YouTuber’s False Review Forces South Korean Restaurant to Shut Down

HayanTree, a popular restaurant and food reviewer on YouTube, has recently come under fire for causing a restaurant to close down after his false review negatively affected the business.

On December 7, HayanTree, who at the time sported just over 700,000 subscribers on YouTube, posted a video review of an all-you-can-eat soy sauce-marinated crab restaurant in Daegu. At one point, the popular YouTuber refills his plate, but notices grains of rice in his marinade, raising the suspicion that the restaurant might be reusing its unsold food. The controversial review quickly went viral, getting over 1 million views in a matter of days, and impacted the accused restaurant so profoundly that it had to be closed down a few days later.

Photo: zero take/Unsplash

“In less than two to three hours after the YouTuber posted the video, our staff members left the restaurant’s explanation multiple times that we do not reuse our food and we could provide the entire footage from the security camera, but our comments got blocked so other people could not see them.” the restaurant owner told The Korea Herald.

That security footage the businessman mentioned ended up showing that the rice grains HayanTree had noticed came from the previous dish he had eaten, and were on the plate before it was refilled. The YouTuber himself acknowledged his mistake and took down his negative review, and posted an apology video in its place.

“I went to apologize to the owner of the restaurant for creating the video without thinking about my impact, but the owner did not feel comfortable about filming another video,” HayanTree says in his video. “I should have gone about making the video with accurate facts and I am truly sorry for my ignorance.”


But his retraction did little to help the restaurant, according to its owner, as they claim that by the time HayanTree returned to shoot another video, the business had already closed down.

“When the YouTuber came to film again, we were already shut down,” said the owner. “I am really frustrated and want to know if it is possible to prevent YouTubers’ abuse and tyranny, which is scarier than the coronavirus, and I am petitioning for laws and regulations so that self-employed people can comfortably focus on their business.”

Last Tuesday, the wronged restaurant owner posted a national petition on the Cheong Wa Dae website, venting his frustration about how HayanTree handled the situation and asking for on authorities to intervene and regulate YouTubers’ powers so other businesses don’t suffer the same fate.


Although HayanTree’s subscriber count has gone down from over 700,000 to 645,000 (at the time of this writing), he has yet to suffer any real consequences for his false review. In South Korea, the story has sparked a debate about the powers of social media influencers and and the lack of regulation in this field.

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