Early morning on February 12th, some heavy news was spreading across the various streaming platforms: government officials held an overnight meeting in Beijing with executives from various streaming platforms to discuss banning certain streamers on their respective platforms, some of them including famous ones like MC Tianyou and Wu Wu Kai. The move would ban their ability to stream in any way in the future, including posting short video clips.
Shortly after, it was learned that well-known streamer, MC Tianyou, has been issued a cross-platform ban, which was later confirmed during last night’s Focus Report on CCTV. The show criticized Tianyou’s behavior of openly discussing sexual content, including explicitly talking about women’s breast sizes during a stream. During another stream, he performed a “Han Mai” routine called “Meth, You’re So Cute,” describing in detail the sensations after taking meth, creating disturbances among his viewers.
The national “Anti Pornography and Illegal Content” team’s vice chairman also appeared on the show. He said, “His (Tianyou) actions are hurting the society and polluting our internet environment. Things like this are obstacles between us and the ultimate goal of a more harmonious society.”
These are quite the nails in the coffin.
Tianyou’s situation might also have something to do with his growing fame and influence. In 2016, as streaming became mainstream, Tianyou, a high school dropout who went on to sell kabobs, open at a pool room, and work as an internet cafe cashier, decided to join in on the fun. His routine “My Drunk Monologue” became viral and helped him quickly rise to the top of the streaming scene.
His fame also helped him break into mainstream media; many variety shows and galas have invited the streaming sensation to appear on their programs. For instance, in September of 2016, Tianyou was invited to attend “Day Day Up,” during which he performed his popular “My Drunk Monologue.” Five months later, he went on Tencent’s “Roast” as a guest. In September the same year, he was even invited as assisting vocalist for a contestant, Mao Buyi, on the show “The Coming One.”
Furthermore, according to a 2017 price list of major streamers, Tianyou’s commercial appearance fee (including 3 songs and hosting fees) has reached ￥400,000 RMB, and the same goes for offline streaming sessions that are less than 2 hours. If one were to invite him to appear in internet series or movies, the cost would be a whopping ￥800,000 RMB. Even a mere re-post on Weibo from Tianyou would set one back ￥100,000 RMB. There are even rumors that his net worth has surpassed ￥100 million RMB, overshadowing many celebrities in the entertainment industry.
Unfortunately, these “Han Mai” routines have been regarded as offensive and lewd by the general public, as the topics often involve violence, disrespecting women, and other crude themes. This eventually lead to the crackdown from the government.
At the end of January, streaming platform YY issued an emergency notice, requiring all streamers to remove words such as “MC”, “Han Mai”, “Sexy”, and “School Play.” At the same time, there were rumors saying that there would be a round of harsh regulation similar to what happened to the hip-hop scene earlier, with 77 Han Mai routines and over 1,000 streamers being banned.
As soon as the news broke, Tianyou quickly changed his username from “MC Tianyou Ya” to just “Tianyou Ya.” Additionally, he went on to shoot a public service short movie, and partnered with the Guangjian App (an app that allows you to “buy” time to spend with celebrities) for an “MC Tianyou 20s Charity Time.” He even started using Weibo to help Yucheng County’s fruit farmers sell apples in the name of charity. When the ban hammer came, he changed his Weibo username to his real name, “Li Tianyou.”
Sadly, these moves weren’t enough to sway the government officials. The lewd comments may have raised some eyebrows, but his discussion about taking drugs was the main fuse that led to his exile from all major streaming platforms. In China, topics relating to drugs are major taboos, especially for public figures openly discussing such matters in front of an audience.
The ban could not have come at a more unfortunate time: Tianyou’s Youku exclusive movie, “Real Life Cannon 2,” just debuted today.
Translated by Kane Ge
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