The answer to this question may surprise you: a small group of people have an intense hatred for baby monkeys. They watch videos of monkeys being abused online, and discuss them on YouTube’s “sick monkey torture playlist.” This community is not only a twisted bunch of sadists, it’s also getting rich off their obsession with the little primates.
When Lucy Kapetanich clicked off her webcam at night, she flipped to YouTube. She loved watching cute animal videos, especially a family of chimpanzees at a zoo in Japan, and she would watch them for hours before drifting to sleep. What she didn’t know was that YouTube’s algorithm was tracking her every click, saving her preferences, and presenting her with new content it thought she’d like.
This led her to a video of a baby capuchin monkey in a cage at a coconut farm in Indonesia, and that’s where things got real. The young girl, Mini, had been severely beaten; her tail was broken and her baby teeth were missing; her eyes had been gouged out.
This was no ordinary monkey abuse. In this case, the capuchin was being tortured by the farmers to get her to eat the coconuts that she would otherwise leave behind, a practice called “captive foraging.” When the video hit YouTube, it enraged a large number of viewers who contacted the local authorities and demanded an end to the violence. This video brought together a community of monkey-hating YouTubers, and one of them, Dave Gooptar in Trinidad, began investigating the crimes on his own.