YouTube Announces Hate Speech Ban While Turning a Blind Eye to Homophobia

The platform trumpets new policies after coming under criticism for allowing attacks on a gay journalist.

Alexander Pohl/NurPhoto via ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

YouTube announced on Wednesday plans to ban videos expressing support for hateful ideologies like white supremacy and Nazism, just one day after it declined to take action against a popular YouTuber who has repeatedly lobbed homophobic slurs against Vox journalist Carlos Maza.

The video streaming platform wrote in a post that it would no longer allow “videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion” on the basis of things like age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status. YouTube also wrote that it would ban videos “denying that well-documented violent events,” like the Sandy Hook shooting and Holocaust, took place.

The company’s moves have long been sought by people frustrated with how YouTube has become a vehicle for harassment and demeaning of marginalized groups, and those who have warned that the platform’s algorithmic video recommendations of hate content have radicalized viewers into hateful ideologies.

But the company’s announcement came just one day after YouTube had fallen under criticism for saying that it would not take any enforcement action against right-wing YouTube host Steven Crowder after a tweet compiling instances Crowder’s homophobic disparagement of Maza went viral. In several videos over the course of the last two years, Crowder mocked Vox‘s Maza, derisively calling him a “gay Mexican” and a “lispy queer.” Maza says such remarks often resulted in Crowder’s followers harassing him online.

YouTube acknowledged that the videos were “clearly hurtful” but said that they did not violate their terms of service, despite the company’s terms of service saying that “hurtful” content violates its harassment and cyberbullying policy.

Maza criticized the site’s Wednesday announcement, tweeting “YouTube’s new anti-supremacy policy is a joke, a shiny prop meant to distract reporters and advertisers from the reality, which is that @YouTube doesn’t actually enforce any of these documents.”

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate