YouTube has pledged to investigate right-wing vlogger Steven Crowder, host of the web-show Louder with Crowder, for harassing gay Vox Media journalist Carlos Maza after Maza posted a viral tweet thread blasting YouTube for ignoring Crowder’s years of targeted harassment.
In Maza’s tweet thread (included here in full), he wrote:
So, I have pretty thick skin when it comes to online harassment, but something has been really bothering me.
Since I started working at Vox, Steven Crowder has been making video after video “debunking” Strikethrough (Maza’s Vox video series). Every single video has included repeated, overt attacks on my sexual orientation and ethnicity.
I’ve been called an anchor baby, a lispy queer, a Mexican, etc. These videos get millions of views on YouTube. Every time one gets posted, I wake up to a wall of homophobic/racist abuse on Instagram and Twitter.
Last year, I got doxxed, and it scared the f*ck out of me. My phone was bombarded with hundreds of texts at the exact same time. The messages [all said “debate Steven Crowder.”]
These videos makes me a target of ridiculous harassment, and it makes life sort of miserable. I waste a lot of time blocking abusive Crowder fanboys, and this sh*t derails your mental health.
That being said, I’m not mad at Crowder. There will always be monsters in the world. I’m fucking pissed at @YouTube, which claims to support its LGBT creators, and has explicit policies against harassment and bullying.
This has been going on for years, and I’ve tried to flag this sh*t on several occasions. But YouTube is never going to actually enforce its policies. Because Crowder has 3 million YouTube subscribers, and enforcing their rules would get them accused on anti-conservative bias.
Which is all to say: I work my fucking *ss off to create smart, thorough, engaging content for @YouTube, a company that claims to give a sh*t about LGBT creators. And it’s miserable to have that same company helping facilitate a truly mind-melting amount of direct harassment.
My family sees this sh*t. I’ve had to explain to my much younger sister what the f*ck a Steven Crowder is, and ask my siblings not to respond. It’s exhausting. I wish @YouTube gave enough of a sh*t to stop its platform from becoming a f*cking playground for *ssholes.
This isn’t about “silencing conservatives.” I don’t give a flying f*ck if conservatives on YouTube disagree with me. But by refusing to enforce its anti-harassment policy, YouTube is helping incredibly powerful cyberbullies organize and target people they disagree with.
Anyway, if you want to help, I guess you can go to this dude’s videos and flag them? But @YouTube isn’t going to do anything, because YouTube does not give a f*ck about queer creators. It cares about “engagement,” and homophobic/racist harassment is VERY “engaging.”
Again, the problem isn’t Crowder. There will always be f*cking *ssholes trying to get attention by being bigots.
The problem is that @YouTube is designed to give those *ssholes a megaphone, push new followers in their directions, and keep them listening. It’s a weapon.
YouTube does not give a f*ck about queer creators.
YouTube does not give a f*ck about marginalized creators.
YouTube does not give a f*ck about diversity or inclusion.
YouTube wants clicks.
YouTube wants clicks.
YouTube wants clicks.
Harassment isn’t siloed, either. Every time he makes one of these videos, his fans flood the comments on the original Vox video. So a piece I spent 4 weeks working on is drowning in homophobic and abusive comments and downvotes. Other Vox fans see it. It’s humiliating.
I cannot explain how awful it is to see a video where you’re called a “lispy queer” pass a MILLION views. THOUSANDS of comments piling on. How the f*ck are LGBT people expected to produce interesting content in this environment?
Anyway can’t f*cking WAIT to see @YouTube’s Pride month video where they pretend to give a sh*t about the well-being of LGBT creators in order to *checks notes* help draw more advertisers to the platform to make more money.
A lot of people have pointed out that Crowder is wearing a “Socialism Is For F*gs” shirt in several of his videos.
Turns out, he sells that shirt to his YouTube fans, and proudly displays it in his Twitter cover photo. What are these platforms doing?
If Crowder loses his channel, I’m going to get hit with another avalanche of abuse and will likely get doxxed again.
That’s what’s so f*cked up about these platforms: they create wildly powerful monsters and then ask the targets of abuse to draw further attention to themselves.
Love to sit at home editing together clips of my abuse in order to publicly beg a platform to pay attention.
Love to be an adult gay person and still have my identity marked by public humiliation.
For the record: It’s been over 24 hours since I tweeted this. Every social media page I have is being bombarded.
Crowder has accused me of being part of an NBC conspiracy, re-upped his harassing videos, and generally laughed this all off.
Still nothing from YouTube.
Day Two of the worst pile-on I’ve ever experienced. Every account I have is getting cased. Inboxes full of death threats and “f*ggot.”
Still no response from @TeamYouTube.
Maza’s tweets included a video compilation of Crowder’s homophobic abuse in which he calls Maza “a tr*nny,” says Maza eats a lot of d*cks and “sashays to his next Pride parade.”
Since I started working at Vox, Steven Crowder has been making video after video “debunking” Strikethrough. Every single video has included repeated, overt attacks on my sexual orientation and ethnicity. Here’s a sample: pic.twitter.com/UReCcQ2Elj
— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) May 31, 2019
These insults have zero to do with the actual content of Maza’s videos which typically critiques conservative media, political news coverage and social media abuse.
YouTube finally responded to Maza’s thread, writing, “Thanks so much for outlining all of this–we’re looking into it further. Sending you a DM now.”
YouTube’s guidelines say that content cannot be “deliberately posted in order to humiliate someone, make hurtful and negative personal comments/videos about another person, or incite others to harass or threaten individuals on or off YouTube.”
Despite YouTube’s promise to investigate, it’s unclear what that means and whether Crowder will face any sort of penalty whatsoever.
In the meantime, Crowder has released his own rebuttal video (below) in which he says that Vox is violating YouTube’s guidelines by encouraging its followers to flag his video and try to get his channel banned. He also says that he has never encouraged anyone ever to dox Maza, but this is meaningless if he doesn’t regularly call on his viewers and fans to stop such behavior. Crowder also calls his insults as “gentle ribbing ” and accurate as he claims that Maza is a member of the queer community who lisps.
Crowder claims his Che Guevara shirt says “Socialism Is For Figs” because it shows a small silhouette of a fig branch replacing the letter “a.” But this is BS because the t-shirt slogan makes no sense with “figs” in it, because the shirt itself shows Guevara with a limp wrist and because “f*gs” wouldn’t be interpreted as “figs” by any casual viewer.
Crowder also says that YouTube has already begun demonetize his past videos, putting his channel at risk.
Last year, YouTube released a Pride video praising its LGBTQ content creators. It was released at a time when the video sharing platform was busy displaying anti-LGBTQ advertisements before videos of LGBTQ creators and de-monetizing the videos of LGBTQ vloggers.
More recently, YouTube has been blamed for the proliferation of far-right content that radicalizes viewers into racist, misogynist and queerphobic enclaves.