YouTube Declines Action On Reported Harassment of Gay Journalist

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday June 5, 2019

For one gay journalist who says he's been hounded by a conservative YouTuber and his followers across multiple platforms, there's evidently no relief in sight.

Vox contributor Carlos Maza claims he's been the target of trolls who take their cues from a pundit named Steven Crowder who runs a show on YouTube, reports the Washington Post.

After two years of alleged abuse by Crowder, Maza put together and tweeted out a video that showcases the pundit's racist and homophobic slurs against him, including sobriquets like "gay Mexican," "lispy sprite," and "little queer."

Maza — a Cuban-American, despite Crowder's slurs suggesting otherwise — told the media that he appreciates the "gray areas" that are involved with free speech issues, but added that the fact "that it's hard to enforce hate speech policies should not distract from the fact that it's sometimes extremely clear-cut.

"And this seems to be one of those cases," Maza added.

Tech Crunch reported that YouTube's response to Maza included the following:

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.

YouTube went on to tell the Vox journalist, "Even if a video remains on our site, it doesn't mean we endorse/support that viewpoint."

Maza responded by outlining ho his experience isn't limited to the slurs and epithets Crowder heaps on him. "I waste a lot of time blocking abusive Crowder fanboys, and this shit derails your mental health," he explained. Crowder's YouTube show has nearly 4 million subscribers.

Crowder struck a similar tone in portraying himself as the one who is besieged and outgunned, Tech Crunch reported. Calling it a "David versus Goliath" situation, Crowder claimed that "a giant corporate media entity" was "trying to silence voices that they don't like" — despite YouTube having taken his side.

Tech Crunch noted that Crowder's show, and the merchandising it sells — including a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan "Socialism is for Fags" — is a moneymaker for the social media platform. Crowder, too, reportedly receives money from his show.

Euronews reports that YouTube's guidelines specify that "content or behaviour intended to maliciously harass, threaten or bully others is not allowed on YouTube." Moreover, Tech Crunch noted, Shopify — which supports the online shopping site for Crowder's show — claims not to allow discriminatory or "hateful content."

Ironically, Maza has reported on issues of free speech and online harassment for Vox in the past, including a piece in which he examines the issue as it related to Twitter.

While online content providers argue among themselves about such issues, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, recently renewed his attacks on social media giants like YouTube and Facebook, claiming that such platforms discriminate against conservatives.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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