During 2021, Steven Crowder received four known strikes and suspensions on YouTube. According to YouTube’s policy, three strikes on a given channel results in a permanent suspension if the strikes are within 90 days of each other. This results in a system catered for abuse in which hateful content creators like Crowder can repeatedly accrue strikes, but never face permanent censure.
Crowder’s Youtube channel StevenCrowder -- where he streams his show Louder with Crowder -- is a hellish sewer oozing hate speech and misinformation into the minds of its 5.5 million subscribers. Crowder continually infringes on the platform’s hate speech, bullying, and misinformation policies.
By any of its own policy standards, YouTube would’ve permanently removed him. But here’s how the platform has allowed a serial policy offender to remain on the platform:
Crowder’s first major admonishment on YouTube came in June 2019 when the platform demonetized his account, which meant that Crowder could no longer run ads on his channel. YouTube’s determination followed then-Vox staffer (and former Media Matters researcher) Carlos Maza outlining Crowder’s history of homophobic bullying. Though YouTube stopped Crowder from running future ads, it did not suspend him for his rhetoric. Instead, the platform determined that Crowder’s homophobic harassment did not, in fact, violate its policies.
YouTube’s decision to demonetize Crowder’s channel was not permanent. In August 2020, the platform once again allowed Crowder to run ads on his channel, citing his “track record of policy-compliant behavior” following the suspension.
During the March 16 edition of his show, Crowder and his co-hosts engaged in a wildly racist tirade against Black farmers. The video garnered tremendous criticism. YouTube initially determined the video did not violate its terms of service. But it did, however, remove the video for spreading misinformation regarding COVID-19.
On March 29, Crowder announced on Instagram that YouTube had temporarily suspended the StevenCrowder channel. The Verge reported that the platform had indefinitely demonetized the channel. YouTube cited its policy “related to misinformation and incendiary and demeaning content” as part of its rationale. Crowder’s lawyer Bill Richmond said YouTube had determined a video from earlier in the month violated the platform’s policy on election-related misinformation.
Immediately after the suspension, Crowder announced his intention to evade YouTube’s suspension by using his secondary channel CrowderBits.
Crowder announced that YouTube had temporarily suspended StevenCrowder for two weeks and the secondary channel CrowderBits for one week. This was the result of YouTube putting a strike on Crowder’s April 21 episode for violating the platform’s policy against cyberbullying and harassment. In the episode, Crowder and his co-hosts mocked police-shooting victim Ma’Khia Bryant for her weight.
Crowder announced he will be returning to broadcasts on January 11 following a holiday break. When he returns to YouTube, he will still be within the 90-day timeframe following his October strike. As a result, if he receives one more strike within the first few days, he will be removed from the platform permanently.
YouTube's policy fosters abuse
Though Crowder received four strikes in 2021, there were never three within 90 days of each other, which is what he needs to avoid to stay on the platform.
YouTube’s 90-day policy with regard to strikes fosters a system of permissible abuse in which people like Crowder can regularly break the platform’s policies while retaining their channel.