YouTube has become a platform where any and all can share original content. It has, in a way, become a place where the unseen can become seen. Thus, this is where a Korean YouTuber by the channel name of “I’mTourette” also chose to make himself be seen and heard — as he began sharing videos of himself going about his daily life while battling his severe tic disorder.
In his videos, I’mTourette captured how his Tourette’s symptoms made it difficult for him to perform even the simplest of activities, like eating. His first-ever video showed him trying to finish a bowl of noodles while sporadically flinching and shouting. He explained that he can’t ever have a peaceful meal because his symptoms would always make him spill things and break things.
You all should be feeling blessed that you can eat normally.
The channel soon gained over 370K subscribers, all deeply inspired by his will to confront himself and to “share his side of the story”.
One subscriber, who also had been diagnosed with Tourette’s for over 30 years, became so touched by I’mTourette stepping out into the world that he too created his own YouTube channel in hopes of facing his fears. It seemed I’mTourette had given the viewers and fellow Tourette’s patients hope.
I felt inspired by I’mTourette because his symptoms are so much worse than mine but he went out there anyway and even had a positive impact on many people’s lives.
— YouTuber Lee Gun Hee
As the channel grew I’mTourette continued to upload videos that showed him challenging himself against his own tics. His weekly profit from these videos estimated to be around 8,000 USD…
… until one day, a comment under one of his videos called him out for “being fake”. This comment, allegedly coming from his middle school classmate, pointed out that I’mTourette did not have any Tourette’s symptoms when he was in school.
He didn’t have any tics 10 years ago though. I can’t believe he would have developed Tourette’s in a decade. I’m pretty sure he’s faking the symptoms so he can make money off YouTube.
— Middle School Classmate
The day after this comment surfaced on I’mTourette’s YouTube channel, the YouTuber abruptly switched all his videos to private and declared he won’t be making any more. He also vaguely admitted that he has been “acting” in his videos to make it seem like he has a very severe case of Tourette’s:
I’m going to stop making videos. I realized that I am hurting other Tourette’s patients. I also see no need to continue, as I have been successful in raising awareness about the disorder… I’m sorry for creating this mess though. It is true that when I began making YouTube videos, I have exaggerated the symptoms.
On the other hand, more of I’mTourette’s in-real-life acquaintances began revealing the truth about the rising YouTuber’s symptoms. His college friends particularly had a difficult time believing that he suffered any tic disorder at all.
He studied food science in college… but if he has tics, there is no way he would have been allowed to handle knives and other kitchen utensils. He is making it up for his content. Everyone who knew him at school became surprised by what he did…
— College Classmate
And to everyone’s shock and disgust, one acquaintance suggested that I’mTourette might be imitating an actual Tourette’s patient that he had met in military duty. A squad-mate, who had enlisted with I’mTourette, revealed that someone else on the squad may have given the YouTuber the entire idea.
There was another guy at the base who didn’t really get along well with everyone else. The seniors made fun of him and called him Tourette. I can’t help but believe that I’mTourette is imitating that person and making money from it…
When an investigative program Curious Stories Y tracked him down and tried to speak with him after everything blew over, the YouTuber responded with complete silence.
Production Staff: We’re from SBS.
Meanwhile, Tourette Syndrome experts who gathered to analyze his videos have collectively agreed that most of his tics are likely to be fake. They are seemingly edited to look more severe, inconsistent in repetition, and most importantly, deliberately controlled to inflict no actual harm on himself.
It is possible that he may have had a very mild, almost unnoticeable vocal tic growing up. However, most of his other tics are likely to be fake. It is also unlikely that a Tourette’s this severe develops in adulthood. His tics are neither consistent nor uncontrolled — which leads us to believe they are being acted out.
Viewers — including other Tourette’s patients who found so much motivation from I’mTourette’s videos — are outraged by this YouTuber’s indecency…
… and by the fact that he actually won’t face any legal consequences for “scamming” everyone on YouTube. I’mTourette has since taken down all of his videos — but his channel remains active, under a different name “JeniTou”.
There is very little chance that the court will rule this as a fraud case even if someone takes him through with a lawsuit… If the profit came only from the advertisement views, then it is as per YouTube’s policy and therefore cannot be considered fraudulent.
— Lawyer Choi Jae Yoon
Watch the full Curious Stories Y coverage here: