- A group of LGBTQ+ creators have filed a lawsuit against YouTube and Google claiming that YouTube flags, suppresses, and demonetizes LGBTQ+ videos.
- The lawsuit claims YouTube restricts content featuring certain LGBTQ+ tags such as “gay,” “lesbian,” “bisexual,” or “transgender.”
- YouTube has denied such claims in the past but has not responded specifically to the lawsuit.
The Lawsuit Against YouTube and Google
Several LGBTQ+ creators are suing YouTube and its parent company Google for allegedly discriminating against LGBTQ+ content on YouTube.
Among the accusations, the creators claim YouTube restricts recommendations, demonetizes, and alters the thumbnails of LGBTQ+ videos.
Creators Bria Kam and Chrissy Chambers of BriaAndChrissy, Amp Somers of Watts The Safeword, Chase Ross, Linsday Amer, Chris Knight, Celso Dulay, and Cameron Stiehl all filed the class-action lawsuit Tuesday in San Jose, California.
“Our LGBTQ+ content is being demonetized, restricted, and not sent out to viewers which has highly affected our ability to reach the community we strongly want to help,” Chambers said in a video posted the same day.
In the suit, Kam and Chambers argue that their channel previously earned about $3,500 each month but now only generates about $400-500 monthly.
After posting a music video called “Face Your Fears,” Kam and Chambers said the video was categorized under “restricted mode.” The video was filmed as a dedication to the 2016 Orlando Pulse Shooting, and it features Bria and Chrissy kissing in front of anti-gay protesters.
“They flagged our pride,” YouTuber Chase Ross said. “They did not allow us to buy ads. They restricted us, they demonetized us, and they did not stand up for us.”
Last year, Ross, who often posts about trans issues, accused YouTube of age-gating his videos for including the word “transgender” in the titles.
“Growing up, I was in a very religious household,” said Amp Somers of the sex education channel Watts The Safeword. “I didn’t get any sort of gay education, alone queer education, that applied to me and the sex I was going to have. I created content on the internet that I wish I would have had growing up, but we’re finding it harder and harder to create content on this platform. Google and YouTube continue to censor us and tell us that we’re not breaking any rules but that our content is still not allowed and going to be restricted on this platform.”
YouTube Content Selection and Enforcement
The creators also claim YouTube is restricting LGBTQ+ content featuring words like “gay,” “lesbian,” “bisexual,” “transgender,” or “queer.” Notably, YouTube does not publish its algorithm, which can make it hard to tell if your content is actually being suppressed.
While a YouTube spokesperson replied with “no comment” to the lawsuit, YouTube has denied similar claims in the past. Last week, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki pushed back against claims that videos are demonetized for falling under LGBTQ+ categories.
In an interview with vlogger Alfie Deyes, she said, “We do not automatically demonetize LGBTQ content… We work incredibly hard to make sure that our systems are fair.”
She also said YouTube does not have a policy to demonetize a video if it has a certain word in the title, and said both the process for recommending videos and determining ads are independent of each other.
On Wednesday morning, after news of the lawsuit spread, Wojcicki posted Deyes’ Aug. 4 video on Twitter, though it’s unclear if the timing is related.
Another part of the lawsuit says because YouTube is the largest video streaming website, it holds a near-monopoly.
The suit states YouTube “used their monopoly power over content regulation to selectively apply their rules and restrictions in a manner that allowed them to gain an unfair advantage to profit from their own content to the detriment of its consumers.”
The creators use the argument to claim YouTube “goes easy” on some of its biggest creators and cite content from James Charles, an issue that has also been raised in the past with YouTubers like Logan Paul and Felix Kjellberg, also known as PewDiePie.
“[YouTube] continue[s] to restrain the innocuous travel videos of Watts The Safeword under its Restricted Mode, age restrictions, and demonetization rules and practices, while allowing objectively and sexually explicit content that Google/YouTube sponsor and/or profit from to run unrestricted on the YouTube platform,” the suit alleges.
It continues by citing examples from a recent video on the beauty YouTuber’s channel showing him wearing a G-string and spanking a woman’s bare butt while at Coachella.
Even though Watts The Safeword features more mature content, the channel says it personally applies the restricted mode filter to its more sexually explicit videos.
According to the Washington Post, “eleven current and past moderators, who have worked on the front lines of content decisions, believe that popular creators often get special treatment in the form of looser interpretations of YouTube’s guidelines prohibiting demeaning speech, bullying and other forms of graphic content.”
YouTube has also denied those claims.
Following this lawsuit, many online said they were standing with the creators suing YouTube and Google.
Some on Twitter even shared their own experiences trying to generate LGBTQ+ content on YouTube.
my LGBTQ videos on youtube have been restricted and/or demonetized from day 1, causing me to lose the watch time i needed. when i earned the amount of watch time back, youtube REFUSED to reinstate my monetization, and i couldnt justify making LGBTQ+ content anymore.— 𝙖𝙪𝙩𝙪𝙢𝙣 🔜 colossalcon east (@autumnhause) August 14, 2019
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Washington Post) (Business Insider)
Beauty YouTubers Call Black Lives Matter and “I Can’t Breathe” Makeup Looks “Disrespectful”
- Makeup artists have created looks using Black Lives Matter symbols and the phrase “I can’t breathe” in an effort to raise awareness about racism and police brutality.
- Beauty YouTubers like Alissa Ashley, NikkieTutorials, and PatrickStarrr have slammed the behavior, calling it “disrespectful” and encouraging people to donate or sign petitions instead.
- But some have defended these artists, arguing that they are voicing their frustrations through their work.
- The looks have sparked a conversation about performance activism and how to be an ally to the black community.
Black Lives Matter Makeup Looks
As people all over the world protest over the killing of George Floyd, some makeup artists have tried to show their support by creating makeup looks inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.
But several of these looks have been quickly slammed on social media, sparking conversations about how to be an ally to the black community.
One of the most recent makeup looks that sparked outrage was created by a 16-year-old in Australia who posts content in German under the name “catharinas_beauty.”
In a TikTok post, the teen is seen painting half of her face darker to the tune of Donald Glover’s “This Is America.”
After the post was hit with massive backlash, the teen took it down. She also posted to her Instagram saying she was “really sorry” and “never wanted to hurt anyone’s feelings.”
And she added that she had never heard of blackface before posting the look. “I only wanted to send a message against racism, but I did it wrong. I’m only 16 and have to learn much more about the world history.”
This teen is far from the only person who’s been slammed this type of makeup. Other artists have created looks using the Black Live Matter fist or phrase, and some have designed theirs around the words “I can’t breathe.”
That particular phrase is widely recognized as the final words spoken by Floyd as a white officer pressed his knee into his neck. They were also the last words spoken by Eric Garner, who was choked to death by police in 2014. Since their deaths, the phrase has become rallying cry used to fighting against police brutality and racial injustice.
One artist that included the phrase in her look took it a step further. As she lip-syncs over the Gotye song “Somebody That I Use to Know,” she releases a hand from her neck to show a bloody print.
These are just a few examples of the types of posts that have continued to pop up online, and in most cases, the artists end up apologizing or taking the posts down.
Beauty YouTubers Speak Out
But these posts weren’t just criticized by the general public. Several popular beauty influencers took to social media to speak out against the trend.
Alissa Ashley, for instance, said: “White/ Non-Black MUA’s, I promise painting “I can’t breathe” on your lips isn’t revolutionary like I really promise that isn’t what we mean when we say be an ally.”
NikkieTutorials addressed the looks by saying, “don’t be that person 🤦🏼♀️ it’s disrespectful and low, have some respect, sign petitions and DONATE!”
That sentiment was also echoed by fellow YouTuber Patrickstarr who said, “I know a thing or two about makeup. But drawing ‘I can’t breathe’ on your face is NOT it.”
Some Defend Artists
Still, some have tried to defend the artists, arguing that they were just trying to voice their frustrations through their art.
One Twitter user actually responded to Alissa Ashley saying, “this is why the country is as divided as it is. Why cant we just understand that raising awareness to situations are never an easy subject some people only have one voice and its through their creative sides.”
Ashley hit back at that user writing, “Raising awareness isn’t using fake blood to appear beaten up. It’s not using a darker shade of foundation to show your solidarity. It’s not writing a dying mans last words on your lips. Black peoples trauma/reality isn’t a makeup trend. Like y’all can’t possibly be this dumb”
She then dismissed responses from people who say they aren’t sure what to do, saying “TWITTER IS FREE AS FUCK. You see us tweeting the petitions to sign. The places to donate. What kind of drug do you gotta be on to be like ‘oh I know what to do. Let me go grab my darker foundation & ben nye stage blood’”
Talking about some “what else are we supposed to do”. TWITTER IS FREE AS FUCK. You see us tweeting the petitions to sign. The places to donate. What kind of drug do you gotta be on to be like “oh I know what to do. Let me go grab my darker foundation & ben nye stage blood”— Alissa Ashley (@alissa_ashleyy) May 29, 2020
Another makeup artist known as ZayBayBay argued that the makeup looks are actually triggering to black people. Someone then challenged her opinion by saying, “It can’t be any more triggering than seeing Donald Glover shoot up an entire black church choir in his music video. Makeup artists are allowed to creatively express themselves the same way. It raises awareness, which is the bottom line.”
Ultimately, she said that she is beyond her art and knowns “when it’s time to put the brush down and do something productive instead of focusing 5 hours on a makeup look.” But still, she said she respects others’ opinions on this matter.
This debate isn’t just something being discussed in relation to makeup. Nail artists have faced similar backlash for their work, with the same arguments appearing both for and against it.
View this post on Instagram
I have taken my nail art awareness inspiration post from the amazing black talented nail tech @queenofnails I saw the positive feedback she got in her comments by not just white but black people too. She inspired me to use my platform and talent to bring awareness through nail art for those who are in need. She had no comments from the black community saying that the post is insensitive. I’ve got a lot of positive feedback for using my art to support the movement (thank you 💕)but I’ve also been told by some that I AM THE MAIN PROBLEM. I’ve gained no profit from this just like @queenofnails didn’t. The nails are not for sale, they are not to be promoted, they are under no collaboration deal, just doing it purely to spread awareness. I’m now being called a prostitute and that I’m doing nails from a little corner at my mums house. Words said by those who I spread awareness for. @queenofnails didn’t get this treatment from the black community, why am I ? If I’ve offended anyone I am truly truly sorry, my intention was never to hurt you, I want to help protect you✊🏼✊🏾
And especially after #BlackoutTuesday, a lot of people have been concerned about performance activism that does nothing meaningful for the black community.
There are some people who point out that these makeup looks are coming from a good place. Others say that if done tastefully and in combination with other efforts, they can help keep people talking about racial injustice. But it seems like most people online are not on board with these types of looks and want to see action, not more awareness.
See what others are saying: (Insider) (Dazed) (Centennial Beauty)
Facebook Employees Hold Virtual Walkout Over Zuckerberg’s Stance on Trump Posts
Source: Mark Lennihan/AP/Shutterstock
- Twitter put a warning message over a Tweet from President Donald Trump Thursday which it said “glorifies violence.”
- In that tweet, Trump criticized the nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd, warning that“when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
- The move escalated tensions between Trump and Twitter. Last week the feud prompted Trump to issue an executive order aimed at restricting social media platforms’ ability to police their own content.
- Employees at Facebook, which did not issue any sort of warning for the exact same post, are furious at CEO Mark Zuckerberg for allowing that post to remain.
Facebook Employees Angry
Twitter angered President Donald Trump last week after issuing warnings on several of his tweets, and now, Facebook employees are now targeting their CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, for not doing the same.
Twitter’s issued a fact-check warning on Trump’s May 26 tweets, which falsely claimed that increased access to mail-in voting will lead to extensive voter fraud.
Then, Thursday night, the company followed up by hiding a different tweet from the president that it said “glorifies violence.”
Notably, these are the first instances where Twitter has corrected or censored Trump, something many have called on them to do for years.
Facebook, however, has stuck to its policy to not censor the president’s speech, even if it could be interpreted as violence.
“I’ve been struggling with how to respond to the President’s tweets and posts all day,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on Friday. “Personally, I have a visceral negative reaction to this kind of divisive and inflammatory rhetoric.”
“But I’m responsible for reacting not just in my personal capacity but as the leader of an institution committed to free expression,” he added.
“I disagree strongly with how the President spoke about this, but I believe people should be able to see this for themselves, because ultimately accountability for those in positions of power can only happen when their speech is scrutinized out in the open.”
Zuckerberg’s post was yet another defense of his long-held stance regarding the platform’s responsibility to censor violent speech and misinformation from politicians.
Still, Zuckerberg’s unwavering stance has resulted in a number of Facebook employees publicly disagreeing with their boss.
“Inaction is not the answer,” employee Diego Mendes said on Sunday. “Facebook leadership is wrong.”
Other employees continued to take to Twitter to express their opposition to Zuckerberg’s philosophy, one saying, “I work at Facebook and I am not proud of how we’re showing up. The majority of coworkers I’ve spoken to feel the same way. We are making our voice heard.”
Monday, dozens of Facebook employees staged a virtual walkout in further protest of Zuckerberg’s “inaction.” Many also took to Twitter with #TakeAction.
During the virtual protest, The New York Times reported that two senior employees threatened to resign if Zuckerberg does not change course on Facebook’s policy.
“We recognize the pain many of our people are feeling right now, especially our Black community,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNBC in a statement Monday. “We encourage employees to speak openly when they disagree with leadership. As we face additional difficult decisions around content ahead, we’ll continue seeking their honest feedback.”
Zuckerberg will meet with his staff Tuesday to discuss disputes over those posts, moving his weekly meeting up from Thursday in response to the walkout.
Twitter Flags Trump Tweet
Trump’s tweet Thursday was critical of the protests that became violence following the death of George Floyd.
In the first of two tweets, Trump says he can’t stand by and watch the situation in Minneapolis. He goes on to jab Mayor Jacob Frey for being a “weak radical left mayor.”
But that tweet was never flagged. It was actually Trump’s second tweet that Twitter targeted because, in it, Trump said, “…when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence,” Twitter wrote above the tweet, which is hidden and must be clicked into while on the site. “However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”
While Twitter did not delete the tweet, it has disabled all likes and replies on the post. Currently, the only way to directly share the tweet is to retweet it with a comment.
Early Friday morning, Twitter followed up with another statement, where it explained that the tweet violated “policies regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its connection to violence, and the risk it could inspire similar actions today.”
As many online have also noted, the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” carries with it a deeply dividing history.
It’s first known use was in 1967 by Miami police chief Walter Headley to describe his department’s plans to crack down on protests in black neighborhoods. According to historians, that phrase was even considered to have contributed to the city’s race riots in the late 1960s.
White House Quotes Censored Trump Tweet
In opposition to Twitter’s decision, Friday morning, the White House Twitter account quoted Trump’s censored tweet. That tweet then got hit with the same warning.
The White House later posted another tweet defending the president, saying he didn’t glorify violence.
“He clearly condemned it,” the account said. “@Jack [Dorsey] and Twitter’s biased, bad-faith “fact-checkers” have made it clear: Twitter is a publisher, not a platform.”
In addition to the White House, Trump continued his battle against Twitter Friday morning in a series of tweets that accused the site of having an anti-conservative bias.
“Looting leads to shooting, and that’s why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night – or look at what just happened in Louisville with 7 people shot,” Trump also said in defense of his original comment. “I don’t want this to happen, and that’s what the expression put out last night means.”
“It was spoken as a fact, not as a statement. It’s very simple, nobody should have any problem with this other than the haters, and those looking to cause trouble on social media. Honor the memory of George Floyd!”
Trump’s Executive Order
Prior to posting this original comment on Thursday, Trump signed an executive order aiming to restrict social media platforms’ ability to police their own content.
Following this, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey promised to continue issuing fact-checks and even warnings against Trump if he’s found in violation of Twitter’s policies.
On Friday, prompted by journalists, Google released a statement saying that undermining the statute that affords platforms their freedoms to moderate their content would “hurt America’s economy and its global leadership on internet freedom.”
Still, both Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Representative Matt Gaetz have promised to introduce legislation that would roll back this statue. For his part, Trump has been very receptive of that idea.
However, there have been a number of reports that any restriction could face major hurdles with the Federal Communications Commission as well as in court over whether such a move would impinge on speech freedoms.
YouTuber Myka Stauffer Slammed for Placing Autistic 4-Year-Old With New Adoptive Family
- YouTuber Myka Stauffer and her husband James, who adopted an autistic boy from China in 2017, announced that they have decided to permanently place the toddler with a new adoptive family.
- In their announcement video, the couple said medical professionals and the adoption agency felt it was best to find a better fit for the boy after several evaluations.
- However, many people are outraged by the decision, accusing the family of exploiting the child and his story for sponsorships and monetized videos, then giving up on him because of his special needs.
The Stauffer’s Announcement
A YouTube couple has been flooded with criticism since announcing that they have permanently placed their autistic 4-year-old in another home, after adopting him from china years ago.
Myka Stauffer runs a YouTube channel with over 700,000 subscribers where she posts videos about home organization, her experience as a mother, and more. She also posts vlogs on a separate family channel that has over 300,000 subscribers.
For years Myka and her husband James have shared intimate details about their lives as parents, from pregnancies to births and beyond. One of the most emotional experiences they’ve shared has been their international adoption journey. But the couple shocked fans Tuesday when they confirmed that their 4-year-old son Huxley had been placed with a new adoptive family.
The Stauffer’s adopted Huxley from China in October 2017, and the video of him being brought home is actually the most viewed video on Myka’s channel, with over 5.5 million views.
But in their tearful video update, James said that Huxley has been in numerous therapy treatments over the last few years to help with his severe special needs. Myka has previously said he has reactive attachment disorder and level 3 autism, though the adoption agency initially told her he had brain damage and a brain tumor.
According to James, over the last year specifically, Huxley’s therapy sessions have been more intense.
“After multiple assessments, after multiple evaluations, multiple medical professionals had felt that he needed a different fit and that his medical needs…he needed more,” Myka explained.
Fans have been asking about Huxley for months, as he hasn’t appeared on any of their social media posts. Some have even made Instagram accounts dedicated to finding answers about his whereabouts.
So as far as why they have waited to announce the news, James said, “It’s because we’ve been trying to protect his privacy, his rights, and also just try to not mess up his future that was laid out in front of us. We’re trying to just make sure we don’t impact that at all when making this video.”
Myka also explained that she tried to share as little as she could about Huxley’s situation because of this. “Anything that happened in the home that was hard for Hux, that’s not fair for me to put there publicly. That’s his privacy. So we’re not going to talk about that. It’s not appropriate and it’ll never be appropriate. I didn’t adopt a little boy to share these things publicly.”
She also said that they’ve waited to talk about this because medical professionals have been allowing Huxley to spend time with different people to help him find his “new forever family.” Based on the updates they’ve received, it appears that Huxley is now in a home that the adoption agency feels is the best fit, with a parent who has medical professional training.
Still, the couple said they’re grieving and tried to help him as much as possible because they never wanted to be in this position. “Do I feel like a failure as a mom? Like 500 percent,” Myka said.
“So when I get like insidious, hurtful comments, it just really makes it hurt worse. It’s not about me at all, but it’s just like this journey, the last couple months, has been like the hardest thing I could’ve ever imagine going to – choosing to do.”
The couple closed by asking their followers to respect their privacy and understand that they are hurting, even if they are seen on social media in positive spirits.
So after this news was announced, many people took to the comments section and social media sites to expressed sadness for Huxley. However, plenty of people also slammed the couple for their decision.
“I’m sorry but you did fail as a mum. You wouldn’t have given up your own child,” one commenter wrote.
“Autistic children aren’t puppies. They don’t have ‘forever families.’ They don’t get ‘rehomed.’ They get abandoned,” another Twitter user said.
On top of that, there are a ton of people who feel that the couple exploited Huxley for their channel, pointing to the fact that they monetized adoption videos and took sponsorships for them.
Now, some are calling for the family to take all videos of Huxley down, while others are sharing a change.org petition asking YouTube to remove monetization from those videos.
According to Myka’s channel, she has shared 27 videos about their adoption journey, which included updates and Q&A about the process. The vlog channel currently has no content on it, though it’s unclear if videos were recently changed to private following all of the outrage.
To understand what people are now questioning the family’s ethics for, some are pointing to a sponsored video where proceeds were supposed to be “going towards bringing our SON home from China!”
In other videos, Myka promoted a fundraiser for helping Huxley’s needs. And in a 2017 video, she said every person who donated $5 would unlock a different piece of a 1,000-piece puzzle, which would, at the end, be a photo of Huxley that she would reveal to the world. She also said she would write the names of all donors in his baby book.
Others have slammed Myka because she was viewed as an adoption advocate who wrote for parenting blogs and magazines.
Meanwhile, others noted she regularly posted things suggesting she wouldn’t trade Huxley for anything.
There is a screenshot of a pinned YouTube comment that was allegedly written by Myka circulating online, however, that comment is not currently pinned under her video so it cannot be confirmed as real.
But it says that the family, “would never just give up a child with special needs, this is a personal matter to Hux it had nothing to do with he just had Autism.”
“Multiple scary things happened inside the home towards our other children, if these events happened with one of my biological kids, after all the help and after the behaviors we witnessed sadly we would have no other choice then to seek help and get their needs met.”
The comment claims that Huxley “wanted this decision 100%,” adding, “We sat that in family time with other people, he constantly choose them and signed and showed tons of emotion to show us and let us know he wanted this.”
As of now, there have been no further statements about the announcement, and the adoption videos still appear on Myka’s YouTube channel. Myka has not returned Rogue Rocket’s request for a comment on the issue.