Mr. Ape, an online pseudonym, has recently come under scrutiny for crowdfunding the acquisition of deeply disturbing videos featuring the torture of monkeys — the funding efforts were conducted by the means of various cryptocurrencies.
An extensive investigation reveals a worrying and shadowy community online that appears to revel in the pain and suffering of these animals.
This community, dubbed “baby monkey hate”, has seen an alarming surge in popularity on platforms such as YouTube. This disconcerting phenomenon first reared its head after the upload of a video titled “Enduna the Male Leopard Catches a Baby Monkey” by the 24-7 Wildlife Broadcasting Network, Wild Earth, in 2011.
The video amassed over 100,000 views and, more concerningly, attracted comments from an account associated with a playlist titled “Torture House Monkeys”.
Comment sections under such videos frequently harbor violent and disturbing sentiments, often fixating on the distressing dynamics between mothers and infants. While the content of the videos is deeply unsettling, the commentary often proves to be even more so, with users displaying clear enjoyment of animal cruelty.
However, this pattern of behavior is not confined to anonymous internet dwellers.
Regular individuals, living seemingly ordinary lives offline, have been found among the ranks of the monkey haters. This includes a husband and father of two, who harbors a traumatic past and PTSD, potentially contributing to his extreme aversion towards macaques, a monkey species often victimized in these videos.
Interestingly, that person also voiced deep concern over animal cruelty on his Facebook profile, recounting an event in which a cat was hit by a car — while he himself enjoys watching monkeys being hurt. This alarming trend suggests that the community supporting these videos may be predominantly composed of individuals grappling with mental health issues.
The act of watching and reveling in videos of monkeys enduring harm has continued unchecked for more than a decade. The community appears to rationalize their hobby through devaluing the monkeys, likening them to vermin.
An investigation by Animal for Primates revealed a more organized structure within the community. A now-deleted forum and Telegram group were discovered, where videos of monkeys being tortured were being created and sold.
These operations reached out to Southeast Asian producers, offering financial incentive for videos of monkeys being subjected to specific forms of torture. This resulted in a wave of disturbing content emerging from the region, where the comparatively high value of US dollars provided significant motivation to local operators.
Vice reported on the discovery of two notorious producers of monkey torture videos, known as “Ji Owner” and “Mas Poshay.” Both originally started as pet monkey YouTubers but gradually transitioned into the production of the deeply disturbing content currently on offer — presumably because this kind of content resulted in more views and consequently financial gains.
This unsettling trend has developed into an organized operation, with monkeys being leased to clients for long-term use in videos. Some clients are even allowed to decide the fate of the animals after paying for their “adoption.” The identity of these producers remains largely unknown.
The distributors, typically affluent Westerners, are effectively bankrolling a cruel industry of monkey torture. Many of these videos found their way onto YouTube but were eventually taken down. In response, the producers and distributors turned to 0chan, a now defunct decentralized ZeroNet-based alternative to 4chan, to share their content.
Mr. Ape, viewed as a sort of leader in this niche, began to share hard-to-find videos in return for money and cryptocurrency. His actions led to the release of hundreds of new videos, further propagating this cycle of animal abuse.
The operator continued his involvement in the financing and distribution of these abusive videos until a former collaborator leaked his identity as a 27-year-old physics undergraduate from Maryland. It was within these threads that more extreme suggestions emerged, including the potential expansion of abuse towards other animals such as cats.
Interestingly enough, the community showed strong cognitive dissonance and reacted with disgust and outrage to the request of videos featuring cats.
The person behind the request was subject to personal attacks, slurs and his intelligence was insulted and described as a sick sadist for comparing monkey torture videos to videos portraying violence on cats — something that the community views as fundamentally different.
This community, seemingly thriving off the pain of helpless animals, primarily uploads these horrifying videos for monetary gain. Donations from viewers, often extracted through sympathy, are funneled to the creators. Some creators have already faced backlash, with a few facing arrests.
Although this obscure phenomenon began to gain attention in 2019, thanks to a Reddit user inquiring about a disturbing Discord server named Boys Club, it didn’t fully resurface until 2021.
Members of Boys Club were found discussing the killing of baby monkeys, in addition to viewing child pornography, further highlighting the alarming overlap between animal abuse and other forms of exploitation within this community.
Efforts are ongoing to expose this community and the individuals behind it. However, the anonymous nature of online platforms, combined with the ability to transact in cryptocurrencies, complicates the process of holding these individuals accountable.