- YouTube is refusing to take action after Vox Media journalist Carlos Maza detailed the homophobic abuse he receives from YouTuber Steven Crowder.
- Crowder has called Maza a “lispy queer” among other slurs, while his fans have also targeted the Vox journalist with a “wall of homophobic/racist abuse.”
- YouTube said on Wednesday that it found Crowder’s videos were hurtful, but not in violation of its policies.
- “I don’t know what to say,” Crowder tweeted in a bemused response to YouTube’s decision. Vox Media said YouTube must “remove creators who promote hate.”
- In a video posted on Tuesday, Crowder said Maza’s complaints were a “campaign” to get his channel “deplatformed.”
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YouTube has refused to take action after a journalist accused a YouTuber with millions of subscribers of consistent homophobic and racist harassment.
Vox journalist Carlos Maza tweeted last week about the harassment he receives from YouTube star Steven Crowder, who has 3.8 million subscribers.
Maza said that in multiple videos “debunking” his show Strikethrough, Crowder frequently makes repeated reference to Maza’s sexuality and ethnicity. He included a supercut of examples, in which Crowder refers to Maza as a “lispy queer,” and a “gay Latino.”
Since I started working at Vox, Steven Crowder has been making video after video “debunking” Strikethrough. Every single video has included repeated, overt attacks on my sexual orientation and ethnicity. Here’s a sample: pic.twitter.com/UReCcQ2Elj
— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) May 31, 2019
Following the posting of these videos, Maza said he often wakes up to a “wall of homophobic/racist abuse” on social media, and that last year, he was doxxed resulting in text after text from unknown numbers saying “debate Stephen Crowder.”
Five days after Maza raised his concerns on Twitter, YouTube said it had conducted a review of Crowder’s videos. It found that although Crowder’s language was “clearly hurtful,” it didn’t constitute a violation of its policies.
(3/4) 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.
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) June 4, 2019
YouTube added that just because a video remains on the site it doesn’t mean the company endorses or supports it, and said that “other aspects” of Crowder’s channel are still under review.
Maza was bemused by YouTube’s decision. He tweeted:
I don’t know what to say.
@YouTube has decided not to punish Crowder, after he spent two years harassing me for being gay and Latino.
I don’t know what to say. https://t.co/EFvWCNvPms
— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) June 4, 2019
Maza pointed out that anonymous harassment of him had escalated yet further since he spoke out about Crowder’s videos, with a “Carlos Maza is a f*g” T-shirt having been made available for purchase online. The T-Shirt is a nod to a piece of merchandise on Crowder’s official store, which bears the tag line “socialism is for f*gs.” On Saturday, Maza also said he had been doxxed again.
He also accused YouTube of paying lipservice to LGBTQ rights for cynical gain.
If you’re an LGBT creator, @YouTube is using you.
They’re trotting you out to convince advertisers that their platform hasn’t become a breeding ground for hate speech and bigotry.
They’re hoping you’ll distract advertisers away from the monsters they’re creating.
— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) June 4, 2019
In a video posted on Tuesday, Crowder said Maza’s complaints were a “campaign” to get his channel “deplatformed.”
In a statement sent to The Verge, Vox Media publisher Melissa Bell said YouTube must “remove creators who promote hate.” She added: “By refusing to take a stand on hate speech, they allow the worst of their communities to hide behind cries of ‘free speech’ and ‘fake news’ all while increasingly targeting people with the most offensive and odious harassment.”
A number journalists reacted with dismay to YouTube’s stance on the matter.
YouTube just invalidated its own policies. Apparently now it’s happy to host, recommend, and monetize hate speech. Google deserves so much more backlash than it gets https://t.co/uDRDBiH2ce
— Josh Constine (@JoshConstine) June 5, 2019
“If they don’t violate our policies, they’ll remain on our site”. A crystal-clear statement of rules-based rather than principles-based regulation, in a context where principles-based regulation is the only conceivable hope. https://t.co/6Fq6IBi8aC
— Felix Salmon (@felixsalmon) June 5, 2019
.@YouTube shouldn’t pretend to have an harassment policy and then do nothing when someone someone repeatedly targets an individual with vile anti-gay slurs pic.twitter.com/EbgwwWgPuf
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) June 5, 2019
YouTube declined to comment further when contacted by Business Insider.
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