YouTube has demonetized the channel of a conservative host after a Vox journalist called him out for his anti-gay and anti-Hispanic comments.
"Louder with Crowder" host Steven Crowder has made a series of disparaging comments about Vox producer Carlos Maza's sexual orientation and ethnicity.
Maza hosts "Strikethough," a show about media in the age of the Trump presidency, on Vox's YouTube channel. But he said his political views weren't what drew Crowder's ire; instead, he said he's been called a series of offensive names because he is gay and Cuban-American. Crowder's YouTube channel has almost 4 million subscribers.
"Watching videos where I am called a 'lispy queer' pass a million views is incredibly dehumanizing and degrading," Maza told InsideEdition.com. "My boss found out about it, which was incredibly humiliating. My family found about it, my younger sibling saw it, which was incredibly humiliating.
"I just can't really express what it's like to be on the receiving end of that, especially when I had not solicited [Crowder] to do that. I hadn't talked to him, I hadn't provoked him in any way, I never talked about him in any video."
Still, Maza found himself second-guessing the way he spoke after Crowder's mocking comments.
"I hate to say this, [but] I found myself when I was recording videos, being extra aware if I was coming off too gay," Maza said. "I look back now at footage of myself and catch myself saying, 'Is that too gay? Am I being to flamboyant right now?' It's exactly what I used to do in high school. That's how gay people try to survive when they're being targeted is to make themselves small."
Maza said he initially tried to deal with Crowder's comments privately. But after Maza said his personal information was published online last fall and he received dozens of messages demanding that he debate Crowder, he told his employer and asked that Vox to contact YouTube to discuss potential violations of the site's anti-harassment, anti-bullying and anti-hate speech policies. Maza claims YouTube didn't take any action.
Months went by, Maza said, and Crowder continued making the comments in his videos. So Maza edited together clips of Crowder mocking him and tweeted it on Tuesday. The video went viral, and YouTube responded.
Crowder's channel was removed from the YouTube Partner Program, a YouTube spokesperson told InsideEdition.com, and "that means he can make no money from advertising on any video in his channel." But Crowder's show remains on the platform.
Crowder did not respond to InsideEdition.com's request for comment, but addressed YouTube's decision in his show on Thursday, saying YouTube "didn't make the delineation between white supremacist and jokes" when it cracked down on his videos. Crowder has also said his comments were harmless and he is a victim of forces that seek to silence him.
In a lengthy statement Wednesday, YouTube's head of communications, Chris Dale, explained the company's decision and said the site is "taking a harder look at harassment." Dale wrote that when it comes to its policies surrounding harassment and hate speech, YouTube looks at the "entire video" and whether "the primary purpose of the video is hate or harassment," adding that it removes such videos.
But, Dale wrote, "To be clear, using racial, homophobic, or sexist epithets on their own would not necessarily violate either of these policies."
"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," Dale wrote.
But Maza said YouTube is not enforcing its own policies and that the end result will be that LGBTQ people will leave the platform.
"This isn't about free speech, because the result of not enforcing harassment policies is that the communities that need access to speech platforms the most don't get it," Maza said. "If the price for engaging in political discourse for queer people or queer people of color is to tolerate hate speech, we won't participate in it.
"I hope that YouTube recognizes the end of result of this is not some happy medium," he added. "It's a place where only bullies operate."