In recent news, GNews!, a group of LGBTQ creators, are suing YouTube, the popular video platform, and their parent company, Google. The group is alleging that YouTube restricts their abilities to generate revenue with their videos due to their sexual orientation. The discrimination lawsuit was filed in federal court in California in August 2019 and is seeking class action status.
The plaintiffs’ legal counsel argues that YouTube regularly engages in discriminatory, anticompetitive, and unlawful conduct. The standard practice is harmful to LGPTQ, a protected group of persons under California law. A spokesperson from YouTube responded to the lawsuit on record stating:
“We’re proud that so many LGBTQ creators have chosen YouTube as a place to share their stories and build community. All content on our site is subject to the same policies. Our 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.” In addition, we have strong policies prohibiting hate speech, and we quickly remove content that violates our policies and terminate accounts that do so repeatedly.”
The GNews! group consists of Bria Kam, Chrissy Chambers (BriaandChrissy), Chase Ross (uppercaseCHASE1), Lindsay Amer (Queer Kid Stuff), and Amp Somers (Watts The Safeword). The group’s lawsuit claims that YouTube labels their uploads offensive and sexually explicit, but only because of their sexual orientation and that their videos are consistently demonetized. They also claim that YouTube changes the GNews! thumbnail videos and excludes them from content recommendations. As a result of YouTube’s actions, the group claims that they receive suppressed view counts.
The group further claims that while YouTube actively discriminates against their account due to the creators’ sexual orientation, the company does nothing to enforce their own content policies against LGBTQ harassment. The group of LGBTQ creators published a video on YouTube discussing YouTube’s mishandling of homophobic speech by one of their users and YouTube CEO’s apology for the situation described in the high-profile case involving a far-right YouTube commentator named Steven Crowder who mocked gay Vox journalist Carlos Maza on the platform. GNews! claims this was simply a PR exercise and that YouTube does not take these issues seriously.
If you have questions about how to protect your rights in the workplace or if you need to file a discrimination lawsuit, please get in touch with Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP. Our employment law attorneys have the resources and experience companies fear in litigation.