Business Insider Edition

YouTube CEO apologised to the LGBTQ community for not banning videos involving homophobic slurs last week, but says she stands by the decision

Nick Bastone , Business Insider US
 Jun 11, 2019, 10:31 AM
YouTube CEO, Susan Wojcicki
Mateusz Wlodarczyk / Getty
  • YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki apologised to the LGBTQ community for not banning videos involving homophobic slurs last week, but maintained that she believed the company made the right decision based on its current policies.
  • "I know that the decision we made was very hurtful to the LGBTQ community and that was not our intention at all," Wojcicki said on Monday at Recode's Code Conference in Scottsdale, AZ. "And we're really sorry about that."
  • The apology followed a tumultuous week for YouTube following its decision not to remove videos from one of its stars Steven Crowder after the conservative commentator made repeated homophobic remarks about Vox journalist, Carlos Maza.
  • "We need to enforce those policies consistently," Wojcicki said. "We don't want to be knee jerk."
  • For more stories, go to www.businessinsider.co.za.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki apologised to the LGBTQ community for not banning videos involving homophobic slurs last week, but maintained that she believed the company made the right decision based on its current policies.

"I know that the decision we made was very hurtful to the LGBTQ community and that was not our intention at all," Wojcicki said on Monday at Recode's Code Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. "I thought it was really important to be upfront about that and to say that, that was not our intention. And we're really sorry about that."

The apology followed a tumultuous week for YouTube following its decision not to remove videos from one of its stars Steven Crowder after the conservative commentator made repeated homophobic remarks about Vox journalist, Carlos Maza.

Initially, YouTube said Crowder's language did not constitute a violation of its policies, and that the videos would remain up. However, a day later, YouTube said that it was "suspending" Crowder's ability to make money from his channel.

On Monday, Wojcicki said that based on the context of the videos, she believed YouTube had made the right decision regarding Crowder.

"I agree that that was the right decision," she said. "When we look at harassment and we think about harassment, there are a number of things we look at. First of all, we look at the context. Was this video dedicated to harassment or was it a one-hour political video that had, say, a racial slur in it? Those are very different kinds of videos."

YouTube's chief exec also said the team takes into consideration whether videos are "malicious with the intent to harass."

"For right or for wrong right now, malicious is a high bar for us," Wojcicki said.

Internally, Google employees are reportedly angered by the Crowder episode, but some say they're afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation from the company and their conservative colleagues. Also, because of its controversial decision, Google could be banned from participating in San Francisco's annual Pride celebration later this month.

As for how Wojcicki can be sorry about implications to the LGBTQ community, while at the same time, standing by her company's decision, the chief exec says it comes down to needing to be consistent.

"We need to enforce those policies consistently. If we were not to enforce it consistently what would happen is there would be literally millions of other people saying, 'What about this video? What about this video? What about this video? And why aren't all those videos coming down?'" Wojcicki said. "We don't want to be knee jerk… We need to have consistent policies. They need to be enforced in a consistent way."

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