The incident is the latest in a worrying trend of 'thrash streams’ or 'trash streams' in Russia, where people are asked to perform stunts, often humiliating stunts, on a live platform in return for money while subscribers watch.
Moscow, Russia: YouTube viewers were left in shock after a man who was drinking vodka while streaming the act live died. The 60-year-old Russian man took up the challenge of finishing 1.5 litres of vodka while streaming the act live on YouTube.
According to a report in The Independent, the Russian man known as ‘Grandfather’ or 'Grandpa' was apparently offered money for this act by a YouTuber. The challenge was among the many ‘thrash streams’ or ‘trash streams’ that have become a trend on social media where users are challenged to perform humiliating acts or stunts in exchange for money while a huge audience watches it live.
The man, named in local media reports as 60-year-old Yuri Dushechkin, was allegedly offered money by a YouTuber in exchange for drinking alcohol or hot sauce on air.
He is said to have died after consuming about 1.5 litres of vodka, with his body still visible to viewers as the live stream continued to record, according to Russian news website Readovka. The incident, which took place last Thursday in the city of Smolensk in western Russia, the authorities present have launched a probe into the incident. However, it is yet to be confirmed whether the Russian man died because of the overconsumption of vodka.
In Dushechkin's case also, viewers of the YouTube live stream donated money to encourage him to drink more, as part of "thrash" streaming. The live stream continued as Dushechkin lay on the ground before he was found dead.
The incident was live-streamed by another man who has more than 25,000 subscribers on his YouTube channel. In other videos on the channel, the man frequently offered money to homeless people in exchange for their engaging in violent or dangerous acts, particularly acts inflicting harm on other people. Dushechkin reportedly also appeared on the channel in the past.
Russian Senator Alexey Pushkov, chair of the Federation Council’s Commission on Information Policy, has pushed for a ban on broadcasts that live stream violence. Condemning the incident on Twitter, he said the Federation Council is due to meet on 11 February to discuss legislation to make "thrash streaming" illegal.
In a tweet, Pushkov wrote, "A homeless man died in Smolensk during a thrash-stream session: he was bullied, he was beaten, and the Internet scum paid money to the blogger for these spectacles."