YouTube has temporarily demonetized popular channel Nelk Brothers as punishment for allegedly encouraging college students to ignore coronavirus safety measures as the pandemic continues to take hold of the country. The Nelk Boys, pranksters who have almost 5.7 million subscribers on YouTube, were accused of throwing parties at Illinois State University recently and brothers had previously shared videos "protesting" coronavirus protocol.
A spokesperson for YouTube told BuzzFeed News the videos violate the platform's Creator Responsibility policy and they say the Nelk Boys are "creating a widespread public health risk."
“If we see that a creator’s off-platform behavior harms our users, community, employees or ecosystem, we take action to protect the community. In this case, these creators were encouraging very large groups of people to actively disregard social distancing guidelines from local health authorities that were put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, creating a widespread public health risk,” the YouTube spokesperson added to WGLT-TV.
Revelers at the parties posted video on social media platforms that also went viral eading Illinois State University told BuzzFeed News they are working with local and campus police to investigate the footage. A spokesperson for the school told Buzzfeed News that students in violation could face charges from the town of Normal, Illinois, as well as "suspension from the university."
McLean County, where the university is located, reported 77 new coronavirus cases Saturday. The number of local hospitalizations and the positive testing rate have both declined.