- YouTube creator “Shanny for Christ” streamed her partner threatening her child on June 1.
- On June 2, YouTube told Insider the video violated its child safety policy and removed the clip.
- Within a day, the creator was able to appeal and have the video reinstated, despite the violation.
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On the darker side of YouTube’s vlog culture, a small creator who goes by “ShannyForChrist” earned money through ads on her videos and by soliciting donations from concerned watchers. Shanny streamed herself, her children, and her partner for hours each day, often in visibly dirty living conditions, such as with an unclean bathroom and litter box. While she only maintained around 3,000 subscribers, a June 1 video drew wider scrutiny in the YouTube community.
Shanny’s real name is Shannon Dornbush, according to Boulder Police Department records viewed by Insider. On June 1, Dornbush livestreamed on YouTube from a car as her partner “Rev” (whose real name is Jason Egroff) drove the family. The stream, titled “Yikes GPS Did It AGAIN,” lasted for nearly two hours.
Around halfway through the stream, Dornbush instructed her child, who is between 12 and 13 according to police, to put the family’s cat on his lap. While waiting for the child to comply, Egroff shouted that the boy would “get his ass beat” if the cat wasn’t fully on his lap. Minutes later, the car stopped on the side of the highway, then started again, and Dornbush yelled that Egroff was going to kill them if he didn’t drive more carefully.
“Stop looking at me and pay attention to the road. Put your hand on the f—ing wheel,” Dornbush said in the video. “You’re a piece – oh my God, you’re going to kill your f—ing family.”
-Michael Bartholomew Petty (@MichaelBePetty) June 1, 2021
Public concern arose over the video’s content, and YouTube proceeded to flip-flop its stance on whether it broke any of its policies.
First, the platform stated the video didn’t violate guidelines via its “@TeamYouTube” Twitter account. According to YouTube, this account functions as a way for users to get insight on issues they’re experiencing on the platform.
-TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) June 2, 2021
Then, on June 2, YouTube reversed its position and removed the video after request for comment by Insider. A YouTube representative said that the video violated the platform’s child safety policy, which prohibits content that could cause minor participants emotional distress.
“@TeamYouTube” put out another tweet clarifying the new position.
-TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) June 2, 2021
But then, overnight, Dornbush appealed the action taken against her channel. Creators have the option to appeal strikes, video removals, and other actions through their creator dashboard. The appeal was successful, according to an email she received from YouTube that she shared on her Community tab, a social feed each creator can use to post channel updates.
Insider also viewed the video live on Dornbush’s channel again on June 3.
When Insider then reached out to YouTube for further clarification, the video was once again removed.
Shortly thereafter, Dornbush’s entire YouTube account was terminated for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines. Dornbush then started streaming from a second channel, called Stoner Shanny, but that account was terminated, too. She and Egroff expressed a desire on their most recent livestream to move to a new platform with fewer restrictions.
The back-and-forth and conflicting statements released by the “@TeamYouTube” account demonstrate the flaws in YouTube’s moderation systems, whether that is due to mistakes made by artificial intelligence or human error.
Concerned viewers have condemned Dornbush’s entire channel
The tense confrontation in the car on June 1 is one of many recorded incidents that have led concerned viewers to reach out to the “@TeamYouTube” help account on Twitter. In a since-deleted May 15 video on Dornbush’s channel that Insider viewed a recording of, Egroff threatened to kill himself, her, and Dornbush’s two children.
-Alex (@alex_irate) June 3, 2021
Insider also reviewed and verified Boulder Police Department records from May 2019 that show Dornbush was arrested on charges of domestic violence and third-degree assault against Egroff. According to police records, officers responded to a report of a domestic disturbance at the couple’s apartment and arrested Dornbush in relation to allegations that she slapped Egroff in the face and whipped him with a “fetish whip” across his arms and legs that left welts.
In a supplemental report, an officer wrote that Dornbush posted three hour-long videos about the police confrontation on the “ShannyForChrist” YouTube channel that included statements that she believes the Boulder Police are “participants in mind-control efforts related to ‘Project MKUltra.'”
“I trust that the Sheriff’s Office, the Boulder Police, the District Attorney’s Office, and Child Protective Services will make use of this information in the best interest of the parties involved, with careful attention on the minor children,” the officer who compiled the report wrote.
Dornbush says she has borderline personality disorder and she and Egroff have described substance abuse on their channel. Their biggest brush with online fame happened in November 2019, when YouTuber Shane Dawson included a clip of them unboxing his and Jeffree Star’s Conspiracy makeup collection in a video that has over 22 million views.
Dornbush didn’t respond to Insider’s request for comment.