Last year I published an article with a title that said it all: Something is Terribly Wrong With Many “Kids” Videos on YouTube. Supported by dozens of nauseating screenshots, the article explained how countless YouTube channels tricked children into watching dark, disturbing, traumatizing and sexual content. Even worse, some of these channels appeared to depict actual child abuse as children were seen doing things that made them very upset. Even worse, some of these channels appeared to be custom-made for pedophiles.
The last sentence of the article was:
And don’t be surprised if some of these video channels are linked to actual child abuse systems.
Unfortunately, this sentence turned out to be true. Disgustingly true. Indeed, it was recently discovered that Ian Rylett, the 55-year-old co-founder of the massive network of YouTube channels SevenAwesomeKids, was arrested in August for “lewd and lascivious molestation” on a young girl who makes videos for his channels.
According to an arrest warrant obtained by BuzzFeed News, detectives were called to Rylett’s Orange County hotel room on the morning of Aug. 16, after Rylett allegedly verbally abused the girl, demanding she undress in front of him against her will and “practice wrapping her breasts down, to make them appear smaller for the video shoot.” According to the report, the girl, who is under 16, claims Rylett touched her breasts and fondled her while repeatedly making her undress, eventually attempting to forcefully remove her underwear. The arrest report also alleges that Rylett “threatened to use the contract to fine her if she did not comply with his demand.” Rylett pleaded not guilty to the charges at an arraignment last month. He has surrendered his passport and will stand trial later this year. Rylett’s lawyer did not respond to requests for comment.
– Buzzfeed News, The Creator Of One Of YouTube’s Top Tween Channels Was Arrested For Molesting A Minor. YouTube Is Keeping The Channel Up.
Other girls involved with the YouTube channels described some Rylett’s creepy behavior:
Two former SevenAwesomeKids girls told BuzzFeed News that Rylett frequently pressured them to wear smaller swimsuits on camera. One said that Rylett asked that she send him sizing photos for each new bathing suit she planned to wear in her videos. Rylett, she said, told her it was for “sponsor approval” and requested numerous front, back, and side photos. Two former performers recalled that Rylett frequently made girls uncomfortable with jokes about “wardrobe malfunctions” when he would accompany the girls on group trips to shoot videos. One former SevenAwesomeKids girl noted “constant pressure to make myself look younger.”
“On trips we used to joke about him being creepy, but we never thought he’d act on it,” another said.
A former performer stated that she began feeling she was being “groomed for some darker audience”.
“Then some of us started to get the feeling we were being groomed for some darker audience. Things that didn’t feel weird at the time — like the themes, the leotards, and the camera angles — started to feel strange. I started to get that feeling especially when you think that some of these girls are 9 years old.”
As of now, the SevenAwesomeKids network is still online on YouTube.
A Network Made for Pedos
It only takes a few seconds of viewing SevenAwesomeKids to realize that something is terribly wrong. The channel description states that it is the “largest all-girl (under 18s) partner collaboration on YouTube”. It boasts nearly 7 million subscribers and over 7 billions views.
As the name of the channel implies, SevenSuperGirls consists of seven girls who each have a sub-channels on which they post videos. In most of these videos, the girls act in an overly childish or bratty matter, while wearing evocative outfits. A ridiculous number of these videos feature the girls – who are aged between 8 and 16 years old – wearing bikinis and leotards.
Here are some screenshots from some of the most viewed videos.
In order to get audition tapes accepted by SAKs (the mother company), strict guidelines must be followed. The video SAKs Guide to Auditions details these requirements: Girls cannot hide their faces; They must include head-and-shoulder shots, half body shots, and full body shots; They must “include some action” (i.e. dancing or swimming).
A girl in the guide video even says:
“Think about how you look. Try to look your best.”
Considering this network looking to recruit girls was run by a 55-year-old man should have raised red flags all over the place, especially in the minds of the girls’ parents. The fact that Rylett was arrested is a step in the right direction. However, most of the SevenAwesomeKids channels are still online (although they appear to have “cleaned up” some of the suspicious videos mentioned above).
Also, there are tons of other similar channels on YouTube from all over the world, notably Asia and Eastern Europe. Could there be child exploitation going on there? I wouldn’t be surprised.