LGBT video creators sue YouTube over alleged discrimination

LGBT video creators sue YouTube over alleged discrimination
© Getty

A group of LGBT video creators have filed a lawsuit accusing YouTube of discrimination, alleging that the site has concealed their content, limited their ability to sell ads and pared down their subscribers.

In a suit filed Tuesday in a federal court in San Jose, Calif., against YouTube and its parent company, Google, a group of LGBT creators accuse the video platform of  "unlawful content regulation, distribution, and monetization practices that stigmatize, restrict, block, demonetize, and financially harm the LGBTQ+ Plaintiffs and the greater LGBTQ+ Community."

The suit, filed by five LGBT creators, alleges that the site does not recommend or promote content that is linked to "tag words" related to the LGBT community, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer,  causing them to lose advertising revenue.

ADVERTISEMENT

The complaint goes on to accuse Google of using its “monopoly power over content regulation to selectively apply their rules and restrictions in a manner that allowed them to gain an unfair advantage over YouTubers, to profit from their own content to the detriment of its consumers.”

In a statement to The Hill, YouTube spokesman Alex Joseph said the platform's policies "have no notion of sexual orientation or gender identity and our systems do not restrict or demonetize videos based on these factors or the inclusion of terms like 'gay' or 'transgender.'"

"In addition, we have strong policies prohibiting hate speech, and we quickly remove content that violates our policies and terminate accounts that do so repeatedly," he added. 

The suit follows criticism of YouTube by Vox's Carlos Maza, who said the site didn't do enough to protect LGBT people from harassment amid his feud with conservative Steven Crowder. 

Crowder, who brands himself as the host of YouTube's "NUMBER ONE conservative late night comedy show," has been making videos targeting Maza since Maza started working at Vox Media two years ago. Crowder, in videos aimed at "debunking" Maza's Vox Media video series, has called Maza a "lispy queer," a "little queer," "Mr. Gay Vox," and a multitude of other derogatory names.