- Google is facing backlash from LGBTQ+ communities in San Francisco following a controversial decision by YouTube this week.
- The Google-owned streaming-video platform cited free-speech concerns in a decision not to punish a YouTube channel run by Steven Crowder, a conservative commentator with nearly 4 million subscribers.
- The Vox journalist Carlos Maza was a target of homophobic slurs Crowder used on his channel.
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In what would be a first for San Francisco’s annual Pride celebration, the event’s organisers could ban a major tech company from participating: Google.
In a board meeting on Wednesday evening, members of LGBTQ+ communities – some of whom were former Google employees – petitioned San Francisco Pride to exclude Google, according to Hoodline.
That’s because Google owns YouTube, which is facing major criticism in the wake of a controversial decision not to punish a channel for using homophobic slurs and targeting another channel.
The Vox journalist Carlos Maza, who stars in its “Strikethrough” video series, posted a video on Twitter this week highlighting the behaviour of Steven Crowder, a conservative commentator whose YouTube channel regularly featured homophobic slurs and racist statements directed at Maza:
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
In response to Maza, YouTube reviewed Crowder’s videos and initially determined he wasn’t violating the site’s terms of service.
The company later reversed that decision, announcing that it would demonetize Crowder’s channel rather than ban it – effectively stopping Crowder from profiting directly from his YouTube channel, which has nearly 4 million subscribers, but allowing him to continue posting videos.
“We saw the widespread harm to the YouTube community resulting from the ongoing pattern of egregious behaviour, took a deeper look, and made the decision to suspend monetisation,” YouTube’s head of communications, Chris Dale, wrote in a blog post published this week.
The board of San Francisco Pride has not decided whether to allow Google to participate, and the group didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
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