Vox host Carlos Maza is blasting YouTube for not adequately enforcing its harassment policies after experiencing what he says has been ongoing racist and anti-gay harassment from a right-wing personality on the platform for years.
Maza wrote a viral Twitter thread last week describing the harassment he is experiencing from Steven Crowder and his followers.
Crowder has published a number videos mocking Maza, calling him a “lispy queer” and making other racist and anti-gay comments. Maza, who hosts the Vox show Strikethrough, said he and Vox have directly reached out to YouTube for the past two years “and have gotten no action at all from them.”
“YouTube has explicit policies against hate speech, bullying, and harassment that it just doesn’t enforce,” Maza said on BuzzFeed News’ Twitter morning show AM to DM.
After experiencing this for years without any support or response from YouTube, Maza said he shared his story on Twitter out of frustration.
According to Maza, he was doxed by Crowder’s followers and would wake up in the morning to “an avalanche of abuse” on all of his social media platforms whenever Crowder would publish a video mocking him.
Maza pointed out that YouTube is “about to spend an entire month claiming that it cares about queer people” for Pride in June.
He said the site is just trying to entice advertisers to spend money with them, when they really have no control over “the harassment on their platform.”
“YouTube is dominated by alt-right monsters who use the platform to target their critics and make their lives miserable,” he said.
“The truth is, they don’t care at all about anti-LGBT harassment because being baited towards queer people or Hispanic people is good for engagement and YouTube only cares about engagement.”
YouTube didn’t immediately respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment. After Maza’s tweets about his harassment from Crowder went viral last week, a spokesperson tweeted back at him.
“Thanks so much for outlining all of this — we’re looking into it further. Sending you a DM now,” the tweet read.
“Steven Crowder is not the problem. Alex Jones isn’t the problem. These individual actors are not the problem,” Maza said. “They are symptoms and the product of YouTube’s design, which is meant to reward the most inflammatory, bigoted, and engaging performers.”
Maza went on to explain that someone like Steven Crowder is an “ideal creator” for YouTube because “he makes cheap, long content” that inspires a lot of engagement from other users. The response from Crowder’s videos and similar videos drives “a ton of queer and marginalized creators to leave YouTube after a while,” Maza said, “because the platform sucks and they don’t enforce their policies.”
“I think YouTube should enforce its policies, and if it has a policy against hate speech, and bullying and harassment, it should enforce those policies,” he said.
“They haven’t done anything so far and I’ll tell you right now there’s a 0.0% chance YouTube punishes Crowder at all. Nothing is going to happen because Crowder is good for engagement.”
Raymond Braun, the host of a new documentary premiering on YouTube this month called State of Pride, told BuzzFeed News that he “completely agrees” with Maza that YouTube should uphold its hate speech policies. Braun said that he read Maza’s Twitter thread, watched the videos Crowder made about him, and was “horrified by all of it.”
“I think that so many of us in the community really resonated with what he was saying, and that’s part of the reason why it went so viral, because so many of us — myself included — have had to deal with harassment, bullying, targeting, and in some cases even violence,” Braun said on AM to DM.
“I completely agree with him that every social media platform, including YouTube, should do everything they possibly can to ensure that there is no space for bullying, harassment, targeting.”
Braun also said that he shared his feedback with YouTube and “really hopes that they’re addressing it.”
“Anyone with a brain, anyone who’s ever experienced this knows there’s a difference between political disagreement ... and targeted harassment,” Maza said.