Steven Crowder suspended from YouTube for hate speech. The story he was pushing is fake.

Technology 16-10-2021 Mashable 30

Conservative YouTuber Steven Crowder is once again waging war with YouTube.

On Wednesday night, the internet personality announced on his Twitter account that his channel had received a "hard strike" for a segment YouTube says targets the transgender community. This means that Crowder is suspended from uploading new content or livestreaming on YouTube for one week.

Tweet may have been deleted

"​​Wow… this is terrifying," tweeted Crowder. "We covered SPECIFIC, documented instances of rape. @YouTube says not allowed. All parents should take note. If you believe in the insane notion of biological sex, you will be silenced."

Crowder was referring to a segment he did alleging that a transgender person in a women's prison sexually assaulted and impregnated a fellow inmate in California. In January, a state law known as SB 132 that allows transgender people to be placed in an incarceration facility that is consistent with their gender identity went into effect.

However, no one in California's women's prisons has become pregnant while in custody, according to a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) spokesperson.

"There are pregnant inmates in CDCR custody, but they were pregnant when they were admitted to state prison," said Terry Thornton, deputy press secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement provided to Mashable.

Thornton reiterated: "No one became pregnant while incarcerated as a result of the implementation of SB 132."

Mashable reached out to Crowder for comment via the press inquiry form on his website but did not get a response prior to publishing.

The disproved claim repeated by Crowder in a September video had been making the viral rounds for months prior. In August, Politifact debunked a viral Instagram post that was sharing this same misinformation.

Crowder said a group called the "Women's Liberation Front" reported the alleged incident. The group had tweeted in July that they had "heard from seven different people" inside the facility that this assault had occurred. The Women's Liberation Front is made up of anti-trans activists opposed to gender identity and transgender rights legislation.

Staffers at women's prisons have been spreading transphobic comments since SB 132 took effect, according to news reports. One inmate told the Los Angeles Times in April, "They say we’re going to need a facility that’s going to be like a maternity ward." Currently, there are 21 transgender people in women's prisons, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

While YouTube has policies against spreading misinformation on its platform, it's unclear if the company was aware that Crowder repeated a debunked claim in his video. According to YouTube, Crowder's suspension is due to the rhetoric used in the video, which violated its hate speech policies.

"We removed content from and issued a strike to the StevenCrowder channel for violating our hate speech policy, through repeated targeting of the LGBTQ+ community," said YouTube ​​spokesperson Ivy Choi in a statement provided to Mashable. "Hate speech is not allowed on YouTube, and in some cases, we remove content or issue other penalties — such as a strike — when a creator repeatedly targets, insults and abuses a protected group based on attributes such as sexual orientation or gender identity and expression across multiple uploads."

In the segment, Crowder and his producers make transphobic remarks such as referencing male genitalia when discussing transgender women.

The segment also includes a "comedy sketch" which parodies the Immaculate Conception. In the sketch, an angel portrayed by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones (who was permanently banned from YouTube in 2018) appears before an actor playing the Virgin Mother. Jones tells the actor that her cellmate, played by Steven Crowder and described by Jones as a "guy dressed as a woman," is going to "rape" her.

Being banned from YouTube for a week is obviously a big deal for a major full-time creator who hosts daily content. YouTube has a three-strike system on its platform where the first strike, as Crowder recently received, results in a one-week suspension. A second strike equals a two-week suspension and a third strike means that the YouTube user's channel is completely terminated.

Crowder is no stranger to running afoul of YouTube's content policies. Over the years the conservative comedian has faced numerous suspensions for breaking the platform's rules on harassment and hate speech.

Crowder received two prior strikes this year: The first in March for breaking YouTube's policies on COVID-19 misinformation and the second in May for harassment. However, according to YouTube's rules, a channel's strikes are reset after a 90-day period so Crowder's most recent strike is only considered strike one.

But, in March of this year, YouTube also dealt out a more permanent punishment for violating its policies on election misinformation and indefinitely demonetized his YouTube channel.

Following his YouTube suspension in May, Crowder announced he was going to sue YouTube over its vague policies.

In his tweet and on his website, Crowder published a screenshot of an email from YouTube's legal counsel that was sent to his legal representative, William Richmond. The letter explains that YouTube removed the September episode of Crowder's daily show, Louder with Crowder, which was titled "SPECIAL GUEST Alex Jones on 'Great Reset' & Joe Rogan TRIGGERS Leftists AGAIN!" for "a segment that targets the transgender community in an offensive manner, for example, by indicating that trans people pose a rape threat to women."

On Thursday's episode of Louder with Crowder, which was streamed on Crowder's Rumble channel, the host claimed that YouTube created a separate set of rules to punish him.

"Here's the crazy thing," Crowder opines. "It's not a strike against the channel, to be clear. It's a strike against me, Steven Crowder."

"In my case, it has been very clearly communicated, several times, 'No, no, no. It's you. You the human are not allowed on the platform, regardless of channels that haven't violated the policy," he continued referring to the section in YouTube's email where it stressed that the suspension on his main channel meant he could not upload to his secondary channels either.

However, YouTube's public page on Community Guidelines clearly states that this is the rule for everybody.

"If your account has been turned off or restricted from using any YouTube features, you're prohibited from using another channel to get around these restrictions," states YouTube's policy page [emphasis added.] "This applies for as long as the restriction remains active on your account. Violation of this restriction is considered circumvention under our Terms of Service, and may result in termination of your account."


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