In a speech at the University of Iowa, self-described “theocratic fascist” and Daily Wire host Matt Walsh complained that his YouTube channel had been stripped of advertiser revenue, which he said was bringing in more than $100,000 per month. An independent estimate suggests that Walsh’s YouTube revenue could have been as high as $1.6 million per year.
YouTube confirmed the demonetization, with a spokesperson writing, “We suspended monetization on Matt Walsh’s channel due to repeated violations of our YouTube Partner Program policies, which include our Advertiser-Friendly Guidelines. These policies apply equally to all creators, regardless of political viewpoint, and channels that repeatedly violate these policies are demonetized."
The demonetization, which was announced before the speech in a Twitter thread by Daily Wire CEO Jeremy Boering, reportedly comes in response to Walsh’s increasingly vitriolic campaign against Dylan Mulvaney, which escalated after the transgender TikTok star announced a collaboration with Bud Light.
Speaking before an audience of college students, Walsh announced that rather than stop his tirades against Mulvaney, he would make his show free to all viewers on the Daily Wire+ app and would upload episodes to Twitter, suggesting some kind of deal with Twitter CEO Elon Musk. “I truly see the fight against gender ideology as the last stand for Western civilization,” Walsh said. “Because if the sane side loses this, it's over. It's over after this."
Walsh has targeted Mulvaney in a series of increasingly vicious attacks over a period of several months, beginning with a rant in which Walsh told the trans influencer, “You are weird and artificial, you are manufactured and lifeless, you are unearthly and eerie.” The monologue led to backlash within right-wing media and was cited by one Daily Wire writer in her decision to leave the company. But Walsh doubled down, saying that he “would rather be dead” than have a trans child. And then, at the start of April, Bud Light sent Mulvaney a can of beer with her face on it.
Walsh, who previously made comments supportive of teenage pregnancy, has a history of spreading anti-trans vitriol. As documented by Media Matters, between mid-February and mid-March, Walsh also repeated his statement about preferring death to a trans child; misgendered and deadnamed a trans woman featured in a Hershey’s chocolate ad (in Canada); defended his colleague Michael Knowles’ call to eradicate “transgenderism … from public life entirely” by claiming to be “in a war against the most deranged ideology ever invented by the human race,” which he called a “parasite”; and called the trans community “a suicide cult.”
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.” Social Blade indicates that two Walsh videos had already been demonetized in April when the Daily Wire host led a boycott against Bud Light for collaborating with Mulvaney. If Walsh’s contract contains provisions similar to those found in the contract offered to Louder with Crowder host Steven Crowder, which stated that being demonetized would lead to a 25% cut in his salary, the loss of YouTube revenue is a huge financial blow to Walsh.
The Daily Wire+ app continues to be available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play store. The Apple App Store’s content guidelines lay out a prohibition on “defamatory, discriminatory, or mean-spirited content, including references or commentary” targeting gender or sexual orientation, especially if the app or content “is likely to humiliate, intimidate, harass, or harm individuals or groups.” The Google Play terms of service similarly forbid “apps that promote violence, or incite hatred against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, caste, immigration status, or any other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization.”
Walsh’s move to uploading his show to Twitter comes at a convenient time for the Daily Wire host. Twitter, which was acquired by Elon Musk in 2022, recently updated its terms of service to remove its previous prohibition on targeted misgendering and deadnaming of trans people. Musk recently launched an effort to reassure nervous Twitter advertisers and to convince those who previously abandoned the platform to return. In one recent interview, Musk claimed that Twitter was open to advertiser feedback but that “freedom of speech is paramount.”