The 55-year-old co-founder of the popular YouTube channel for girls, SevenAwesomeKids, was arrested on allegations of ‘lewd or lascivious molestation’ against one of his underage video stars.
Ian Rylett, the 55-year-old man who co-founded the YouTube channel, was arrested and charged in Orange County, Florida, after police were called to his hotel room following an incident that allegedly occurred between him and one of the girls in the chanel’s videos on August 16.
Rylett is accused of having verbally abused the girl, who is under the age of 16, insisting that she take off her clothes in front of him and ‘practice wrapping her breasts down, to make them appear smaller for the video shoot,’ according to an arrest warrant obtained by BuzzFeed News.
Ian Rylett, 55, was arrested and charged with lewd or lascivious molestation of a minor after being accused of verbally abusing and fondling one of his YouTube channel stars
Rylett’s SevenAwesomeKids YouTube video brand has 17million subscribers
The warrant also states that the girl, who has not been named, said that Rylett touched her breasts and fondled her during that time and even attempted to take off her underwear.
The girl allegedly told authorities that if she didn’t do what he wanted, Rylett ‘threatened to use the contract to fine her.’
Rylett, who lives in the UK, pleaded not guilty to the charge of lewd or lascivious battery of a minor of a minor child under the age of 16 during his August arraignment and is said to have surrendered his passport.
He is due to stand trial later this year.
Rylett’s SevenAwesomeKids brand’s seven YouTube channels — bearing names such as SevenFuntasticGirls and Seven PerfectAngels — have more than 17million subscribers combined, with the videos having been watched billions of times, according to The Verge.
The videos star a cast of more than 20 girls who are between the ages of eight and 18 years old.
All the channels remain live on YouTube, despite the company being aware of Rylett’s arrest for alleged child molestation. No new videos have been posted since August 14, two days prior to Rylett’s arrest.
The videos star girls between the ages of eight and 18, appearing in videos that have been watched more than a billion times
In a YouTube statement obtained by both BuzzFeed and The Verge, the streaming video company said, ‘We take safety on YouTube very seriously,’ and noted that ‘We work closely with leading child safety organizations and others in our industry to protect young people. When we’re made aware of serious allegations of this nature we take action, which may include suspending monetization, or, upon conclusion of an investigation, terminating channels.’
The SevenAwesomeKids channels were indeed ‘demonetized’ — so the videos no longer receives lucrative ad dollars — by YouTube following Rylett’s arrest, although YouTube never told the girls starring in the videos about Rylett’s arrest, according to reports.
In 2017, comedian Daniel Tosh did a segment on his Comedy Central show Tosh.0 in which he questioned the demographic of people watching the SevenAwesomeKids videos.
‘I’ll level with you — I may have stumbled across something dark here,’ he said in the clip.
He later asked, ‘Who’s watching all of these videos of little girls in bathing suits and taped up to beds?’ I supect it’s not just teenage girls, it’s dude. Chomos, if you will.’
‘Chomo’ is said to be prison slang for child molesters.
Following the broadcast of the Tosh.0 episode, ‘some of us started to get the feeling we were being groomed for some darker audience,’ a former SevenAwesomeKids performer told BuzzFeed News, noting that things that had seemed innocent to her at the time ‘like the themes, the leotards, and the camera angles — started to feel strange,’ especially considering some of the girls in the video are as young as nine years old.
In the wake of Rylett’s arrest, some of the former channel regulars have started to question the fact that there are ‘no regulation or protections’ for performers on platforms like YouTube, standing in start contrast to those put in place by traditional actors unions.
One of Rylett’s channels, SevenGymnasticsGirls, said to be the most popular of channels, was terminated for violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines in early August, not long before his arrest.