Over the weekend, Vox writer Carlos Maza justifiably reached a breaking point after years of being harassed by “comedian” Steven Crowder and his “Louder With Crowder” YouTube videos. In a lengthy Twitter thread complete with video evidence and screencaps, Maza laid out how his life becomes a nightmare every time Crowder makes a video calling Maza “an anchor baby, a lispy queer, a Mexican, etc,” which results in conservative trolls doxxing him and spamming his phone with hundreds of text messages that read “debate steven crowder.” It’s a sh*t show, and Maza had enough as any goddamn reasonable person would. But instead of going after Crowder, Maza stuck it straight to the platform that directly profits from bad actors spewing hate speech.
This has been going on for years, and I’ve tried to flag this shit on several occasions. But YouTube is never going to actually enforce its policies. Because Crowder has 3 million YouTube subscribers, and enforcing their rules would get them accused on anti-conservative bias.
Which is all to say: I work my fucking ass off to create smart, thorough, engaging content for @YouTube, a company that claims to give a shit about LGBT creators. And its miserable to have that same company helping facilitate a truly mind melting amount of direct harassment.
My family sees this shit. I’ve had to explain to my much younger sister what the fuck a Steven Crowder is, and ask my siblings not to respond. Its exhausting. I wish @YouTube gave enough of a shit to stop its platform from becoming a fucking playground for assholes.
This isn’t about “silencing conservatives.” I don’t give a flying fuck if conservatives on YouTube disagree with me. But by refusing to enforce its anti-harassment policy, YouTube is helping incredibly powerful cyberbullies organize and target people they disagree with.
Anyway, if you want to help, I guess you can go to this dude’s videos and flag them? But @YouTube isn’t going to do anything, because YouTube does not give a fuck about queer creators. It cares about “engagement,” and homophobic/racist harassment is VERY “engaging.”
Maza knew full well that this campaign would expose him to even more homophobic attacks — which it did — but in the process, maybe, just maybe he’d generate enough publicity to force YouTube to do something. You see, while all of this was happening, YouTube found itself embroiled in yet another investigation where its algorithm was allegedly serving up children to pedophiles. If that sounds frighteningly familiar, back in February, the platform was in some shit after a user-generated pedophile ring was discovered hiding in plain sight followed by news that suicide instructions were appearing in YouTube Kids videos. So if you’re about to let your child have unfettered access to YouTube all summer vacation, uh, maybe don’t?
With another pedophile controversy in the mix and Maza exposing the company’s hypocritical support for Pride Month while riding high on engagement from noted homophobes, you’d assume that it’d behoove YouTube to do the right thing in regard to Crowder.
Nope! Here’s YouTube’s response to Maza, and I hope you like bullshit.
Thanks again for taking the time to share all of this information with us. We take allegations of harassment very seriously-we know this is important and impacts a lot of people.
Our teams spent the last few days conducting an in-depth review of the videos flagged to us, and while we found language that was clearly hurtful, the videos as posted don’t violate our policies. We’ve included more info below to explain this decision:
As an open platform, it’s crucial for us to allow everyone-from creators to journalists to late-night TV hosts-to express their opinions w/in the scope of our policies. Opinions can be deeply offensive, but if they don’t violate our policies, they’ll remain on our site.
Even if a video remains on our site, it doesn’t mean we endorse/support that viewpoint.
There are other aspects of the channel that we’re still evaluating- we’ll be in touch with any further updates.
Obviously, YouTube’s mealy-mouthed response went over like a goddamn lead balloon. More importantly, it didn’t take long for The Verge, Gizmodo, Vice News, and The Washington Post to note that if you actually look at YouTube’s policies, Crowder’s videos sure as shit violate them.
YouTube’s policy explicitly forbids hate speech, which it defines as “content promoting violence or hatred against individuals or groups” based on things such as race, sexuality, nationality and immigration status.
Using stereotypes that incite or promote hatred are also prohibited. The company also prohibits “behavior intended to maliciously harass, threaten, or bully others,” including content that “is deliberately posted in order to humiliate someone” or that “makes hurtful and negative personal comments/videos about another person.”
After Maza retweeted YouTube’s horseshit response, it didn’t take long for anyone with a brain to call out YouTube for its rank hypocrisy and blatant click-lust.
on the one hand: YouTube is making money off the targeted harassment of LGBTQ people and essentially said repeatedly calling a Cuban American a "lispy queer Mexican" is fine on their platform.— JuanPa (@jpbrammer) June 5, 2019
on the other hand: their logo is rainbow!!
However, the fierce reactions on Twitter (below) clearly scared the shit out of YouTube, because by Wednesday morning, the company suddenly became very concerned with hate speech.
Breaking News: YouTube will remove thousands of videos and channels pushing extreme views like neo-Nazism, in Silicon Valley’s latest effort to stem hate speech https://t.co/m6d4X9TOc6— The New York Times (@nytimes) June 5, 2019
While it sounds like YouTube is saying all of the right things to the New York Times, the most generous reading of this PR maneuver is “Hey, look at us, we’re banning Nazis! (But also quietly raking in engagement with homophobic content that we’re not going to remove if the subs are insane. I mean, c’mon.)” Nice try.
Twitter Reactions to YouTube Defending Steven Crowder
YouTube is a monopoly — it’s not like LGBT people can move platforms without effectively self-deplatforming, but that doesn’t mean we need to kiss the ring. @TeamYouTube allows homophobic bad faith actors to violate their TOS while paying safe corporate lip service to #pride— Lindsay Ellis (@thelindsayellis) June 5, 2019
Is a sustained homophobic harassment campaign against one specific journalist within your policies or not you fucking sociopathic rich creeps? https://t.co/Ot8NkAIrq7— luke oneil (@lukeoneil47) June 5, 2019
Treating ignorant, dishonest or hateful things AS ignorant, dishonest or hateful is not "bias against conservatives" just because conservatives tend to follow/believe ignorant, dishonest and hateful things.— Bob Chipman (@the_moviebob) June 5, 2019
Kind of seems to me like YouTube is using "freedom of speech" to protect a profit model that would otherwise force them to regularly confront the racism, sexism, and extremism that has been rejuvenated all throughout the world due to their unchecked algorithm.— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) June 5, 2019
and the fact that they routinely demonetize or age restrict queer content is salt in the wound 😐 https://t.co/hPbqCDPp4J— Natalie Wynn 🦋 (@ContraPoints) June 5, 2019
I think it's worth remembering that this shit isn't new to YouTube either, like it started out innocent and became corrupted. No, from the very moment it caught on, YouTube was infamous for being a fucking cesspool of hate and stupidity https://t.co/rumyuzDOqK— Todd in the Shadows (@ShadowTodd) June 5, 2019
Steven Crowder called a person a “lispy queer” and incited a full blown campaign of harassment against him and @youtube said “not our problem.” The precedent this sets is terrible, the consequence will be a legion of reactionaries empowered by youtube to target people at will. pic.twitter.com/A2DZo117sJ— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) June 5, 2019
This is a great point, and one we've been trying to make for two years now. @TeamYouTube enabled the rise of the white supremacists, trolls and harassers because it's baked into the business model.— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) June 3, 2019
They don't enforce their Terms of Service because engagement is engagement. https://t.co/kq6qeLkbZV
The privileged unawareness and ravening greed of companies like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter have delivered us all into the hands of the worst people on Earth.— Steve Silberman (@stevesilberman) June 5, 2019
Header Image Source: Twitter