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YouTube demonetizes rightwing pundit Jordan Peterson for misgendering Elliot Page

Elliot Page, Umbrella Academy
Elliot Page in The Umbrella Academy Photo: Netflix

YouTube has demonetized two anti-transgender videos from conservative Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson. The platform quietly stopped serving ads for the videos, so neither Peterson nor YouTube will be able to earn money from them.

However, the videos, in which Peterson deadnamed and misgendered Umbrella Academy actor Elliot Page and compares gender-affirming care to Nazi experimentation, remain on YouTube.

In the first video, posted on July 1, Peterson ranted about being banned from Twitter for deadnaming Page. In late June, Peterson posted a tweet deadnaming and misgendering the actor. The social media platform explicitly bans misgendering and deadnaming transgender people, and Twitter suspended Peterson’s account and forced him to delete the offensive tweet. Peterson’s video in response was widely mocked on social media.

The July 15 video features Peterson delivering a screed against gender-affirming care.

“It’s Auschwitz and Gulag-level wrong,” Peterson said. “It’s Nazi medical experiment-level wrong.”

Gender-affirming care has been endorsed by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association, and many other professional groups as necessary and frequently lifesaving for transgender individuals.

YouTube told Axios that Peterson’s videos “violate our advertising policies around hateful and derogatory content.”

“We set a high bar for what videos can make money on YouTube,” YouTube explained. “Many videos that are allowed on YouTube are not eligible to monetize because they do not meet our ad-friendly guidelines.”

The platform stopped short of removing the videos altogether, a move which GLAAD said fails to enforce YouTube’s own policy on hate speech.

“In demonetizing these two videos, YouTube is confirming that Jordan Peterson’s hate-driven anti-trans rhetoric is in violation of the platform’s community guidelines,” the LGBTQ media watchdog org said in a statement. “However, in only demonetizing rather than removing the videos YouTube is failing to truly enforce its own Hate speech policy which asserts: ‘We remove content promoting violence or hatred against individuals or groups based on … gender identity and expression.’”

“It is shameful that these videos remain active, with millions of views, continuing to perpetuate hateful and false narratives at the expense of trans people everywhere. At a time when such rhetoric on YouTube and elsewhere is leading to real-world increases in anti-trans harassment, discrimination, and laws that harm trans people, YouTube’s small action to merely demonetize these two videos, rather than remove them, just shows how much more the company needs to do to protect trans lives.”

In its recently released 2022 Social Media Safety Index, which reports on LGBTQ user safety on social media platforms, GLAAD gave YouTube a score of 45% out of a possible 100. The organization specifically recommended that YouTube adopt a policy that protects users from targeted deadnaming and misgendering and removes such dehumanizing anti-trans content.

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