YouTube said it has “suspended” monetization for the star Steven Crowder, chalking up the decision to a “pattern of egregious actions” that “has harmed the broader community.”
The decision comes just a day after YouTube faced major backlash after it publicly declined to take action against Crowder over accusations that he consistently made homophobic and racist comments about the Vox journalist Carlos Maza.
Crowder — who has 3.8 million subscribers — frequently refers to the Maza’s sexuality and ethnicity on his show, using phrases like “lispy queer” and a “gay Latino” to describe the journalist.
YouTube said on Tuesday that although Crowder’s language was “clearly hurtful,” it did not constitute a violation of its policies.
On Wednesday, however, YouTube seemed to indicate that while Crowder’s videos may not have violated the site’s terms of service, they were found to be against its partner-program policies — the rules that govern the ability of top YouTubers like Crowder to take a slice of the advertising revenues generated by their videos.
Maza tweeted following news of the demonetization that shutting off ads from Crowder’s channel would not hurt the YouTube star financially. Instead, Maza said, Crowder’s main source of revenue comes from selling merchandise to his millions of subscribers, such as shirts with the slogan “Socialism Is For F*gs.”
YouTube said via Twitter that for Crowder to be “reinstated,” he would need to remove links to his T-shirt store — though it later clarified that he would also need to take steps to address the content of his videos.
“To be reinstated, he will need to address all of the issues with his channel,” YouTube said.
Following YouTube’s initial decision on Tuesday not to take action against Crowder, a wave of backlash on Twitter came from Google employees and LGBTQ groups. The hashtag #NoPrideinYT began spreading on the social-media site, as groups like “Googlers Against Hate” spoke out in opposition to the decision.
Individual Google employees, such as the Google walkout organizer Meredith Whittaker, spoke out as well.
Before news of YouTube’s decision to demonetize Crowder’s channel came on Wednesday, the company unveiled a sweeping new plan to crack down on extremist videos that advocate neo-Nazi and bigoted ideologies, as well as videos promoting obvious conspiracy theories.
As a part of that policy update, YouTube said it will be “strengthening its enforcement” of deciding which channels are allowed to run ads (and thus, make money) through its YouTube Partner Program. The company said any channels that “repeatedly brush up against our hate speech policies” would not be able to monetize.
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