- YouTube has reinstated monetization on conservative commentator Steven Crowder’s channel after banning him from running ads on his videos for 14 months.
- Crowder’s channel was demonetized in June 2019 after he made homophobic and racist remarks against then-Vox writer Carlos Maza.
- Thursday morning, Crowder cheered the decision in a video while also attacking those who had called for his channel to be outright banned, saying, “All of [your] victories are gone.”
- Meanwhile, in a lengthy Twitter post, Maza blasted the decision, arguing against YouTube’s claim that Crowder is no longer posting content that violates the platform’s anti-hate policies.
- Currently, YouTube has monetized a controversial video on Crowder’s channel where he promotes a conspiracy theory that COVID-19 death numbers have been inflated.
YouTube Lifts Crowder Ad Ban
YouTube has lifted its ad ban on conservative commentator Steven Crowder channel after enforcing it for 14 months.
The platform removed monetization from his channel on June 5, 2019, several days after openly gay Vox writer Carlos Maza accused Crowder of making a number of homophobic and racist comments about him on Crowder’s show Louder with Crowder.
In a now-deleted montage posted to Twitter by Maza, Crowder can be seen calling Maza “our favorite lispy sprite from Vox,” “a gay Latino from vox,” and “a tranny.” At the time, Crowder’s channel also linked to a shop that sold shirts with the words: “Socialism is for fags.”
When it banned Crowder, YouTube clarified that the ad ban was likely only temporary. In fact, the platform said it could remonetize his channel once he removed links to a store selling a shirt with a homophobic slur and addressed “all of the issues with his channel.”
On Wednesday, YouTube said that Crowder has complied with those requirements, noting that he took down his videos about Maza in December when a new harassment policy was launched. The platform also said he agreed to no longer link to his controversial shirt.
In a statement to media outlets, a YouTube spokesperson said Crowder has “taken steps to address the behavior that led to his suspension and has demonstrated a track record of policy-compliant behavior.”
“Creators who are suspended from [YouTube Partner Program] can reapply for access, and after careful consideration, we will be reinstating him into the program today. If there are further violations on this channel we will take appropriate action.”
That spokesperson also reiterated that while the platform still believes he posts controversial content, none of that has been found to be policy non-compliant.
Crowder: “All of [your] victories are gone.”
Thursday morning, Crowder cheered the decision on Louder with Crowder while also biting back at his critics.
“I know that the left was furious with the Vox adpocalypse, right?” he said. “You wanted us to be banned. That didn’t happen. You wanted to claim that we violated policies. That didn’t happen.“
“You wanted us to apologize, and that did happen for 26 minutes, I believe, if you watch that whole video. And then, your only win was, ‘At least we made sure that Louder with Crowder, that they will cease to make a living on YouTube.’”
“That was the one win on the scoreboard for you guys. It was, you were one and six. Now, you have to wipe off the one, and put your mouth on the table so all your friends just smack you for misbehaving. That’s about what you got. All of the victories are gone. I understand. I understand that we could be demonetized tomorrow, but we don’t care. Our conversation with YouTube has always been, we just want to have a fair shake on the platform.”
At the time ads were banned from his channel, Crowder had about 3.8 million subscribers. As of August 2019, he has 4.63 million subscribers.
Maza: “YouTube’s policies were never actually meant to be enforced.”
In a lengthy Twitter post, Maza blasted YouTube’s decision to remonetize Crowder’s channel. In fact, even when Maza first accused Crowder of harassment in 2019, he said that his anger was more directed at YouTube’s enforcement of its own policies rather than Crowder himself.
“Demonetizing was already insufficient, but this decision proves that YouTube has no real interest in enforcing its anti-hate policies,” Maza said Wednesday.
Particularly, Maza argued against the idea that Crowder’s videos have been policy compliant recently. To that point, he cited several examples, including a video where Crowder pushes a COVID-19 conspiracy theory of an inflated death count, another where he calls the Black Lives Matter movement a domestic terrorist organization, as well as others he titled “why” and “when transgenders attack.”
“These are all in violation of YouTube’s policies,” Maza said. Not a single one has been removed.”
“YouTube’s anti-hate speech policies clearly and plainly prohibit all of this stuff,” he added. “The fact that Crowder is being re-monetized, despite repeated rule-breaking, shows how YouTube’s policies were never actually meant to be enforced.”
In a statement to Business Insider, a YouTube spokesperson refused to comment on those examples directly; instead, she clarified that not all of Crowder’s videos might qualify to be monetized and that some may remain demonetized if they don’t meet YouTube’s ad policies.
As of Thursday morning, at least one of those videos — the one pushing the idea of inflated COVID-19 death counts — is running ads.
Since May 2019, Maza has openly accused YouTube of making glaring exceptions to policies for its largest creators. The reason? According to Maza, it’s all driven by money.
“I said it last June, and I’ll say it again,” Maza said Wednesday. “YouTube has a tremendous profit incentive to keep hate speech on the platform. Hate performs well and drives up the company’s numbers.”
Still, YouTube has demonetized much bigger creators than Crowder, whether temporarily or indefinitely. For example, Logan Paul was demonetized for two weeks following his suicide forest scandal. Currently, Shane Dawson has been indefinitely demonetized following a series of massive scandals that have rocked the beauty community. In both cases, as well as Crowder’s, demonetization only occurred after heavy public outcry.
In his Twitter thread, Maza went on to say that YouTube won’t change its policies as long as it continues to “lure advertisers with high engagement numbers.”
He then encouraged creators to “refuse to participate in company promo material, speak publicly against the platform at every opportunity, and support a creators’ union,” even saying “Large creators need to unionize and threaten the company’s bottom line.”
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Business Insider) (Mashable)
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Says Trump Ban Was the “Right Decision” But Sets “Dangerous” Precedent
- While defending Twitter’s decision to permanently ban President Donald Trump, CEO Jack Dorsey noted the “dangerous” precedent such a move set.
- “Having to take these actions fragment the public conversation,” Dorsey said in a lengthy Twitter thread on Wednesday. “They divide us. They limit the potential for clarification, redemption, and learning.”
- Dorsey’s message came the same day Twitter fully reinstated Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-Co.) account, hours after locking it for violating Twitter rules. A Twitter spokesperson later described the lock as an “incorrect enforcement action.”
Dorsey Describes Trump Ban as a Double-Edged Sword
In a lengthy Twitter thread published Wednesday, CEO Jack Dorsey defended his platform’s decision to permanently ban President Donald Trump, while also noting the “dangerous” precedent such a unilateral move sets.
Twitter made the decision to ban Trump on Jan. 8, two days after pro-Trump insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol complex in an assault that left multiple dead.
“I do not celebrate or feel pride in our having to ban [Trump] from Twitter, or how we got here,” Dorsey said in the first of 13 tweets.
Nonetheless, Dorsey described Trump’s ban as “the right decision for Twitter.”
“Offline harm as a result of online speech is demonstrably real, and what drives our policy and enforcement above all,” he added.
“That said, having to ban an account has real and significant ramifications,” Dorsey continued.
“[It] sets a precedent I feel is dangerous: the power an individual or corporation has over a part of the global public conversation.”
Dorsey described most bans as a failure of Twitter to “promote healthy conversation,” though he noted that exceptions to such a mindset also exist. Among other failures, Dorsey said extreme actions like a ban can “fragment public conversation,” divide people, and limit “clarification, redemption, and learning.”
Dorsey: Trump Bans Were Not Coordinated
Dorsey continued his thread by addressing claims and criticism that Trump’s ban on Twitter violated free speech.
“A company making a business decision to moderate itself is different from a government removing access, yet can feel much the same,” he said.
Indeed, multiple legal experts have stated that Trump’s ban on social media does not amount to First Amendment violations, as the First Amendment only addresses government censorship.
“If folks do not agree with our rules and enforcement, they can simply go to another internet service,” Dorsey added. However, Dorsey noted that such a concept has been challenged over the past week.
This moment in time might call for this dynamic, but over the long term it will be destructive to the noble purpose and ideals of the open internet. A company making a business decision to moderate itself is different from a government removing access, yet can feel much the same.— jack (@jack) January 14, 2021
Trump has now been banned or suspended from a number of platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. On Wednesday, Snapchat announced plans to terminate Trump’s account in the “interest of public safety.” Previously, Snapchat had only suspended his account, but as of Jan. 20, it will be permanently banned.
Addressing criticism of the swift bans handed down by these platforms in the wake of the Capitol attack, Dorsey said he doesn’t believe Trump’s bans on social media were coordinated.
“More likely: companies came to their own conclusions or were emboldened by the actions of others,” he said.
Twitter Reverses Course of Locking Rep. Lauren Boebert’s Account
Dorsey’s thread regarding the fragile nature of regulating users’ privileges on the platform seemed to play out earlier the same day.
On Wednesday, newly-elected Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Co.) posted a screenshot to Instagram showing that her Twitter account had been locked for six days. The screenshot stated that she had violated Twitter’s rules and would be unable to tweet, retweet, or like until her account was unlocked.
Hours later, Twitter reversed course and fully reinstated her account.
“In this instance, our teams took the incorrect enforcement action. The Tweet in question is now labeled in accordance with our Civic Integrity Policy. The Tweet will not be required to be removed and the account will not be temporarily locked,” a spokesperson for the platform told Insider.
It is unknown what tweet caused that initial ban, as Twitter refused to say.
The latest tweet from Boebert’s account to be tagged with a fact check warning is from Sunday. In that tweet, she baselessly and falsely accuses the DNC of rigging the 2020 Election, a claim that largely inspired the Capitol attacks.
See what others are saying: (Business Insider) (CNN) (Associated Press)
Uber and Lyft Drivers Sue To Overturn California’s Prop 22
- A group of Uber and Lyft drivers filed a lawsuit Tuesday against California’s controversial Prop 22, a ballot measure that was approved by nearly 59% of state voters in the 2020 election.
- While Prop 22 does promise drivers wage guarantees and health insurance stipends, it also eliminated some protections as well as benefits like sick pay and workers’ compensation.
- In their lawsuit, the drivers argue that Prop 22 “illegally” prevents them from being able to access the state’s workers’ compensation program.
What’s in the Lawsuit?
In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, a group of Uber and Lyft drivers asked California’s Supreme Court to overturn the state’s controversial Prop 22 ballot measure.
The drivers behind the lawsuit, along with Service Employees International Union, allege that Prop 22 “illegally” bars them from being able to participate in the state’s workers’ compensation program.
Additionally, they argue that the measure violates California’s constitution by“stripping” the state legislature of its ability to protect who unionize.
“Every day, rideshare drivers like me struggle to make ends meet because companies like Uber and Lyft prioritize corporate profits over our wellbeing,” Plaintiff Saori Okawa said in a statement.
Conversely, Uber driver and Prop 22 activist Jim Pyatt denounced the lawsuit, saying,“Voters across the political spectrum spoke loud and clear, passing Prop 22 in a landslide. Meritless lawsuits that seek to undermine the clear democratic will of the people do not stand up to scrutiny in the courts.”
California ballot measures have been occasionally repealed in the past; however, most of the time, they’ve only been repealed following subsequent ballot measures. If this lawsuit fails, such an initiative would likely be the last option for overturning Prop 22.
What is Prop 22?
Prop 22, which was approved by 59% of state voters in the 2020 Election, exempts app-based transportation and delivery companies from having to classify their drivers as employees. Rather, those drivers are listed as “independent contractors,” also known as gig workers.
Notably, Prop 22 was supported by major industry players like DoorDash, Uber, Lyft, and Instacart, which launched a massive $200 million lobbying and advertising campaign.
While those companies did promise wage guarantees and health insurance stipends for drivers, Prop 22 also eliminated a number of protections and benefits drivers would have seen under an “employee” status, including sick pay and workers’ compensation.
Because of that, many opponents have argued that the measure incentivizes companies to lay off their employees in favor of cheaper labor options.
Last week, it was reported that grocery stores like Albertsons, Vons, and Pavilions began laying off their delivery workers in favor of switching to ”third-party logistics providers.” According to Albertson’s, unionized delivery workers were not included in the layoffs.
In recent coverage from KPBS, one San Diego Vons delivery worker detailed a situation in which he and delivery workers were called into a meeting with management.
“I thought they were going to give us a bonus or a raise or something like that,” he said.
Ultimately, that employee was told he would be losing his job in late February, even though he had been with the company for two-and-a-half years.
“I didn’t want to tell them,” the employee said of his parents, one of whom is disabled. “I’m the breadwinner for the family.”
See what others are saying: (The Verge) (The Washington Post) (CNN)
Daniel Silva Blames Cory La Barrie for His Own Death in New Legal Filing
- Popular Tattoo artist Daniel Silva said the death of YouTuber Cory La Barrie was due to La Barrie’s “own negligence,” in response to a wrongful death lawsuit from his family.
- La Barrie died last May after Silva lost control of the sports car they were in, crashing into a street sign and tree.
- La Barrie’s family has accused Silva of negligence, saying his excessive speeding caused the crash. They also claim he was under the influence, though he was never formally charged with a DUI.
- According to TMZ, Silva filed documents saying La Barrie “assumed the risk of death when he jumped into Daniel’s car that fateful night back in May.”
Corey La Barrie’s Death
Popular tattoo artist Daniel Silva has blamed YouTuber Corey La Barrie for his own death in response to a wrongful death lawsuit from La Barrie’s family, according to TMZ.
The tabloid says he filed legal documents saying, “the car crash that led to Corey’s death was due to his own negligence, and he assumed the risk of death when he jumped into Daniel’s car that fateful night back in May.”
La Barrie died on May 10, his 25th birthday, after Silva was speeding and lost control of the sports car they were in, crashing into a street sign and tree.
Police say Silva tried to leave the scene but was stopped by witnesses. He was later arrested and charged with murder. Silva eventually reached an agreement with prosecutors to plead no contest to vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.
In August, Silva was sentenced to 364 days in jail, with credit for 216 days served because of California sentencing guidelines, even though it had only been 108 days since the crash at the time.
He also earned five years of probation, 250 hours of community service, and a suspended prison sentence of four years, which would be imposed if he violates the terms of his probation.
Wrongful Death Suit
Silva still faces the family’s lawsuit, which they filed the same month their son died.
In it, La Barrie’s family has accused Silva of negligence, saying his excessive speeding caused the crash. They also claim he was driving under the influence.
It’s worth noting that people close to Silva have disputed that claim and he was never charged with a DUI. However, the first police statement about the crash labeled it a “DUI Fatal Traffic Collision.” Witnesses have said the two were partying earlier that night, though