A man who thought Google shut down his YouTube channel has been arrested after driving across the U.S. to confront employees at Google’s California headquarters.
Kyle Long, who’s 33 and from Waterville, Maine, had three baseball bats in his car when he was arrested a couple of miles from Googleplex in Mountain View, Calif., NBC News reports.
Police became suspicious of Long after a pair of incidents during his cross-country road trip that resulted in him speaking with Iowa police twice. First, he got his car stuck in a ditch and required assistance getting out; then, he vandalized a gas station bathroom and the station’s owners contacted police. While speaking with police, Long told a state trooper that he was angry with Google for supposedly shutting down his YouTube channel. He said the channel gave other YouTubers advice about how to boost their view counts and make more money on the site.
Police let Long go because the gas station owners didn’t want to press vandalism charges, but the way he spoke about Google made police nervous about his intentions, Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Nelson Ludwig told NBC.
“It was just enough to make a call to Maine [police] to find out more,” he said. “It was just enough to raise concerns.”
According to a Facebook post from the Mountain View Police Department, Maine police had received information that Long planned to resort to physical violence if his meeting with Google “did not go well.” Mountain View police set up roadblocks surrounding Google’s campus, and alerted nearby campuses — including the YouTube campus in San Bruno, which suffered a deadly attack from a disgruntled YouTuber last year — of potential danger.
Long was arrested after being spotted on Highway 101, heading to Mountain View.
In Iowa, Long had told police that Google had unfairly cut off his income by shutting down his YouTube channel. But it turns out Google and YouTube had nothing to do with shutting Long’s channel down. Kevin Long, Kyle’s father, told NBC that Kyle’s wife (who was not named) was the one who terminated the channel.
“His wife took it down as soon as he put it up,” he said. “It was dumb; it was crazy. He showed it to me and it was the most bizarre thing. It wasn’t reality.”
It’s not clear why exactly Kyle Long’s content (which, again, he told officers was about success and moneymaking on YouTube) prompted such a negative response from his father. It’s not possible to independently verify if Kyle’s content was solely about improving YouTube metrics. Tubefilter has reached out to Google for confirmation that YouTube was not involved in shutting down Long’s channel.
Kyle was charged with making criminal threats, and is being held at the Santa Clara County Jail. His bail is $25,000.
He previously served five years in prison, from 2003 to 2008, for manslaughter after driving into a utility pole and killing his passenger.