LOS ANGELES — YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki apologized to the gay and lesbian community on Monday over the handling of anti-gay comments on the video platform.
“I know that the decisions we made was very hurtful to the LGBTQ community and that wasn’t our intention at all,” Wojcicki said during her opening remarks at the Code Conference, a tech industry gathering in Scottsdale, Ariz..
Wojcicki was referring to videos containing anti-LGBTQ comments by Steven Crowder about Vox journalist, Carlos Maza. After Maza tweeted a video compilation of Crowder's comments on Tuesday of last week, YouTube responded on Twitter that the video did not violate its policies, which led to outcry on social media from YouTube creators and users.
YouTube then decided to demonetize Crowder's videos — meaning he couldn't have ads on his videos or make money through YouTube's system. However, they did not take down the videos, which Wojcicki, despite her apology, defended.
“It’s just from a policy standpoint we need to be consistent — if we took down that content, there would be so much other content that we need to take down.”
YouTube explained its updated policies on hate speech and harassment in a blog post on Wednesday.
"In the coming months, we will be taking a hard look at our harassment policies with an aim to update them — just as we have to so many policies over the years — in consultation with experts, creators, journalists and those who have, themselves, been victims of harassment. We are determined to evolve our policies, and continue to hold our creators and ourselves to a higher standard," said the blog post.
After being pressed about her apology by Axios reporter Ina Friedman at the Code Conference, Wojcicki explained her apology further.
“YouTube has always been a home of so many LGBTQ creators, and that’s why it was so emotional," Wojcicki said. "Even though it was a hard decision, it was harder that it came from us — because it was such an important home. And even though we made this decision, we have so many people from the LGBTQ community. As a company we really want to support this community."