YouTube has decided to demonetize comedian Steven Crowder after facing pressure from Vox host and writer Carlos Maza who claimed that some of Crowder’s jokes constituted harassment. YouTube ruled that nothing Crowder said in his videos violated its rules but suspended his monetization because he’d supposedly “harmed the broader community.”
The whole situation started when Maza complained about Crowder consistently debunking his Strikethrough video series in a comedic way. Crowder’s rebuttals to these videos consistently receive more views than Maza’s originals and often generate twice the view count. Maza said that he took issue with some of Crowder’s jokes from these videos which he characterized as “homophobic/racist abuse.”
I've been called an anchor baby, a lispy queer, a Mexican, etc. These videos get millions of views on YouTube. Every time one gets posted, I wake up to a wall of homophobic/racist abuse on Instagram and Twitter.
— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) May 31, 2019
love to be queer and do socialism
— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) April 3, 2019
That’s not sarcastic! Gay Twitter is like finding a secret room full of coolest, most thoughtful people at the party. It’s really inspiring to be able to have so many queer people’s incredible work popping up on my feed.
— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) March 26, 2019
YouTube responded to Maza’s initial thread and said it would look into it further.
Thanks so much for outlining all of this–we’re looking into it further. Sending you a DM now.
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) May 31, 2019
Maza then continued to complain about Crowder’s jokes on Twitter while still regularly describing himself as “queer” – a term that he seems to only find offensive when Crowder uses it.
I realize that this argument is purposefully ridiculous and meant to distract from the real issue.
Which is that, for years, @YouTube has allowed a massive right-wing account to violate their policies, harass queer creators, and sell “Socialism Is For Fags” shirts with impunity. pic.twitter.com/ifKnARqU0W
— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) June 3, 2019
While YouTube was investigating, Crowder also responded and further highlighted the hypocrisy of Maza’s complaints. In his video response, Crowder showed examples of Maza referring to himself as a “queer,” highlighted how he makes similar jokes about his own staff members, and said that this is really about the giant corporate media entity Vox, which has received hundreds of millions of dollars in funding, trying to censor Crowder’s much smaller YouTube channel because it’s a competitor.
YouTube then gave an update on its investigation and said that the videos don’t violate its policies.
(2/4) 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:
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) June 4, 2019
(4/4) 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.
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) June 4, 2019
Maza wasn’t happy with the decision and continued to complain about Crowder making jokes that described him as “queer” at the same time as referring to himself as “queer.”
Good lord. @YouTube says it didn't punish Crowder because he was "focused primarily on debating" when he repeatedly called me a "lispy queer."
You can harass queer people as much as you want as long as its sandwiched between "debating."
— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) June 5, 2019
Then Vox responded to the decision in The Verge, a publication which is owned by Vox, by openly calling for the censorship of Crowder and saying “YouTube must do better and must enforce their own policies and remove creators who promote hate.” Other legacy media outlets also piled on and complained about YouTube’s decision to not censor one of its own creators.
YouTube ultimately bowed to this pressure and gave a further update saying it had decided to demonetize Crowder.
Update on our continued review–we have suspended this channel’s monetization. We came to this decision because a pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community and is against our YouTube Partner Program policies. More here: https://t.co/VmOce5nbGy
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) June 5, 2019