YouTuber Rob Gavagan, formerly Rob Dyke, legally changed his name after its unfortunate connotations led the site to demonetise his videos.
The 31-year-old has built up an impressive YouTube following over the past few years after he started posting videos in 2012.
Rob now has over two million subscribers, who tune in to his popular series’ Seriously Strange and Why Would You Put That On The Internet, as well as his other videos.
After going by Rob Dyke for years, the YouTuber recently revealed he’d changed his last name after realising the site targeted it as a slur.
Addressing the changes to his channel in a video, Rob explained:
I just wanted to take a quick moment to explain the clearly obvious change to my channel.
I’m not Rob Dyke anymore.
YouTube was targeting my last name as a slur, which it was. So they decided to demonetise videos and whatnot based on the fact that I had my name in the video description.
He goes on to say:
I was finding out that my videos weren’t getting demonetised as quickly, or at all, if I removed my name, or my last name at least, from the description.
Of course, it’s easy to understand where YouTube are coming from, as the word ‘dyke’ can be used as a slur for a lesbian.
However, this obviously wasn’t the case with Rob’s last name, which had presumably been passed down in his family, as most surnames are.
The 31-year-old went on to explain, rather than simply change the name on his channel, he decided to make it official, explaining:
I decided to go ahead and change my name. It’s not just a cosmetic thing, I went through the process, went through a whole court order and got everything switched around a little bit.
Also, it’s not just YouTube, I felt that my old name … wasn’t doing me any favours professionally.
There’s a multitude of reasons as to why I feel that way so I decided to go and change it.
If you’re wondering ‘where did Gavagan come from?’… it was my great-grandmother’s last name… I wanted to revive it.
It sucks that it had to be done… but I’m kind of sick of talking about it.
While the reasoning behind YouTube’s targeting of Rob is understandable, it’s sad we’re at a place where someone has to literally change their identity to avoid a word’s connotations.
Rob’s followers were understanding and supportive, with one person commenting:
Demonetization because of someone’s legal name; I’m speechless.
Hopefully the video sharing site will learn from Rob’s story and find a way around the issue with their word targeting in the future.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.