Published On: Thu, Aug 15th, 2019

YouTube sued over LGBT suppression, targeting channels

A group of LGBT video creators is accusing YouTube of discriminating by suppressing their content, restricting their ability to sell advertising and culling their subscribers, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday evening against the video site and its parent, Google.

The suit argues the platforms, which “wield unparalleled power,” have unfairly and routinely targeted channels with headlines or tags that use words including “gay,” “lesbian,” “bisexual” or “transgender” through software algorithms and manual reviews conducted by YouTube employees.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the creators of GNews!, Bria Kam and Chrissy Chambers (BriaAndChrissy), Chase Ross (uppercaseCHASE1), Lindsay Amer (Queer Kid Stuff) and Amp Somers (Watts The Safeword).

“As a result of this unlawful conduct, Defendants caused this Plaintiff to lose its substantial viewer base and revenues derived from an audience that BriaAndChrissy LLC alone, had built up over the past seven years,” attorney Peter Obstler, of the firm Browne George Ross, wrote in the suit.

Kam told HuffPost that as time went on, the couple felt YouTube was deliberately targeting them.

“Before that, we’ve always thought that it was a wonderful community, a place where minority voices could be represented, where we could help young people questioning their sexuality and have a place to feel accepted,” Kam said. “It has now turned into something that we’re unable to invest our same effort and focus into because we’ve been so systematically shut down.”

The lawsuit also cites recent reports by The New York Times that suggested the video platform was in part to blame for the election of Brazil’s far-right and homophobic president Jair Bolsonaro, and reference recent appearances of Google and YouTube executives in congressional hearings.

A YouTube spokesperson said the company’s policies “have no notion of sexual orientation or gender identity and our systems do not restrict or demonetize videos based on these factors or the inclusion of terms like ‘gay’ or ‘transgender.’”

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