YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki apologized to the LGBT community for not doing enough to censor Steven Crowder despite demonetizing him and many other creators on the Google-owned video platform.
The Verge reports that while speaking at the Code Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, this week, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki apologized to the LGBT community for failing to better punish conservative comedian Steven Crowder for insulting gay Vox journalist and YouTube censorship advocate Carlos Maza. YouTube did, however, demonetize Crowder and a number of other creators leading to an event becoming known as the #VoxAdpocalypse.
Maza took to Twitter to call Crowder out and pressure YouTube to take action, claiming that despite being used to “online harassment,” Crowder had been “bothering him.” YouTube was quiet about the situation for some time but eventually responded, stating that although Crowder’s language was “hurtful,” it did not violate the site’s policies. But one day later, YouTube reversed its previous statements by demonetizing Crowder’s account, preventing him from making money from ads placed on his videos. In a tweet, YouTube said “We have suspended this channel’s monetization. We came to this decision because a pattern of egregious actions has harmed the broader community and is against our YouTube Partner Program policies.” The Masters of the Universe faced widespread backlash in what has been dubbed the #VoxAdpocalypse.
Speaking at the conference, Wojcicki said: “I know that the decisions we made was very hurtful to the LGBTQ community and that wasn’t our intention at all. That was not our intention, and we were really sorry about that, and I do want to explain why we made the decision we did.” transgender Axios journalist Ina Fried, who openly pushed for censorship in an interview with Google CEO Sundar Pichai, pressed Wojcicki about the situation in a video clip which can be seen below:
"Are you really sorry for anything that happened to the LGBTQ community? Or are you just sorry they were offended?"
— Recode (@Recode) June 10, 2019
Wojcicki responded, stating: “I’m really, personally very sorry. YouTube has always been a home of so many LGBTQ creators, and that’s why it was so emotional. Even though it was a hard decision, it was harder that it came from us — because it was such an important home. And even though we made this decision, we have so many people from the lGBTQ community. We’ve always wanted to openly support this community. As a company we really want to support this community.”
She continued to add: “It’s just from a policy standpoint we need to be consistent — if we took down that content, there would be so much other content that we need to take down.” Wojcicki added that YouTube examined a large number of Crowder’s videos when deciding whether or not to ban him from the platform but ultimately found that he had not violated the site’s policies. “Steven Crowder has a lot of videos, and it took some time for us to look at that and understand it in the context of the video because context really, really matters,” Wojcicki said. “We looked at a large number of these videos and we decided they were not violative of our harassment policies.”
Wojcicki was asked whether this was an area in which YouTube could do better, she replied that there was room for YouTube to improve but added that she believes the company and platform have already come a long way.