YouTube CEO apologises for anti-gay slurs but defends decision not to remove them

'I'm really, personally, very sorry,' Susan Wojcicki says

Anthony Cuthbertson
Tuesday 11 June 2019 13:40 BST
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki speaks onstage during the YouTube Brandcast 2018 presentation 3 May, 2018 in New York
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki speaks onstage during the YouTube Brandcast 2018 presentation 3 May, 2018 in New York (Getty Images)

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has apologised to the LGBTQ community for her company’s decision to allow videos with anti-gay slurs to remain on the site, however refused to reverse the stance.

Speaking at the Code Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, Ms Wojcicli explained why YouTube did not take firm action against conservative pundit Steven Crowder, who used his channel to attack fellow YouTube user Carlos Maza with homophobic insults.

A video compilation of Mr Crowder’s insults directed at Mr Maza went viral when it was posted to Twitter last week, gaining more than 3 million views. In it, the right-wing commentator used a string of offensive, anti-gay terms to refer to Mr Maza.

According to YouTube’s Community Guidelines, prohibited content includes anything that is “deliberately posted in order to humiliate someone, make hurtful and negative personal comments/ videos about abother person, or incite others to harass or threaten individuals on or off YouTube.”

Mr Maza tweeted that YouTube was enabling cyberbullies by not failing to abide by its own rules.

“The challenge is when we get an allegation like this we take it very seriously,” Ms Wojcicki said on Monday.

“We need to enforce those policies consistently because if we were not to enforce them consistently, there would be millions of other people saying ‘what about this video, what about this video, what about this video?’”

The YouTube CEO pointed to rap songs and comedy videos containing racial slurs or sexist comments, which would get caught up by a blanket ban on such language.

She acknowledged that YouTube’s stance relating to Mr Crowder’s channel was “very hurtful” to the LGBTQ community and said that the video-sharing platform was “really sorry” that it upset so many people.

When asked to expand on this apology by a member of the audience, Ms Wojcicki said that the decision ultimately came down to consistency.

“I’m really, personally, very sorry. YouTube has always been a home of so many LGBTQ creators, and that’s why it was so emotional,” she said.

“Even though it was a hard decision, it was harder that it came from us – because it was such an important home... As a company we really want to support this community. It’s just from a policy standpoint we need to be consistent – if we took down that content, there would be so much other content that we need to take down.”

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