YouTube shuts down comments on House hearing on white nationalism over hateful remarks

YouTube shut down the chat feature on a livestream of a House Judiciary Committee hearing on white nationalism Tuesday amid a flood of hateful comments.

The feature was disabled "due to the presence of hateful comments,” Google, YouTube's parent company, confirmed to The Hill.


“Hate speech has no place on YouTube. We’ve invested heavily in teams and technology dedicated to removing hateful comments and videos and we take action on them when flagged by our users,” the company said in a statement.

The House Judiciary panel was meeting to discuss “hate crimes and the rise of white nationalism."

The hearing specifically dealt with the role of social media in spreading white nationalism. 

Even as YouTube was working to disable the comments, Alexandria Walden, Google's counsel for free expression and human rights, said that the platform was dedicated to removing hateful content.

“I want to state clearly that every Google product that hosts user content prohibits incitement of violence and hate speech against individuals or groups based on specified attributes,” Walden said in her opening statement. “We view both as grave social ills, so our policies go beyond what the U.S. requires.”

When comments were disabled on the House's official stream, commentators moved to other streams, like Fox Business Network's or a live reaction on Red Ice TV, which the Anti-Defamation League has described as a white supremacist platform.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment on why these chats were not shut down.

At one point during the hearing, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerPelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Nadler's House committee holds a faux hearing in search of a false crime Lewandowski says he's under no obligation to speak truthfully to the media MORE (D-N.Y.) entered lines from a Washington Post story about the comments being shut down into the record.

He read a passage from the piece which included a comment left by a user named Celtic Pride which said "these jews want to destroy all white nations," referring to Nadler, who is Jewish.

After Nadler read the passage, Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertLouie Gohmert's exchange with Robert Mueller revealed an uneasy relationship Conservatives call on Pelosi to cancel August recess Mueller will be remembered for his weak testimony, not his shocking report MORE (R-Texas) suggested that the comments could be "another hate hoax ... just keep an open mind."

On the livestreams, commentators also mocked the testimony of Mohammad Abu-Salha, a father who lost two daughters in an anti-Muslim hate crime in Chapel Hill, N.C., according to Vox

Google and other social media giants such as Facebook have taken steps in recent months to stop the spread of white nationalist and otherwise racist content on their platforms, but pressure continues to rise on them to do more.

The United Kingdom unveiled a plan on Monday to provide oversight of social media's content, including a threat to block platforms when they fail to take down harmful content.

The U.K. released the plan shortly after Australia passed sweeping legislation to fine and even jail the executives of social media companies if they do not remove "abhorrent violent material."

Emily Birnbaum contributed to this report