Activists Want Google Banned From San Francisco Pride Month
Many activists are lobbying to ban Google from the San Francisco Pride march, after what they see as the tech giant's idleness on their YouTube video platform concerning the mistreatment of LGBTQ consumers.
"I don't feel extremely attached to Pride because it's becoming much more centered on businesses that do everything about slapping a rainbow logo on their products, not queer individuals," said Tyler Breisacher, a former Google worker and activist , to NBC News.
When he saw Carlos Maza's now-viral Twitter post — a gay reporter who went to the social platform to chronicle the years of bullying he's been exposed to by right-wing YouTube personality Steven Crowder — Breisacher said he was "upset and wondering what I should do." So, he decided to go to a community conference held by the Board of Directors of San Francisco Pride to make his case for Google to be banned from the annual celebration.
Maza, who creates the Vox digital series "Strikethrough," wrote in a tweet that has been discussed more than 20,000 times since it was published on May 30, "I've been called an anchor baby, a lipsy queer, a Mexican, etc." "These videos get millions of opinions on YouTube," he said of YouTube posts from Crowder. "I wake up to a wall of homophobic / racist abuse on Instagram and Twitter every time you get published." Maza also posted a video mashup of Crowder's harassment showing the YouTuber mocking Maza's manner of eating and walking.
YouTube originally argued that Crowder — who has a large platform with more than 3.8 million supporters, and sells "Socialism is for f*gs" t-shirts— did not breach its conditions.
"While we discovered language that was obviously hurtful, our strategies are not violated by the videos published," YouTube wrote in reaction to Maza's Twitter thread. "Opinions may be deeply offensive, but they will remain on our site if they don't violate our policies."
Although the videos of Crowder stay on YouTube, social media backlash has led the firm to reverse its original choice in part. The firm indicated on Tuesday that it "suspended the monetization of this channel," meaning that it will withhold advertising income from Crowder's channel until it removes from its video descriptions the connection to its merchandise website.
But some activists who attended the latest board meeting of the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration Committee thought it was not enough to answer YouTube.
"Google wants both sides. They want to have their rainbow search page and proclaim that they are pro-LGBTQ, but they don't make choices when push goes to shove that support LGBTQ YouTubers, "Breisacher said. "Google isn't an ally in the manner you want it to be."
Breisacher pointed out several incidents in which he claims that Google has shown a lack of investment in its customers of LGBTQ. Last year, LGBTQ YouTubers like Tyler Oakley, Rowan Ellis, and NeonFiona talked about hiding or demonetizing their content.
The Board of Directors of San Francisco Pride has never prohibited a Pride business, although it came close to doing so in 2015 after Facebook launched a "true name" policy that penalized transgender consumers for not using their birth names. Finally, the board voted to allow Facebook to take part.
"San Francisco Pride is striving to create room for diversity, integration and respectful dialogue. We promote the upliftment and preservation of marginalized voices, "wrote Fred Lopez, San Francisco Pride's communications manager, in an emailed declaration. "We are tracking this tale as it develops, listening to the community's issues, and raising these issues with our Google contacts." Lopez added that Google is San Francisco Pride's "long-term partner," as well as a sponsor and registered contingent of the parade.
If Google is not excluded from the celebrations of this year by the board, Breisacher said he hopes it will seriously consider doing so next year.
Cover image via NBC News