What happens on the web, stays on the web. But sometimes, things can cross to the real life, especially when it comes to the wellbeing of someone.
Kate Yup may not be the most famous YouTubers around. The number of her subscribers isn't anywhere near as high as many other professionals, and her videos aren't watched as many too. But the YouTuber that is best known to 'mukbang', has driven some conspiracy theories.
Mukbang is a Korean (먹방) portmanteau for "eating" and "broadcast". It refers to the act in which the person is eating a variety of food in huge quantity in one sitting. The term mukbang and activities related to it have been around since at least 2008.
And here, Kate Yup is best known to mukbang seafood.
From squid to giant lobsters, to salmon, tuna, octopus, seaweed, prawns, snails, scallops and more. She even went beyond seafood to insects, as she had videos of her eating worms and crickets, to just name a few.
The speculations that led to controversies started when she uploaded a video showing herself bruised.
Kate Yup always eats her food using what looks like an eyepatch. She doesn't talk in her videos, and emphasizes more of the sounds of her chewing and gulping the food. While the videos are originally intended to be ASMR videos, they provoked lots of other things.
First, she is skinny. For a mukbanger capable of eating such huge amount, she is able to keep her shape. This however, isn't true to only her as there are lots of other mukbangers who managed to keep their slim appearance despite the huge calories intake.
Then, there are videos of her where she appeared to have deep bruise on her left hand and a cut on her lip, had a toothbrush on her arm, and others.
Skinny, bruised, aggressive eating that is careless about the aesthetics (having food falls out of her mouth, etc,), and her capability of quickly eating huge amount of food without very much chewing in one sitting, led to theorists to conclude that she hadn't had a meal for a while or, had been "starved" by herself or by someone else.
As for the latter, people concluded that because even though she claims to be alone, there is some faint voice that can be heard telling her to "eat fast", to conclude that she was actually forced to eat.
Fans started speculating that she was "kidnapped" or "abducted".
What's more, while her videos generally consist of her eating food, she occasionally put captions regarding the food being eaten, like for example to say how delicious it was.
But among the messages, people speculated that the captions may contain secret messages.
For example, there is a video of her uploaded which has a text appeared: "The meat is So delicioOouS, soft and tender". It was noted that three random letters "S-O-S" were capitalized.
In another text on a different video, four letters "H-E-L-P" were capitalized.
In yet another video, she was heard tapping on her glass bowl from which she was eating her food. But people suggested that the sound she made was a Morse code that means: "Please help me".
It should be noted that while it was suggested that Kate Yup is American, her English in the captions were pretty broken, suggesting that Yup isn't a native English speaker, and could be French or Belgian.
In another video, she was seen mukbanging as usual, but had her teeth fallen off rotten. This made people to speculate that she also could have suffered bulimia that repeated vomiting destroyed her teeth.
Responding to the comments, Kate Yup said that she had a problem of nose deformity from herpes labialis blisters, as the reason why she wore a nose-mask.
She also replied to comments addressing the Morse code, saying that "This isn't even Morse code" and several other sentences clearing up that all the theories were false.
She even uploaded a video titled "I am alive" and claiming that she is doing fine and is completely safe.
On the contrary, others speculated that her call for help doesn’t really make sense. If she was really taken hostage and her abuser was the person uploading the videos, it wouldn’t make sense if the abuser would upload clues about her kidnapping.
However, it was noted that on some of the comments was made in third person perspective, i.e., "she" was used instead of "I", which again concluded that some of the comments weren't made by her.
Kate Yup stopped posting videos on November 10, 2019, in the video that showed her teeth falling off.
People then started to wonder whether or not she could have been murdered.
People have also linked Kate Yup to an American girl Karlie Gusé who was kidnapped in California. Seeing from the bottom half of her face, Yup has so much resemblance with Gusé, making people to speculate that Yup was Gusé.
Until this time, whether Kate Yup was setting all of these as an internet sensation to gain popularity, or the conspiracies surrounding her, and the disappearance of Karlie Gusé, have not been solved.