YouTube Removed Onision From Its Partner Program Following Discovery+ Docuseries

Published on February 7, 2021

YouTube has removed Onision from its partner program, meaning that his content is no longer eligible for monetization. The move affects three of the YouTuber’s channels: Onision, UhOhBro and OnisionSpeaks.

Onision, who goes by Greg or James Jackson, posted a final video to his main channel, titled “Farewell,” which includes an email from YouTube that explains the reasoning behind his demonetization and insinuates that he is leaving YouTube altogether.

“Responsibility is our number one priority at YouTube and it’s important for us to ensure that creators are empowered to use their influence responsibly in the YouTube community and beyond,” the email said. “With that in mind, we recently reviewed your channels (Onision, OnisionSpeaks and UhOhBro) and took action on content that violated our Community Guidelines.”

The email mentioned that YouTube was concerned about allegations of off-platform behavior pertaining to child safety; it also said that this behavior violated the Creator Responsibility guidelines within YouTube’s Partner Program policies.

“These guidelines explain that we don’t allow egregious behavior that has a large negative impact on the community,” the email said. “Additionally, this means that you should be respectful of your viewers, your fellow creators, and our advertisers—both on and off YouTube. Therefore, we have determined that your channels will be indefinitely suspended from the YouTube Partner Program and no longer eligible to monetize.”

While YouTube did not speak on any specific occurrence, its decision to demonetize Jackson came one day after Discovery+ aired the final episode of its three-part docuseries on the creator, called Onision: In Real Life.

The Allegations Towards Onision

Onision: In Real Life focused on the numerous relationships and grooming and emotional abuse allegations made towards Jackson during his tenure on YouTube.

The docuseries highlights one of Jackson’s earlier relationships with singer Shiloh Hoganson, who entered a relationship with Jackson at 17. While in the relationship, Hoganson explained that living with him was like being a part of a cult, and that he pressured her to be perfect all the time, like a “living doll.”

Hoganson said that Jackson controlled her in several ways. He supplied her with a phone where he had access to all of her phone numbers and all of her social media passwords. She also said that she could not leave the house and had zero contact with the outside world, including contact with her parents.

The series included a clip of a now-removed video that showed Jackson throwing candy corn at Hoganson and saying, “You know this video is never going to be online, right? No one will ever know how much I abuse you. It’s ridiculous that you think you’ll be successful.”

It also showed another removed video where Hoganson went into, what she described as, a trauma-related seizure where she could not recall who she was, and Jackson did not seem to help her.

More Come Forward

Over the last few years, several women who were fans of Jackson came forward and revealed that he and his current partner, Kai Avaroe, manipulated them into sexual relationships, all of which happened as they flew them out to film videos for Jackson’s YouTube channels.

The series discussed an unnamed woman’s experience about living with Jackson and Avaroe at 16 years old, after she began communicating with Avaroe at the age 14; in one video, Avaroe claimed that the woman was in an unhealthy environment at home and wanted to “help her out.”

The woman also contacted Hoganson about her encounter with Jackson and Avaroe, detailing that once she turned 18, the couple became very sexual in front of her, later coercing her to join them. After their relationship ended in 2019, the woman came forward with her story and others followed. All of these women then banded together to create the #DeplatformPredetors hashtag on social media to get him off the internet.

Chris Hansen, reporter and former host of To Catch a Predator, soon became involved with the allegations and began interviewing some of the survivors on his series Have a Seat with Chris Hansen. As Hansen began conducting these interviews, Jackson started posting disturbing “breakdown” videos on his OnisionSpeaks channel while denying the accusations.

Furthermore, the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department launched an investigation into Jackson that same year, but as of now, no charges have been filed.

Why Did It Take YouTube So Long To Act?

While YouTube did make the move to demonetize Jackson, many may wonder why it took the video platform so long to take any form of action.

In the docuseries, attorney Maggie Mabie explains that internet crimes are difficult to prosecute and investigate because the internet has grown so much that the law cannot catch up to these developments. She also said that the real power in monitoring this kind of behavior is only at the hands of the people who created the platform in the first place.

“YouTube has taken it upon itself to monitor itself,” Mabie said. “That is still a very unregulated and wild type of system because there’s no oversight.”

Internet culture reporter Steven Asarch also said that since YouTube sees millions of hours of content uploaded every day, the platform has no way to police all of that content to see if it aligns with its community guidelines.

“All of these social media platforms intentionally keep their terms of service vague so that they can enforce it in any ways that they deem fit,” Asarch said.

The demonetization is not Jackson’s first instance of being removed from a social media platform. In 2019, Patreon banned him after he doxxed fellow YouTuber Billie Dawn Webb when she accused him of harassment and manipulation. Additionally, Twitch banned Jackson last January, but reinstated his account in October.

Lexi Jones is an award-winning journalist and Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Las Vegas, she covers startup brands in entertainment, internet and LGBTQ+ startup news. She is also an editor of Grit Daily's "Top 100" entrepreneur lists.

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