After left-wing Vox writer Carlos Maza complained that he’d repeatedly made fun of him on YouTube, Steven Crowder was informed by the platform Wednesday that his massively popular channel had been demonetized — a decision that came less than 24 hours after the company admitted that he had not violated its policies. In response, Crowder has issued a series of statements giving fuller context to YouTube’s actions.
“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 said Tuesday in reference to videos by Crowder that Maza targeted him for his sexual and racial identity. “…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.”
But on Wednesday, amid continued pressure from the left, YouTube abruptly changed course and told Crowder that he could no longer earn ad money from his videos, issuing a new interpretation of its Community Guidelines to rationalize the decision.
“Even if a creator’s content doesn’t violate our community guidelines, we will take a look at the broader context and impact, and if their behavior is egregious and harms the broader community, we may take action,” YouTube said in a statement Wednesday. “In the case of Crowder’s channel, a thorough review over the weekend found that individually, the flagged videos did not violate our Community Guidelines. However, in the subsequent days, we saw the widespread harm to the YouTube community resulting from the ongoing pattern of egregious behavior, took a deeper look, and made the decision to suspend monetization. In order to be considered for reinstatement, all relevant issues with the channel need to be addressed, including any videos that violate our policies, as well as things like offensive merchandise.”
Crowder has responded by sounding the alarm over the #VoxAdpocalypse, arguing that this is ultimately not about him but about a widespread crackdown on free speech — and large corporate entities, like Vox and YouTube, determining who should be allowed to speak. The sweeping actions of the platform, which include not only demonetization but shutting down a large number of channels, Crowder says, is something that should concern all content creators, no matter their ideologically leanings — particularly those who create satirical and humorous content. The banning of vaguely and subjectively defined “harmful” content, Crowder warns, poses a threat to every creator of original content on the platform, not just conservatives.
Below is Crowder’s initial response to being demonetized, followed by his viral livestreamed episode presenting new information on the #VoxAdpocalypse that aired Wednesday night: