YouTube defends targeted harassment as long as it coincides with community guidelines

YouTube defends targeted harassment as long as it coincides with community guidelines

YouTube has stated that creators of all scopes are free to express their opinions on the platform, even at the expense of others.

On May 31st, Vox producer Carlos Maza tweeted a string of complaints about YouTube commentator Steven Crowder.

In those tweets, Maza details how he has become a subject of harassment due to Crowder's frequent, negative coverage of his Vox series, Strikethrough. Crowder is seen in a video calling Maza an "anchor baby" and "a lispy queer", as well as mocking his ethnicity and sexuality.

Maza also reveals that "wakes up to a wall of homophobic/racist abuse on Instagram and Twitter" every time he is mentioned in one of Crowder's videos. He was also doxxed last year, according to the tweets.

YouTube's official Twitter account responded to the complaint and stated that while it clearly saw hurtful behaviour in Crowder's videos, it wouldn't be taking action against him or his channel.

"As an open platform, it’s crucial for us to allow everyone–from creators to journalists to late-night TV hosts–to express their opinions w/in the scope of our policies," YouTube wrote.

"Opinions can be deeply offensive, but if they don’t violate our policies, they’ll remain on our site."

Troubling decision

YouTube's choice to allow its creators to target abuse and harassment at other creators is deeply concerning. The platform is yet to take responsibility for the swill of commentators using its platform to spread offensive and hateful content at scale.

The platform states in a follow-up tweet that it doesn't endorse the opinions and viewpoints of all creators on the site, but their opinion is still allowed to exist as long as it doesn't break the community guidelines. 

However, it'd do YouTube well to remember that hateful content is against its community guidelines. YouTube's guidelines state that the platform does not support content that promotes or condones hate speech against race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status or sexual orientation/gender identity.

It also says that it doesn't support those "whose primary purpose is inciting hatred on the basis of these core characteristics". However, Crowder is seen in videos repeatedly mocking Maza's sexuality and race, which YouTube has yet to address following Maza's complaint.


Danielle Partis is editor of and former editor of She was named Journalist of the Year at the MCV Women in Games Awards 2019, as well as in the MCV 30 under 30 2020. Prior to Steel Media, she wrote about music and games at Team Rock.