YouTube has just shut down one of its most popular kids entertainment channels, just a couple of weeks after The New York Times ran a front-page article about the service’s struggles to keep bizarre, potentially harmful content away from its millions of young viewers. According to Variety, the service has now suspended Toy Freaks, which had previously sat at No. 68 on the list of its most-viewed channels, on the strength of father Greg Chrism and his two daughters playing with toys and doing gross-out “pranks” (not to mention SEO-friendly video titles like “Bad Baby Real Food Fight Victoria vs Annabelle & Freak Daddy Toy Freaks Family,” which had reportedly been viewed 622 million times).
Toy Freaks’ content appears to have been mostly human-made—as opposed to the machine-generated stuff that’s been attracting people’s ire of late, as it mashes-up kids characters into sometimes macabre or age-inappropriate combinations—but Chism has been criticized in the past for videos some saw as exploiting or harming his children. Meanwhile, he claimed tonight that the suspension came, not because of his content, but because of the audience it was attracting. He says the company came to him with “concerns that my videos were attracting audience members who do not have children’s best interests in their hearts.”
For its part, YouTube simply noted that the account had been flagged, stating, “We’ve terminated the Toy Freaks channel for violation of our policies. We will be conducting a broader review of associated content in conjunction with expert trusted flaggers.” Meanwhile, a number of other channels appear to still be re-posting and circulating Toy Freaks’ videos.