YouTube Should Not Be Welcome at Pride

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In organising a Pride parade the idea that homophobic harassment is bad and intolerable should not be a controversial one. But this year in Dublin YouTube will roll its usual float down O’Connell covered in glitter and playing bangers, gaining all the good press of Pride, while supporting and profiting from homophobic, racist harassment.

Carlos Maza, a gay Latino reporter with Vox, has been the subject on a two-year campaign of harassment by right-wing YouTuber Steven Crowder, both in his videos and on mass by his fans. Maza recently released an edited cut of the dozens of racist and homophobic epithets that Crowder coined for him over the two years “Mr Lipsy Queen from Vox”, “an angry little queer”, “gay Mexican” as well as various impersonations and pantomimes of oral sex with his microphone. Crowder specifically target Maza, and Crowder’s fans recently got hold of the journalist’s phone number in order to ramp up the harassment.

This is not the first story like this you have likely heard and unfortunately it will not be the last, especially given YouTube reaction to the reports.

Now before we get into the idea of freedom of speech bear in mind that YouTube is a private company and the only freedom of speech is what they choose to allow through their community policy which they claim has not been violated in this case. But if we look at that policy:

So they lied.

The issue of corporate floats at Pride has been a contentious one since they first started occurring. But this is not even about the ethics of corporate involvement, this is about one specific company which supports and monetizes homophobic abuse should not have a float in a Pride parade.

EDIT 12 June 2019

YouTube released a statement, not in anyway apologising for its treatment of Maza but claiming it would take a harder look at harassment. It demonetized Crowder’s videos but only only he removed a link to the merch he was selling.

However it also claims, as Maza himself pointed out on twitter, that it does not consider homophobic epithets in the context of an ongoing political debate on other matters to be hate speech. Which is not good enough.

The Verge on the same day ran a story claiming that there was a toxic work environment inside Google/YouTube which left LGBT+ employees afraid to speak out.

Before anyone challenges me on it, of course I use YouTube, nearly everyone does it has an almost complete monopoly on video sharing. But this is a public event where they chose to polish their public image with our flag.

But it’s still our flag and we can take it back.

I will be writing to Dublin Pride (info@dublinpride.ie) to express my concern that YouTube will still be given a place of honour at our parade and I ask that you do the same.

Dear Committee,

I am writing as a member of Dublin’s LGBT community because I am deeply troubled this year by YouTube’s high profile inclusion and space at Dublin Pride Parade. In like of recent reaction of YouTube to the ongoing homophobic harassment of journalist Carlos Maza as not against their community policy, which follows on from a number of similar less high profile examples, it is not appropriate that they use Dublin Pride as a platform. No company that platforms and monetizes homophobia should be welcome at Pride.

yours sincerely

Orla ní Dhúill

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