After the disturbing allegations that YouTuber James Charles exchanged sexts and sent nudes to a 16-year-old boy, YouTube has reportedly blocked him from making money off their platform via advertising.
YouTube apparently invoked their "creator responsibility policy" in putting the suspension in place which reads: "If we see that a creator's on- and/or off-platform behavior harms our users, community, employees or ecosystem, we may take action to protect the community." As The Verge explains, the platform basically uses creator responsibility as a blanket policy to "crack down on creators when their behavior leads to widespread negative attention, even if they haven't explicitly violated YouTube's rules". It's been formerly used against fellow disgraced YouTubers Shane Dawson, Dom Zeglaitis, David Dobrik and Logan Paul. However, the restrictions are only temporary, with YouTube reportedly failing to confirm how long the block on advertising would be in place.
Earlier this month, James attempted something of an apology video, where he admitted he was being "reckless" in his behaviour towards minors in interactions that should "never should have happened". More recently, the make-up brand Morphe cut ties with the YouTuber after mounting public pressure on the company to do so.
But as Insider reporter Kat Tenbarge points out, it's likely that YouTube's move to temporarily demonetise James' channel is little more than a PR stunt. "As many others have pointed out, it doesn't really make for meaningful change when YouTube demonetizes celebrity content creators on a temporary basis after most of them have already said they'll be taking long breaks," Tenbarge wrote on Twitter, noting that other famous YouTubers have not been impacted by demonetisation in any significant way.
And given the seriousness of the allegations against Charles, coupled with the fact getting "cancelled" can actually strengthen a YouTuber's career; whether the actions of the multi-millionaire will ever be subject to any real accountability remains to be seen.
Written by Reena Gupta, a Melbourne-based writer for MTV Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @purpletank.