YouTube: Homophobic Comments Do Not Break Harassment Rules

Recently, YouTube has been under fire for defending an online user who verbally abused a journalist with repeated homophobic comments. Their argument for allowing the comments to continue? That the homophobic slurs were “criticism” rather than harassment.

Last week, Vox video journalist Carlos Maza published content highlighting his ongoing homophobic comment battle with Steven Crowder, a rightwing YouTube personality.

Maza compiled a video of homophobic comments Crowder has made about him over time. Crowder calls Maza a “gay Mexican,” “token Vox gay atheist sprite” and “lispy queer.”

In explanation, Maza notes that the verbal abuse from Crowder has been going on for years ad that despite flagging the comments, YouTube has done absolutely nothing to enforce their harassment policy.

He maintains that if YouTube did enforce their harassment policy against Crowder, then Crowder could accuse YouTube of conservative bias.

In response to all of this, YouTube noted: “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. 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 within the scope of our policies. Opinions can be deeply offensive, but if they don’t violate our policies, they’ll remain on our site.”

However, this announcement seems in direct contrast to YouTube’s actual harassment and cyberbullying policy which notes that “content that makes hurtful and negative personal comments/videos about another person” is not allowed.

It also seemingly violates their hate speech policy, which does not allow “stereotypes that incite or promote hatred” based on personal aspects such as ethnicity or sexual orientation.

In response to YouTube, Maza noted that “It’s going to get so much worse now. YouTube has publicly stated that racist and homophobic abuse doesn’t violate their anti-bullying policies… I genuinely can’t imagine what LGBT employees at YouTube are doing right now.”