We're approaching the end of March, which means winter is mostly behind us and the shenanigans that went down in the online world. While one popular creator's star keeps rising, other notable Black YouTubers keep free falling into deeper trouble. Here's the biggest news surrounding Black content creators this month.
Twitch Sends Kai Cenat Nike Shoes After Record-Breaking Subathon
Following Twitch star Kai Cenat's record-breaking sub-a-thon last month and winning Streamer of the Year, his fans were clamoring for the platform to recognize him in some official capacity. Cenat recently revealed on stream that he received a surprise gift from the Amazon-owned streaming giant.
"'Congratulations, Kai on your huge accomplishment. We are so proud of you, Laura, Anna, and all of your friends at Twitch,'" Cenat read from the note inside the box, possibly referencing his successful month-long stream. The gift turned out to be a custom pair of Nike shoes, decked out with Twitch's iconic purple color, Cenat's logo, and a line of text reading "King of Twitch," among other details.
"It’s giving,” Cenat utters before playing music and showing off the shoes. While the streamer was left speechless about the shoes, Twitter was roasting Twitch about gifting him "clown shoes" for his huge achievement.
“This man brought in what, 300k for twitch? And they send him a custom 300 pound sneaks? Lmao," one Twitter user wrote.
“Why they don’t wanna give bro a contract,” another asked.
“Giving a grown man those is insane,” a commentator said.
"There’s no way twitch gifted Kai Cenat some JoJo Siwa looking a** shoes as a reward for his success," another Twitter user reacted.
This incident has also fueled rumors about Cenat moving to another streaming platform, but neither Cenat nor his management has hinted at such plans.
EDP445 Calls Damning Accusations A "Set-Up" In Latest Video
Disgraced YouTuber EDP445 is trying to declare his innocence again two years after predator hunters lured him into trying to meet up with an underage girl. The longtime content creator lost his career following a damning video from Chet Goldstein and the Predator Poachers, which shows EDP allegedly trying to rendezvous with a minor for sexual acts. The vigilante group also provided screenshots of conversations EDP, whose real name is Bryant Moreland, reportedly having sexually-charged conversations with the subject.
Last week, EDP released a video trying to frame the shocking situation as a "set-up" by the Predator Poachers, but many online personalities are questioning some of his evidence. Moreland claims he received an email from Goldstein, who he accused of impersonating a production studio, about showing up to audition for a role. The former YouTuber maintains the sting operation was actually an acting scene between him and Goldstein.
Some content creators, including popular YouTuber penguinz0, have debunked these documents and emails as fake or Photoshopped. Part of the video included EDP himself speaking with someone in an interview, but YouTubers have pointed out that Moreland is actually speaking with an AI bot.
His critics are also wondering why he's trying to debunk the allegations now when he had years to do so.
Moreland has tried to come back to the Internet multiple times after the explosive exposé. Each attempt has ended in his new social media accounts getting taken down, or people immediately reminding any new fans about his actions.
YouTube Flexer Gets $30 Million Fine & Prison Time For TV Piracy Scheme
Bill Omar Carrasquillo, known as Omi in a Hellcat on YouTube, was sentenced to 5.5 years in federal prison for running a successful TV piracy scheme. U.S. District Judge Harvey Bartle III ordered Carrasquillo to forfeit $30 million in assets and pay nearly $11 million in restitution to cable companies he scammed, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on March 8.
The Philadelphia-area content creator was known as one of the platform's biggest flexers, showing off dozens of luxury cars, his huge mansion in Swedesboro, Pennsylvania, and his diamond-encrusted jewelry. Omi's lavish videos earned him over 800,000 subscribers on YouTube, but his enormous wealth came from leading a massive cable TV piracy enterprise.
"From about March 2016 until at least November 2019, Carrasquillo along with his co-defendants operated a large-scale internet protocol television (IPTV) piracy scheme in which they fraudulently obtained cable television accounts and then resold copyrighted content to thousands of their own subscribers, who could then stream or playback content," according to prosecutors.
Officials said the illicit business racked up $34 million in profits before the U.S. Justice Department shut it down in 2019. It's one of the largest and most successful television piracy schemes federal prosecutors ever tackled.
“Thirty million dollars is a lot of money [but] tangible objects aren’t everything,” Judge Bartle said, per The Philadelphia Inquirer. “You have a large following and there may be people who think if you can get away with it, they can too.”
Carrasquillo was indicted in September 2019 for multiple charges, including copyright infringement, tax fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering. Because he failed to report his ill-gotten funds to the IRS, he must also pay $5.7 million in back taxes, officials said.
Federal authorities will begin selling off the YouTuber's assets seized in a 2019 raid, including Carrasquillo's infamous collection of Lamborghinis, Porsches, Bentleys, and McLarens and a portfolio of over four dozen properties he collected across Philadelphia and its suburbs.
Omi is currently out on bail and has until May 8 to begin serving his sentence. During his sentencing, Carrasquillo apologized to his family, employees, and the companies he swindled, saying he "didn’t know the significance of this crime" until the FBI arrested him.
Carrasqullo's YouTube channel is still live and the last upload was on January 30 this year.
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