YouTube Stands Up for Freedom of Speech; Calls Site ‘Open Platform’ Where Everyone Has ‘Right to Express Their Opinions’

  • YouTube has decided that even though one YouTuber attacked another with homophobic slurs, no hate-speech policies were violated since the company said the statements happened on an “open platform” where everyone has the “right to express their opinions.”
  • Per YouTube’s hate speech guidelines: “Hate speech is not allowed on YouTube. We remove content promoting violence or hatred against individuals or groups…including sexual orientation.”
  • The controversy surrounds a conservative YouTuber, Steven Crowder, who has made numerous racially-insensitive and homophobic comments against video host and Vox writer, Carlos Maza, in efforts to debunk Maza’s series, “Strikethrough.”
  • Over the years, Crowder has called Maza a “lispy queer,” a “gay Vox sprite” and a “gay Mexican,” but Crowder called it “harmless ribbing” in a video last week.
  • Maza’s supporters called for YouTube to respond and take down Crowder’s videos, and after several days, the company tweeted a statement.
  • The company tweeted: “Our teams spent the last few days conducting an in-depth review of the videos flagged to us, and while we found language that was clearly hurtful, the videos as posted don’t violate our policies.”
  • YouTube added: “As an open platform, it’s crucial for us to allow everyone–from creators to journalists to late-night TV hosts–to express their opinions w/in the scope of our policies. Opinions can be deeply offensive, but if they don’t violate our policies, they’ll remain on our site.”
  • The company also said that “even if a video remains on our site, it doesn’t mean we endorse/support that viewpoint.”
  • YouTube said it is “still evaluating Crowder’s channel for other violations.”
  • Maza admitted he was disappointed by YouTube’s decision and tweeted: “I don’t know what to say. @YouTube has decided not to punish Crowder, after he spent two years harassing me for being gay and Latino. I don’t know what to say.”
  • Maza added: “To be crystal clear: @YouTube has decided that targeted racist and homophobic harassment does not violate its policies against hate speech or harassment. That’s an absolutely batshit policy that gives bigots free license.”

Reference Links

  • BBC: YouTube says anti-gay slurs don’t break its rules READ
  • Slate: YouTube’s New Crackdown on Hate Speech Comes at a Curious Time READ
  • Gizmodo: YouTube: No, We Won’t Remove These Videos of Racist, Anti-Gay Harassment Because It’s Just ‘Debating’READ
  • The Verge: YouTube decides that homophobic harassment does not violate its policies READ

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