On Wednesday, YouTube announced on their "Team YouTube" Twitter account that they were suspending monetization of popular conservative host Steven Crowder’s channel.
The announcement came just a day after YouTube said Crowder’s content did not violate their terms of service, in response to various calls to de-platform the comedian mainly headed by Vox’s Carlos Maza,
Maza, a video content producer for Vox, claimed that Crowder had engaged in homophobic language against him on his show, while also asserting that Crowder was harassing him by rebutting his Vox content.
I have spent two years getting targeted by racist and homophobic abuse from one of @YouTube's star creators.— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) June 4, 2019
Today, YouTube decided that none of this violated their terms of service: pic.twitter.com/UReCcQ2Elj
YouTube summed up their decision by saying: “While we found language that was clearly hurtful, the videos as posted don’t violate our policies.”
“Opinions can be deeply offensive, but if they don’t violate our policies, they’ll remain on our site,” YouTube continued. “Even if a video remains on our site, it doesn’t mean we endorse/support that viewpoint.”
(1/4) 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.— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) June 4, 2019
YouTube ended their statement by adding, “There are other aspects of the channel that we’re still evaluating– we’ll be in touch with any further updates.”
Though an initial victory, YouTube’s final words on the situation gave a few conservatives pause, with some worrying that YouTube was leaving a door open to backtrack through if needed.
This appears to be the case.
YouTube tweeted the following:
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
YouTube is still allowing Crowder to publish videos on his channel, which boasts more than 3.8 million subscribers, but has halted his ability to make any money off his content. This, however, didn’t quell Maza’s anger, who wants Crowder booted off the platform entirely, tweeting:
So the fuck what. Basically all political content gets "demonetized."— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) June 5, 2019
Crowder's revenue stream isn't from YouTube ads. It's from selling merch and "Socialism Is For Fags" shirts to millions of loyal customers, that @YouTube continues to drive to his channel. For free. https://t.co/ws8mqvRoKU
Demonetizing 👏 doesn't 👏 work. 👏— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) June 5, 2019
Abusers use it as proof they're being "discriminated" against. Then they make millions off of selling merch, doing speaking gigs, and getting their followers to support them on Patreon.
The ad revenue isn't the problem. It's the platform.
As YouTube continues to crack down on conservative commentators, many continue to not only question whether their Terms of Service are too stringent, but why they aren’t being applied equally.
Ben Shapiro, for example, pointed out on Twitter that, by YouTube’s standards, comedians such as Samantha Bee should also be banned from the platform.
Okay, if this is the game now, let's play. This nonsense works both ways. Please explain why it doesn't harm the broader @YouTube community when Samantha Bee calls Ivanka Trump a "feckless c***," when Colbert calls Trump a "c*** holster" for Vladimir Putin. https://t.co/6ecL2SKDTM— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) June 5, 2019
Only time will tell what this means for Crowder. If he is deplatformed entirely, as Maza’s ilk seek, it will be a dark day for social media.
Update: YouTube has responded to Maza, saying that Crowder must address the problems with his channel to be re-monetized. One such action YouTube says Crowder must take is removing all links to his "Socialism is for F**s" t-shirt. Past that, it is unclear what Crowder will need to do to regain monetization.
To clarify, in order to reinstate monetization on this channel, he will need to remove the link to his T-shirts.— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) June 5, 2019
Sorry for the confusion, we were responding to your tweets about the T-shirts. Again, this channel is demonetized due to continued egregious actions that have harmed the broader community. To be reinstated, he will need to address all of the issues with his channel.— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) June 5, 2019