By Katherine Lewin
Five LGBT YouTubers are going against the giant corporation and suing for discrimination against their sexual orientation. According to the federal lawsuit, YouTube and their parent company, Google, are discriminating against them by suppressing their content, restricting their ability to sell advertising and culling their subscribers.
The lawsuit also claims that YouTube enforces its policies unevenly and gives a pass to producers with large audiences, even when their content is hostile to gay, lesbian or other communities, according to The Washington Post.
YouTube uses “unlawful content regulation, distribution, and monetization practices that stigmatize, restrict, block, demonetize, and financially harm the LGBT Plaintiffs and the greater LGBT Community,” the suit reads.
YouTube has pushed back, and a spokesperson told The Post that they do not restrict videos based on sexual orientation and that they remove videos deemed hate speech.
“Our 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,’” said YouTube spokesman Alex Joseph, in an emailed statement to The Post.
However, The Post’s reporting has proven that to be untrue when it reported earlier this month that moderators for YouTube are trained to treat the most popular video producers differently by allowing hateful speech to remain on the site while enforcing their so-called “hate speech policies” strictly against YouTubers with fewer followers.
YouTube also faced harsh criticism in June when it didn’t delete a racist, misogynistic YouTuber that repeatedly mocked a journalist for being Mexican and openly gay.
YouTube’s denials look particularly weak in the face of the issue with YouTubers BriaAndChrissy. Their video featuring an inspirational song and then kissing in front of anti-gay protestors was placed on “restricted mode,” making it invisible to viewers at many schools, libraries or to anyone who has activated the mode meant to limit so-called offensive content.
There are numerous other allegations of YouTube unfairly repressing LGBT YouTubers.
This post originally appeared in The Washington Informer.