Habbo Empire Close to Collapse, as Backers and Shops Pull Support Over Underage Sex Chat Shock

By Gary Cutlack on at

Channel 4's news team has smashed a huge hole in the wall of online kiddy chat room Habbo Hotel, unearthing a sadly predictable mess of predatory paedos hanging around within its cartoony halls. It's enough to see financial backers and high street shops drop the Habbo brand in a flash.

The continuing shaming of Habbo has seen WH Smith and Tesco, which sell pre-paid cards so kids can buy items within the game's world, take their Habbo merchanise off sale. A WH Smith spokes-avatar said: "We were concerned to learn of the allegations about Habbo Hotel made in the Channel 4 news report. In response, we have taken this product off sale, pending further investigation."

Meanwhile the BBC says Venture capital company Balderton has dropped its stake in Habbo's owner Sulake.

In its defence, Habbo claims it employs some 225 moderators, but despite their efforts, one female Channel 4 investigator claims she was hit upon and asked to get naked and perform on a web cam "within a couple of minutes" of entering the supposedly child-friendly Habbo universe. [MCV via Channel 4]