Desmond “Etika” Amofa died by suicide after months of troubling and concerning behavior online. Only a month before his death, a YouTube Channel called Drama Alert aired an episode where the host told Etika to jump off a cliff and kill himself.
On April 29, 2019, Desmond “Etika” Amofa live streamed from his home after police responded to a welfare check at his apartment. Etika had been making concerning statements and tweeted a photo of himself with a gun.
While he filmed the event from his apartment, cops banged on his door. Etika told police he was scared about letting him into his home. After refusing to let police into his house, authorities broke his door down.
During the live stream, Etika rambled and talked about people online wanting to hurt him. He seemed lucid at times and other moments lost in a fog. When police finally made contact with him, they transported him to a Brooklyn hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
Shortly after he returned home, Drama Alert host, who calls himself “Keemstar” slid into Etika’s DMs. Etika had been a longtime fan of the show. Keemstar had made a hobby of documenting Etika’s mental health decline to his 5 million YouTube subscribers.
Only a day after police removed Etika from his home, Keem used the opportunity to interview Etika by phone. Keem uploaded the episode on April 30, 2019. During the interview, Keem called Etika crazy and mocked his mental illness.
Additionally, Keem played the live stream video of Etika’s encounter with the police. Keem bragged that he had footage from inside and outside of the home because of his “Drama Alert” connections.
About midway through the show, Keem plays the interview with Etika. During the call, Etika appears entirely out of touch with reality. He refers to himself as the anti-christ. Etika insists that he controls the world and determines everything that happens. At one point, Etika said that he believed life was a simulation controlled by the master anti-christ.
Instead of seeing the red flags of a profoundly sick person, Keem mocked Etika. The host asked Etika if he was faking his illness for attention and clout. Then the most troubling part of the interview occurred during a heated exchange. Etika insisted that life was a simulation and not real.
“When you say death means nothing, are you basically saying life is a simulation?”
“Yeah!” Amofah said. “Life is a video game; we’re all in a video game.”
Only a few moments later, Keem gave Etika a now eerie suggestion,
“If you really think about it, then why live?” Just jump off a cliff? If it’s just a simulation, who cares?”
After making the suggestion, the interview escalated and became more hostile. Eventually, Etika hung up on Keem. The host laughed off the behavior of Etika and continued to mock Etika’s illness.
Then Keem tweeted to his followers that he called Etika weak.
Flash forward to June, Etika uploaded a video on YouTube that ended up being a suicide video. Etika wandered the streets of New York and talked about ending his life. He admitted that he had never been suicidal but had been pushed too far.
The video was the last time anyone ever heard from Etika again. While Etika was missing, Keem uploaded memes to Twitter mocking Etika. The YouTuber implied that Etika’s video might be a stunt.
Keem wrote, “The thing that pisses me off is that Etika now 100% knows the internet is worried about him. And 13 hours later he’s not not (sic) notifying fans that he’s ok. Maybe it’s cus he did off himself. But.” He posted a meme of a man that said “Doubt.”
However, Etika was already deceased when Keem sent that tweet. New York Police Department recovered his body from the East River on June 25. As fans mourned his passing, Keem began a campaign to raise money for Etika.
Despite Keem’s efforts to distract people from his behavior, people quickly responded by reminding Keem that he told Etika to kill himself. Small YouTube channels made videos calling out Keem for mocking and pushing Etika to the edge.
Then fans of Etika began tweeting their outrage about Keem’s video. People were outraged that the YouTuber failed to address the horrible way he treated Etika in the months leading up to his death.
Keem shared a video of Etika’s final words to fans. He then began sharing a link to a crowdfunding site to raise money to help people with mental illness. The Drama Channel host said that he planned to take time off YouTube, but he uploaded an unrelated video later that night.
YouTube has remained silent regarding the video posted by Keem. The footage that Keem posted on April 30, 2019, violates YouTube’s Community Guidelines. Content creators are prohibited from promoting dangerous acts like suicide. Keem very clearly told Etika to “jump off a cliff” in the video.
Individuals on YouTube have gone back to the video to call out Keem for contributing to Erika’s death. Many called for the channel to remove the video.
As of publishing this article, neither YouTube nor Drama Channel has removed the video. There is no way to know if the words spoken by Keem to Etika contributed to his death. However, Keem very clearly used Etika’s illness as a way to garner views, earn revenue, and exploit a very unwell man.
YouTube needs to do a better job from stopping channels from harming and abusing people. WOACB agrees with many other YouTubers that Keem should be removed from the platform.
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis on The Non-Sequitur Channel. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.
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