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YouTube bans Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes for copyright infringement

YouTube bans Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes for copyright infringement

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Alt-right commentator and Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes is now banned from YouTube for “multiple third-party claims of copyright infringement,” according to the company. At the time of the ban, McInnes, who also co-founded Vice Media in 1994 prior to his involvement with numerous nationalist causes, had over 200,000 subscribers. It is not clear which videos on McInnes’ channel led to the ban, but YouTube confirmed that the channel had exceeded the threshold for copyright strikes, leading to a “repeat offender” ban.

In November, the FBI labeled the Proud Boys an extremist group only for an agent to later clarify that the label was the result of a misunderstanding. (The FBI still considers the Proud Boys to have links to white nationalism, and considers some individual members to be potential violent and criminal threats with possible national security implications.) Regardless, McInnes had begun distancing himself from the group following the FBI’s initial classification, which was due in part to a violent altercation involving members of the Proud Boys at a New York City event in October at which McInnes was speaking.

YouTube was McInnes’ last major platform after Facebook, Twitter, and others banned him

YouTube had been the last major platform McInnes was allowed to use to communicate with his followers, after Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, and Instagram all removed his accounts within the last three months. McInnes was also ousted from the right-wing media company Blaze Media, according to a tweet from the company on Saturday stating it no longer had a relationship with him. McInnes told various media in a statement on Monday that he was out of platforms and could no longer respond when “people make up lies or take jokes out of context.”

YouTube explained the ban in a statement to The Verge. “When a copyright holder notifies us of a video that infringes on their copyright, we act quickly to remove content as is required of us by law,” said a YouTube spokesperson. “We terminate the accounts of repeat offenders.” While McInnes had the opportunity to respond to these copyright infringement claims, it appears he didn’t resolve them, which is what ultimately led to the ban.