Update (4/26/23): Since this article was published, YouTube has removed two episodes of The Matt Walsh Show for violating the platform’s policy on harassment and bullying and its terms of service, respectively. Additionally, the platform has demonetized Walsh’s channel, and he has declared that he is abandoning the platform entirely, saying, “I’m not going to forfeit my integrity for the sake of YouTube ad revenue.”
While anti-LGBTQ bigotry has been a facet of The Daily Wire’s coverage for years, the outlet’s podcast hosts have taken on an even harsher tone toward LGBTQ people since mid-February. Across multiple episodes, Jake Crain, Candace Owens, Matt Walsh, and Michael Knowles have promoted hateful, at times eliminationist, rhetoric toward transgender people. Even though this rhetoric breaches the stated terms of service of YouTube and Spotify, Daily Wire podcasts with this content remain available on the platforms.
Spotify and YouTube’s terms of service
Spotify Platform Rules prohibit “dehumanizing statements about a person or group based on the protected characteristics” such as “gender identity or expression” or “sexual orientation.” These statements include “content that incites violence or hatred towards a person or group of people,” in particular content that is seen to be “praising, supporting, or calling for violence against a person or group of people based on the characteristics listed above.” YouTube’s Hate Speech Policy promises to “remove content promoting violence or hatred against individuals or groups” based on ... “gender identity and expression” and/or “sexual orientation.”
Don’t post content on YouTube if the purpose of that content is to do one or more of the following.
- Encourage violence against individuals or groups based on any of the attributes noted above. We don’t allow threats on YouTube, and we treat implied calls for violence as real threats. You can learn more about our policies on threats and harassment.
- Incite hatred against individuals or groups based on any of the attributes noted above.
Despite clearly stated policies, both Spotify and YouTube continue to platform Crain & Company, Candace Owens, The Matt Walsh Show, and The Michael Knowles Show. Here are a few examples of what the hosts of these shows have said in just the past month.
Walsh insulted and degraded trans TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney in a hateful rant, saying, “You are weird and artificial, you are manufactured and lifeless, you are unearthly and eerie.” In a demonstration of Walsh’s influence on the other content produced by the Daily Wire, Brett Cooper replayed and praised his insults on her own show, The Comments Section with Brett Cooper.
On Crain & Company, the Daily Wire’s sports podcast, co-host Jake Crain fearmongered about the presence of trans athletes in women’s locker rooms. The hosts refused to push back on callers into the show who proposed trans violence, including one caller who stated that not only would he want to beat a trans woman for being in a locker room with his daughter, but he would “beat his son up if he ever thought about doing something like that in a women’s locker room.”
Crain claimed that he was not advocating for violence against trans people, but rather “forewarning” and “foreshadowing” what would ensue when fathers discovered that their cis daughters were sharing locker rooms with trans women, portraying a violent response as normal, inevitable, and deserved.
Owens claimed that if she had a trans grandchild, she would beat them “with a cane,” normalizing the idea of a violent response to trans identity. (This is the only episode in this timeline not available on YouTube, but it is available through Spotify.)
In response to backlash following his attack on Mulvaney, Walsh stated that he would “rather be dead” than have a trans child, suggesting he would not stop at spouting hateful rhetoric even if he discovered that his child were trans:
MATT WALSH (HOST) I'm entitled to my anger and to whatever language I use to convey it.
When it comes to my children, the children that I cherish more than my own life, if you think mean words go too far, then you would be very shocked to hear how far I would really go to protect them. Trust me, words are the least of it.
Walsh repeated this statement in a later interview, which was also posted to YouTube, saying that having a trans child is “a fate worse than death.”
On his own show, Knowles claimed gay couples who use egg donors are engaging in slavery.
MICHAEL KNOWLES (HOST): These men decided to create a child with the express intent of ripping that child away from his mother. It is the most evil thing going on in the country today other than abortion, other than killing babies in the womb. Creating a baby for the purpose of pulling that baby away from his [unintelligible] mother — it's so profoundly evil. And, more broadly, treating people like commodities to be purchased on the open market — that is very, very evil.
Knowles argued, “You have to ban transgenderism entirely. You can't just ban it for the kids. It's got to be entirely.”
Responding to concerns about his eliminationist rhetoric, Knowles claimed that it would be impossible to commit a genocide against trans people, since “transgender people is not a real ontological category,” a dangerous step in dehumanization. He later added, “Transgenderism, ultimately, is a lie. It's a deception. It's a fraud. Fraud is not protected by the First Amendment. Fraud is not a category protected by the principles of free speech. You have no right to fraud.”
Knowles further urged the enforcement of conversion therapy — a harmful and widely discredited practice — as a solution to keeping trans people out of public life, promoting the idea that gender identity is not immutable but rather something that can be changed through extreme pressure. Knowles added, “Our version of conversion therapy is taking confused people and persuading them of reality and attempting to dispel them of their delusions. Your version of conversion therapy is attempting to take confused people and indulge their delusion.”
Knowles argued that parents who bring kids to drag shows should have their children taken away, saying, “I don't see how these parents should be permitted to keep their children. They're abusing their children. They're sexually abusing their children by taking them to these events.”
The Daily Wire participated in backlash against Hershey’s Chocolate, following the brand’s inclusion of a trans woman in its Women’s History Month campaign. Across a range of Daily Wire podcasts, including The Michael Knowles Show, The Comments Section with Brett Cooper, The Ben Shapiro Show, and Candace Owens, hosts promoted their anti-trans brand of chocolate.
Owens and Walsh applauded Knowles’ statements at the Conservative Political Action Conference earlier in March, where he echoed his calls for the eradication of transgenderism. Despite backlash, Knowles read his CPAC address on his show on March 6, repeating his suggestion of “eradication” yet again. He also falsely asserted that until “around 2015, we did not have any acceptance of transgenderism in public life.”
On her show, Owens excused and endorsed Knowles' calls for eradication, calling his speech “perfectly sensible,” and aired a clip from it. She added that transgenderism is a “huge societal problem that needs to be addressed, and he is correct, there is no halfway.” She also said that the LGBTQ “alphabet soup community is the most vicious social movement I’ve ever seen throughout my lifetime.”
MATT WALSH (HOST): But is a word like eradicate over the top? Does it have a needlessly militant tone? No, definitely not. The tone may be militant, but not needlessly so. We are, after all, in a war and lives are at stake. We are in a war against the most deranged ideology ever invented by the human race, plain and simple. We are fighting to eradicate the ideological equivalent of a parasitic infestation. And the parasite, gender ideology, seeks to not only brainwash a generation of children, not only degrade and appropriate womanhood, and manhood by the way, but also and most fundamentally, it seeks to eat away at truth itself or if it cannot devour the truth, then at least it will destroy our ability to recognize the truth for what it is.
He claimed that eradication was justified, arguing that trans people are attempting to “suck our children” into their “suicide cult.” Like Knowles, Walsh also claimed that trans people had not really existed in public life “until about a decade ago.”
On her show, Owens claimed that “straight psychopaths" are pushing a transgender agenda while defending Knowles’ statements.
Following Knowles’ call for the eradication of “transgender ideology,” mainstream media outlets caved to the Daily Wire line that Knowles was distinguishing between a dogma and the people who, by his logic, believe it. The Daily Wire position, as defined by its hosts, is that to be transgender is to be diseased, mentally ill, demonic, a sexual predator, or to simply not exist.
In the context of these well-documented assertions, it is impossible to read an urging for “the eradication of transgender ideology” as anything other than a call for the eradication of transgender people. By continuing to provide a platform to the Daily Wire and its hosts, both Spotify and YouTube are complicit in — to quote Walsh — this “war” against trans life.