YouTube faces federal lawsuit over alleged discrimination against LGBT creators

Presley Ann/Getty Images for YouTube Two months after the CEO of YouTube offered a public apology to the LGBT community, the company is now facing a federal lawsuit alleging discrimination.

Five LGBT creators are suing YouTube and accusing it of discriminating against their videos about the LGBT topics, such as by restricting their audience and therefore reducing the creators’ advertising revenue, while not applying the same standards to videos made by more popular channels, The Washington Post reports . The lawsuit was filed in San Jose, California.

The platform, the lawsuit alleges, has become a "chaotic cesspool" in which LGBT 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," The Verge reports . As The Verge points out, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki recently denied the idea that YouTube will automatically "automatically demonetize" videos based on "certain words in a title," as LGBT creators have alleged.

YouTube came under fire earlier this summer after saying that conservative commentator Steven Crowder’s videos featuring homophobic slurs against a gay journalist did not violate its policies, although his videos were later demonetized . YouTube in response said it would take a "hard look" at its harassment policies as Wojcicki apologized to the LGBT community while still defending the decision.

Moderators for YouTube recently spoke to The Washington Post and anonymously accused the company of having a "double-standard for different users" and being "more lenient" with popular creators, such as Crowder, who has more than four million subscribers. Describing the Crowder uproar, one moderator said, "YouTube’s stance is that nothing is really an issue until there is a headline about it."
Brendan Morrow