During a marathon episode of The Blaze TV’s Louder With Crowder streamed on YouTube, host Steven Crowder used the n-word, had members of his staff reenact a deadly shooting, and predicted that a civil war will occur in the United States.
The episode, titled “LIVESTREAM: Kyle Rittenhouse Trial Opening Arguments!,” was simulcast to a number of platforms on Tuesday, including The Blaze, Rumble, and YouTube. As of Wednesday morning, the episode had been viewed more than 841,000 times on YouTube alone.
The entirety of Crowder’s Tuesday broadcast was dedicated to the first day of Kyle Rittenhouse’s trial for allegedly shooting and killing two people in August 2020, during unrest in the wake of the Kenosha, Wisconsin police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man. Rittenhouse has also been charged with unlawfully carrying a firearm.
Fresh off the heels of a recent YouTube suspension for pushing anti-trans hate speech, Crowder began the episode by saying he expected the possibility that YouTube may take down his stream. YouTube had already suspended Crowder twice this year, once in March for “misinformation and incendiary and demeaning content” and again in May for “harassment, threats, and cyberbullying.”
Crowder’s YouTube page is consistently a hub of obscenity and sexism. While on YouTube, he has recently said the military went wrong “with women getting the right to vote,” defended calling Native Americans “savages,” and said ex-NFL coach Jon Gruden, who was fired after a series of hompohobic, racist, and misogynistic emails were revealed, “did nothing offensive or fireable.”
“The Kyle Rittenhouse Challenge”
As he has in the past, Crowder and his co-hosts offered a full-throated defense of Rittenhouse on Tuesday’s show.
But this time Crowder, who wears a holstered gun during broadcasts, heightened his rhetoric by having his employees reenact the deadly shooting as part of what he called “The Kyle Rittenhouse Challenge.” Crowder teased the challenge by telling his audience that members of his staff “will reenact the scenario to see if anyone can make that superb shot.”
Later in the broadcast, Crowder then had various members of his staff sit on the floor with a Nerf gun and try to shoot other employees (one of whom was in a Black Lives Matter T-shirt) to simulate the incident.
At one point, after staff members were unable to successfully recreate the incident, Crowder praised Rittenhouse’s shooting ability: “Just keep in mind how capable this Rittenhouse must be.”
Last year, the BBC reported on YouTube’s “struggles with hero worship” related to the incident, including instances in which users reenacted the alleged shootings and ran “Rittenhouse training video[s].” According to the article, the platform has an “inconsistent” track record of enforcing its own policy on “violent or graphic content” specifically related to videos about Rittenhouse, which includes a ban on the following:
Footage, audio, or imagery involving road accidents, natural disasters, war aftermath, terrorist attack aftermath, street fights, physical attacks, immolation, torture, corpses, protests or riots, robberies, medical procedures, or other such scenarios with the intent to shock or disgust viewers.
The BBC flagged for YouTube several examples of Rittenhouse-related videos, including videos of men on target ranges recreating the shooting and a video game where individuals could play as Rittenhouse and kill one of the men Rittenhouse shot. These videos were removed by YouTube, but others remained.
“YouTube said that their community guidelines prohibit any violent or graphic content intended to shock viewers. ‘We take swift action to remove content flagged by our community that violates those policies,’” the BBC’s James Clayton noted during a separate radio broadcast on the subject.
Clayton said while YouTube claims it takes “swift action” against content that violates its policies, “experts studying this and our research into Rittenhouse suggests the platform could do a lot more to stop hosting extremism.”
“We are absolutely headed to a civil war in our time”
During the broadcast, Crowder also speculated that Rittenhouse’s trial may ignite a civil war in the United States. “And this is why we truly are on the verge of a civil war, and this could be the catalyst,” Crowder said. “Dear God, I hope not. Dear God, I hope the truth gets out.”
Crowder went on to discuss a looming civil war by addressing the audience directly, telling viewers that Rittenhouse’s innocence is clear on tape and asking them to imagine if no such recording existed. “What if we didn't have the tape? That's when you got to worry about the Civil War,” Crowder said.
Crowder also directly connected a future war to perceived threats posed by Democrats. “We are absolutely headed to a civil war in our time,” he said. “And it does — it will not look like the civil wars that you have imagined in the past. You just saw, actually, independents, this poll just came out today, independents and Republicans, I think even Democrats, I don't know what it was, but overall, with the general population, they saw Democrats as a greater threat to our democracy than Republicans.”
Again, Crowder’s fearmongering seems to contradict YouTube’s own policy on inciting violence.
The simulation of the Rittenhouse shooting recalls the April 7, 2021 episode of Louder with Crowder, titled, “KNEE ON NECK: Crowder Tests The Theory LIVE!” During the broadcast, Crowder had a man kneel on his neck while he laid on concrete. This was Crowder's disgusting attempt to recreate and discredit the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. The episode streamed live on YouTube and still remains on the platform.
YouTube has taken action against other prominent extremists, including former Trump advisor Steve Bannon and Infowars host Alex Jones. Both promoted violence and revolution on the platform. Jones appeared on Crowder’s program just about a month ago. When YouTube banned Jones in 2018, the company defended the decision by citing his repeated violation of YouTube policies:
When users violate these policies repeatedly, like our policies against hate speech and harassment or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts.
As of the writing of this report, Crowder’s account and the aforementioned episode remain on YouTube.