A Russian man died on air after drinking what is believed to be low-quality vodka, according to local reports. The death once again prompted officials to call for a ban on streaming of violence online.
The incident happened in Smolensk city on Thursday, when YouTuber Zheka offered Yuri Dushechkin to drink vodka in exchange for money in what is known as "trash streaming." The 60-year-old died after drinking around one and a half liters (over 50 ounce) of vodka and his lifeless body lay on the floor during the livestream, according to local reports.
Local police officers and paramedics arrived at Zheka's apartment and found Dushechkin lifeless. The exact cause of his death will be established after authorities carry out an autopsy.
Dushechkin, who was popularly known as "grandfather" by viewers, was a regular on First Step to YouTube channel. He reportedly had a strong fanbase on the Telegram app, where users discussed his death at length and offered condolences.
Zheka often made homeless people to do stunts as requested by viewers. The people carried out those stunts — some of them humiliating — in return of money. It remained unclear if any legal action will be taken against him.
On Friday, Russian Senator Alexey Pushkov called for a ban on livestreaming violent content online. "A homeless man died in Smolensk during a trash streaming session," Pushkov said in a tweet. "He was bullied and beaten, and the internet scum paid money to a blogger for this spectacle."
Dushechkin's death came within two months of the death of a Russian woman whose YouTuber boyfriend Stanislav Reshetnikov locked her out on a balcony in freezing temperatures with little clothing. Reshetnikov, who goes by the name Reeflay Panini on YouTube, made headlines in December after he livestreamed his girlfriend Valentina Grigoryeva's death.
Reshetnikov locked Grigoryeva out on a balcony in the sub-zero temperatures in a bid to "punish her" because her intestinal infection would make her "stink." He found her unconscious after he finally let his girlfriend inside the house. Grigoryeva's body could be seen lying by the door as Reshetnikov continued with the live broadcast.
The incident prompted Russian authorities to call for a ban on "trash streaming." Irina Kirkora, deputy chair of the Presidential Council for Human Rights, at the time called for prosecution of vloggers who broadcast violent content.