These days, side hustles are more common than ever. But one firefighter in Wakayama, Japan is being punished for his double life as a gaming YouTuber.
According to Mainichi and AFP, the 33-year-old firefighter uploading 314 videos between December 2020 to October 2021. The fire-fighting YouTuber typically played multiplayer strategy games, and had around 15,000 subscribers.
An investigation was launched due to an anonymous tip that “there may be a firefighter who might be moonlighting on YouTube.” Since the firefighter did not show his face on YouTube, officials only had his voice and what he said to go on. One local official had to go through the clips one by one to accumulate clues proving the firefighter’s identity. When confronted, he admitted to the allegations.
The issue wasn’t streaming, but rather, making money off it. During that ten-month period, the firefighter earned nearly $10,000 in ad revenue.
The firefighter’s salary has been docked 10 percent for the month of January as punishment for breaking the Local Public Service Act, which prohibits public employees from having a second job. “My recognition of what would be considered a second job was naive,” the firefighter is quoted as saying.
Representatives from the Wakayama fire department also made a public apology in front of the press, bowing before the cameras.
“We don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing that he was a YouTuber,” city official Hidetaka Amano told AFP on Wednesday. “But it’s the fact he was profiting from ads, some of which could be inappropriate in nature.” Certainly, but as mentioned above, the main issue appears to be violating the Local Public Service Act. No doubt, said act is supposed to prevent public officials from making money off ads—regardless of how appropriate or inappropriate they are—as a side hustle.
Amano added that the firefighter’s YouTube hustle had “betrayed the trust of residents in Wakayama.”