Cover Corp Addresses Discrepancy in Chinese Statement Regarding Virtual YouTubers Akai Haato, Kiryu Coco
posted on by Kim Morrissy
Cover Corp, the company which runs the Virtual YouTuber agency hololive, released statements in English and Japanese on Wednesday to address discrepancies with an earlier statement in Chinese regarding the VTubers Akai Haato and Kiryu Coco. The company apologized for that previous statement, which "included language insensitive to certain geographical regions," and will endeavor to "release statements that not only conform to local laws and customs but are also universally equitable." As a form of redress, the CEO will take a salary cut, and the company has created a Compliance Committee.
The recent statement refers to an earlier statement posted on Chinese streaming website bilibili on Sunday. Although the company released joint statements in English, Japanese, and simplified Chinese stating the VTubers would be suspended for three weeks for "inappropriate remarks" and "unauthorized disclosure of YouTube channel analytics" they made in a livestream, a separate statement in Chinese declared that Cover Corp "firmly supports the One-China principle."
Kiryu Coco and Akai Haato's livestreams from last week originally included a segment where they revealed their channel's viewership demographics. Akai Haato's livestream was set to private at the time of this article's writing, while the video archive of Kiryu Coco's livestream from last Thursday has been cut at the 2:47 mark. Comments on the video infer that during the six minutes of deleted footage, Coco commented on her channel's viewership demographics by region. YouTube Analytics lists Taiwan and China as separate regions.
Proponents of the One-China principle seek reunification between Taiwan and China under the same sovereign state. This stance is opposed by supporters of the Taiwan independence movement, who seek to establish a Taiwanese identity separate from China.
Cover Corp's recent statement also clarifies the timeline of events. It notes that the VTuber talent was subject to harassment and abuse due to the controversy over the livestreams, including "threats to their life or of bodily harm." Even after deleting the controversial videos or setting them to private, the situation did not improve. In order to prioritize the safety of the talents, an official statement was released in a state of emergency. The original Chinese statement was created in consultation with Cover Corp's partner company in China.
Cover Corp stated that it intends to operate in accordance to the laws and social norms of local regions. The content and manner of the Chinese statement's release was due to the desire to adapt it to the needs of the audience. However, Cover Corp notes that this approach has caused confusion and apologized accordingly.
The statement has not been posted on hololive's bilibili account as of this article's writing.
In addition, hololive's English Twitter account has posted a series of tweets addressing viewer etiquette going forward: "We have been made aware of a number of attempts to incite controversy against our talents by causing them to utter sensitive statements using the live stream chat. In response to this, we have set up a list of terms unable to be mentioned at present to prevent this. Please understand that this response is not politically motivated and is intended to ensure the peaceful live streams by our talents."
Cover Corp was founded in 2016, and the Hololive Production project first launched in 2017. Over 50 Virtual YouTubers currently belong to hololive; according to the agency's English website, it has around 4.4 million fans on YouTube and 4 million on bilibili. The talents perform using intricate 2D and 3D avatars provided by the company. The first generation of hololive China debuted in October 2019, and hololive English debuted earlier this month.