took to Twitter to announce the deletion and point out YouTube’s hypocrisy:

Immediately prior to this deletion, Motherboard ran a piece condemning RDR2 for allowing women to be hurt in this way and for the characterization of the ‘feminist’ NPC in question. The piece singles out ShirrakoGaming, drawing attention to the fact that he was the one responsible for the videos:

I asked Shirrako why they think the video blew up, and about the comments it’s been getting.

“I know you’re probably expecting some political answer but the truth is it was simply a funny moment from one of my streams which I’ve decided to upload as a separate video,” they said. “Not sure if it was intentional by Rockstar Games but the NPC is made to be rather annoying, when you try to shop for clothing in the game, your dialogue with the shop keeper keeps being interrupted by her shouting, so I simply wanted to shop in peace, I’m sure that as a gamer you’re familiar with these annoying NPC situations.”

Shirrako said that most people are aware the video is a joke, and that he’s aware that others have posted toxic comments, while others are deeply offended by the video.

“I mean obviously I don’t agree with the sexist comments, but there is not much I can do about them, I don’t like censoring people’s opinions, regardless if I like them or not,” they said.

Due to this recent piece, many have accused Motherboard of exerting their influence in order to get ShirrakoGaming banned, though these accusations are as of yet unconfirmed. It may be that the Motherboard article simply brought the dishonestly framed content to their attention through normal publication and consumption.

Thankfully, after massive attention was brought to the story online through sources such as OneAngryGamer and KeemStar, YouTube not only restored ShirrakoGaming’s channel, but YouTube’s Head of Gaming, Ryan Watt, gave an explanation as to why the situation had initially occurred:

This is far from the first time that users have been worried and skeptical towards YouTube’s content policies and enforcements. Channels, both independent and corporate, have been deleted without warning for posting slightly lewd video game content, using replay clips of video game tournaments as part of commentary, and even the live-streaming of a video game press event. On a more broad scale, many are worried that deleting users off of a social media site because they don’t adhere to specific politics will become the norm, citing incidents such as the complete ban of Alex Jones, The Wall Street Journal’s forcing St. Jude’s to return charity money, and YouTube’s own automated system censoring live chat messages it deems unacceptable.

To YouTube’s credit, their team responded rather swiftly and fully restored the channel. Yet, this is undoubtedly and unfortunately not the last instance we will see the deletion, or censorship of a social media account for non-problematic views or words deemed ‘unacceptable.’ The underlying issue of division and censorship based solely on support or opposition to one specific idea remains a large problem across every social media platform.

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