YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki recently gave a public apology to the LGBTQ community. This is in the wake of Youtube failing to take actions against a homophobic channel.
Wojcicki, during her apology at the Code Conference in Scottsdale, said,
“I know that the decisions we made was very hurtful to the LGBTQ community and that wasn’t our intention at all. That was not our intention, and we were really sorry about that, and I do want to explain why we made the decision we did.”
This comes after a video compilation of an American conservative Steven Crowder went viral on Twitter. He had made a homophobic comment about American video producer, Carlos Manuel 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 s****l orientation and ethnicity. Here’s a sample: pic.twitter.com/UReCcQ2Elj
— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) May 31, 2019
YouTube responded immediately on Twitter saying that the comment did not violate the company’s policies. But even though they said they did not agree with the comment, it still sparked a massive outcry. YouTube creator, Google employees and critics came together to sign a petition against YouTube’s decision.
“I’m really, personally very sorry. YouTube has always been a home of so many LGBTQ creators, and that’s why it was so emotional. Even though it was a hard decision, it was harder that it came from us — because it was such an important home. And even though we made this decision, we have so many people from the LGBTQ community. We’ve always wanted to openly support this community. As a company we really want to support this community,” Wojcicki said.
She explained that they needed to be consistent from a policy standpoint. That’s why they could not take down the video. “If we took down that content, there would be so much other content that we need to take down,” she clarified.
Wojcicki said context was very important when making a decision to take action against a channel. She added that rap videos and late night shows often have offensive words, and they aren’t taken down. This, she said, is the same defence Crowder and his supporters have.
In response to all the backlash, YouTube resorted to stopping running ads for the homophobic channel. They concluded that the content was not appropriate for monetisation.
The CEO has stood her grounds and insisted that they need to stay consistent with their policies, so the video won’t be taken down. However, she admitted that their harassment policies will be re-evaluated.
Wojcicki said, “Steven Crowder has a lot of videos, and it took some time for us to look at that and understand it in the context of the video because context really, really matters. We looked at a large number of these videos, and we decided they were not violative of our harassment policies.”