Restaurant owner says YouTuber ‘scarier than coronavirus’ after bad review shuts down outlet


HayanTree in his apology video to a business owner after his viral review video forced the business to shut down. — Screengrab from YouTube

A restaurant owner in South Korea has been forced to shut down his business after a YouTuber posted a bad review which went viral.

According to a report in Korean Herald, YouTuber HayanTree raised suspicions that the restaurant in question may have reused its food after finding grains of rice in a refilled dish of marinated crab. The restaurant is known for serving all-you-can-eat crab marinated in soy sauce, a traditional Korean food.

When the video was posted on Dec 7, viewers criticised the restaurant by leaving malicious comments. HayanTree had over 700,000 subscribers at the time of the video’s posting.

However, a check on the security camera footage later revealed that the grains of rice that HayanTree found in his crab were leftovers from his own previous dish. He later posted an apology video on Dec 11.

“I want to apologise to the owner of the restaurant for creating the video without thinking about my impact but the owner did not feel comfortable about filming another video,” he said in the video as reported by Korean Herald.

He added: “I should have gone about making the video with accurate facts and I am truly sorry for my ignorance.”

The owner of the restaurant posted a national petition on the Cheong Wa Dae or presidential website, asking for laws and regulations that can protect independent business owners against YouTubers who may be using their massive platform for the wrong reasons.

“When the YouTuber came to film again, we were already shut down. I am really frustrated and want to know if it is possible to prevent YouTubers’ abuse and tyranny, which is scarier than the coronavirus, and I am petitioning for laws and regulations so that self-employed people can comfortably focus on their business,” he said.

The owner claimed that after HayanTree’s review was posted, his staff members tried to explain to viewers that the restaurant did not reuse food based on security camera footage. However, the comments were blocked which prevented other viewers from seeing them.

He also said that it did not understand why HayanTree allowed the video to go viral despite his attempt to provide an explanation.

The video reached one million views before it was removed by HayanTree. Since the issue arose, HayanTree’s subscriber count has been reduced to 670,000. He has also closed the comment sections on all his videos.

HayanTree described himself as a “restaurant explorer” and has been posting food-related content since 2014, amassing more than 200 million views on his channel.

YouTubers in South Korea have come under fire in recent months for various issues. In August, YouTuber Daud Kim posted an apology after he was accused of sexual harrassment.

Then in October, website AllKpop reported that YouTuber GabieKook faced massive criticism after she posted a video of friends visiting her at a quarantine centre to celebrate her birthday. She has since removed all her videos on YouTube and gone on hiatus.

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