YouTube has stopped conservative pundit Steven Crowder from running ads on his YouTube channel after a tweet thread from Vox host Carlos Maza outlined several instances of Crowder using homophobic language. YouTube’s decision to suspend monetization comes just one day after the company stated it wouldn’t remove Crowder’s channel.
(Disclosure: Vox is a publication of Vox Media, which also owns The Verge.)
The restriction isn’t permanent, though: YouTube said Crowder’s monetization could be restored if he “addresses all of the issues with his channel,” according to a recent tweet. That includes removing links to a store where he sells shirts that include slogans like “Socialism Is For Fags.” Maza previously criticized YouTube’s decision to just demonetize Crowder’s channel, arguing that demonetization is insufficient and “basically all political content gets ‘demonetized.’”
YouTube’s support team said the company “came to this decision because a pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community and is against our YouTube Partner Program policies” after further investigation of Crowder’s channel. For now, Crowder’s videos are no longer eligible for ads through YouTube’s AdSense network. Often, demonetization means content from the channel won’t be recommended either. The Verge has reached out to YouTube for more information about additional measures being taken.
The policy YouTube is citing for the new actions was introduced in February 2018 after creator Logan Paul uploaded a video of a dead body, which led to global condemnation and advertisers threatening to pause ad spending. The policy states:
When one creator does something particularly blatant — like conducts a heinous prank where people are traumatized, promotes violence or hate toward a group, demonstrates cruelty, or sensationalizes the pain of others in an attempt to gain views or subscribers — it can cause lasting damage to the community, including viewers, creators and the outside world.
Maza previously accused Crowder of violating YouTube’s harassment policies, which state that “content that is deliberately posted in order to humiliate someone,” “content that makes hurtful and negative personal comments/videos about another person,” and “content that incites others to harass or threaten individuals on or off YouTube” is prohibited. YouTube responded yesterday in a four-part Twitter thread, stating that “while we found language that was clearly hurtful, the videos as posted don’t violate our policies.”
The decision led to many YouTube creators, reporters, critics, and others condemning YouTube’s decision to not act on its own policies. Maza told The Verge over DM that YouTube’s response confirmed what many YouTube creators previously thought, “that YouTube’s anti-harassment policies are bullshit.”
“They’re fake policies meant to trick advertisers into believing YouTube actually cares about policing what happens on its platform,” Maza said.
YouTube’s decision to suspend monetization also coincides with new measures being introduced to tackle hate speech on the platform. The new policy will lead to the removal of thousands of channels, as well as the suspension of ads on channels that “repeatedly brush up against our hate speech policies.” Crowder’s demonetization doesn’t appear to be related to those updates, however, with YouTube pointing instead to an older policy about making the platform look bad.
Update June 5th, 3:50PM ET: YouTube indicated in a new tweet that the ad restrictions are not permanent. This article has been updated to reflect the additional information.
Update June 5th 4:20PM ET: YouTube issued another update via Twitter clarifying that Crowder would have to fix “all” problems associated with his channel to receive monetization privileges, not just the T-shirt links. This article has been updated to reflect the additional information.