A viral video stoked fears that fans of “Youth With You 3” were wasting food after buying bottles of flavored yogurt drink just to get extra votes for their favorite contestants.
One of China’s most popular online talent shows has been suspended days before its season finale due to a voting promotion that may have resulted in crazed fans wasting vast quantities of milk.
The trigger was a video that went viral over the five-day Labor Day holiday in early May, showing a group of middle-aged people opening bottles of dairy product, pouring their contents into buckets, and dumping the buckets into a drainage ditch. All they were interested in, apparently, were the bottle caps with QR codes printed on the inside that could be scanned to vote for contestants on the wildly popular talent show “Youth With You 3.”
Though it’s unclear when and where the video was recorded, it is an open secret that die-hard fans of such shows spend absurd amounts of money to help their favorite contestants win. This time, however, their irrational — and potentially wasteful — behavior has drawn fire from the state-run Xinhua News Agency.
China just enacted its inaugural anti-food waste law last week, Xinhua said in an editorial published Tuesday, characterizing the scene depicted in the video as “disrespecting labor” and “showing contempt for the law.”
“Ultimately, this (behavior) will mislead young people and erode their values,” the editorial said. “This isn’t just a matter of pouring dairy products into a ditch — it’s about ditching our youth!”
Hours later, Beijing’s radio and television bureau ordered iQiyi, the video streaming site that produces “Youth With You 3,” to suspend the show — just days before its scheduled finale on May 8. “The platform should improve the management of its program, as well as check and rectify the existing problems,” the bureau said, without identifying the problems.
– This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone.