YouTube deactivates channels linked to Oath Keepers following arrest of group members

Group’s leader, Stewart Rhodes, also had his personal channel deleted from the video-sharing platform

Tom Fenton
Friday 21 January 2022 19:51
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YouTube has deactivated the Oath Keepers YouTube channel, as well as the personal account of the group’s national leader, Stewart Rhodes.

Several members of the Oath Keepers militia group have been charged in relation to their involvement in the 6 January Capitol Riot last year.

The Oath Keepers channel had just under 45,000 subscribers at the time of termination, while Mr Rhodes had fewer than 20 in total.

“This termination follows evidence presented in federal indictments against the Oath Keepers and the charges against them and their role in the January 6 attacks,” YouTube told Axios.

The ban is just the latest in a line of similar moves made by social media companies, as they attempt to rid their respective platforms of individuals and organisations tethered to 6 January 2021.

In the case of the Oath Keepers, their ban from YouTube seemingly comes after a court filing that was made on Wednesday. Prosecutors alleged that the group stockpiled rifles and ammunition in a hotel just outside of DC in the days before last year’s insurrection. Mr Rhodes has already been arrested earlier this month, alongside 10 accomplices, for his involvement in the riot.

YouTube claim that the channels violated the site’s creator responsibility guidelines, which say if there is “significant evidence presented in a court of law against a creator for a very egregious crime, we may terminate their channel if its YouTube content is closely related to the crime”.

Capitol Riot Sedition

This very much appears to be the case for Mr Rhodes and the Oath Keepers, as the Justice Department observes in its presentation of their charges.

“The seditious conspiracy indictment alleges that, following the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election, Rhodes conspired with his co-defendants and others to oppose by force the execution of the laws governing the transfer of presidential power by Jan. 20, 2021,” they wrote in a release.

Moving forward, the Oath Keepers cannot use, own or create channels on YouTube, the company announced via Axios.

Ivy Choi, a spokesperson for YouTube, added that actions like those perpetrated by the Oath Keepers can harm the YouTube community and hurt trust from creators and users.

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