YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki is apologizing to the LGBTQ community in the wake of the company’s failure to take more definitive action against conservative pundit Steven Crowder’s channel.
(Disclosure: Vox is a publication of Vox Media, which also owns The Verge.)
Wojcicki’s comments come after Vox host Carlos Maza tweeted a video compilation of Crowder making homophobic comments about Maza, including calling him a “lispy queer.” YouTube responded via Twitter about the situation, saying that, although the company didn’t agree with the statements Crowder made, his content didn’t violate the company’s policies. The decision led to mass outcry from YouTube creators, critics, and even employees at Google who signed a petition against YouTube’s decision.
“I know that the decisions we made was very hurtful to the LGBTQ community and that wasn’t our intention at all,” Wojcicki said. “That was not our intention, and we were really sorry about that, and I do want to explain why we made the decision we did.”
YouTube’s team did decide to stop running ads on Crowder’s channel. Wojcicki told Recode’s Peter Kafka at Vox’s CodeCon that she agreed “it was the right decision” to leave Crowder’s channel up, but remove ads. Still, YouTube is looking to re-evaluate its harassment policies in the wake of the situation. The CEO also said that “when we change policies, we don’t want to be knee-jerk,“ adding that “we need to have consistent policies” that are continuously enforced.
“Steven Crowder has a lot of videos, and it took some time for us to look at that and understand it in the context of the video because context really, really matters,” Wojcicki said. “We looked at a large number of these videos and we decided they were not violative of our harassment policies.”
When asked if this was an area that YouTube could get a handle on, Wojcicki said there is room for YouTube to improve, but added that she believes the company and the platform have come a long way.