LGBT YouTubers Sue Site. Here’s Why.

Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

Eight LGBTQ content creators have joined together to collectively sue YouTube and its parent company Google over discriminating against their LGBTQ-focused videos.

According to The Verge, the lawsuit, which was filed by Brett Somers, Lindsay Amer, Chris Knight, Celso Dulay, Cameron Stiehl, Chrissy Chambers, and Chase Ross, says that YouTUbe used “unlawful content regulation, distribution, and monetization practices that stigmatize, restrict, block, demonetize, and financially harm the LGBT Plaintiffs and the greater LGBT Community.”

The lawsuit also claims that YouTube’s algorithm and human reviewers unfairly bury channels with words like “gay,” “bisexual,” or “transgender” in their title. As such, they say, “YouTube is engaged in discriminatory, anti-competitive, and unlawful conduct that harms a protected class of persons under California law.”

Image via Youtube

This is a topic and conversation we’ve been having for years now. Back in 2017, we wrote how LGBTQ Youtubers began to notice that their videos were being hidden under the site’s Restricted Mode. The inclusion of LGBTQ talk or factors, including stories about first dates, weddings, or coming out, were deemed as not “family-friendly.” They were then pushed behind the censorship wall and blocked from some YouTube users.

YouTube then apologized in June of last year for failing to protect and correctly serve its LGBTQ content creators. The site, and its parent company Google, acknowledged that it “had issues” and “inappropriate ads” and concerns over how it enforces its monetization policy. Namely, the site strips ads from videos that violate its monetization terms of service, and often LGBTQ-themed videos get flagged.

But despite earlier admitting that it “let the LGBTQ community down,” the site now says it’s done nothing wrong. Just last week, YouTube CEO Suan Wojcicki said that YouTube does “not automatically demonetize LGBTQ content.”

“There’s no policies that say ‘If you put certain words in a title that will be demonetized.’” Wojcicki told vlogger Alfie Deyes. “We work incredibly hard to make sure that when our machines learn something — because a lot of our decisions are made algorithmically — that our machines are fair. There shouldn’t be [any automatic demonetization].”

Despite this claim, the lawsuit has been filed against the site. The lawsuit states that YouTube’s “control and regulation of speech on YouTube has resulted in a chaotic cesspool where popular, compliant, top quality, and protected LGBTQ+ content is restricted, stigmatized, and demonetized as ‘shocking,’ ‘inappropriate,’ ‘offensive,’ and ‘sexually explicit,’ while homophobic and racist hatemongers run wild and are free to post vile and obscene content.”

But will this lawsuit see the justice it seeks? And in what form will that take? We’ll see in time.

Sources: The Verge,

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