LGBTQ

Why LGBTQ YouTubers Are Suing Google for Discrimination

The plaintiffs claim that even their most harmless content is being demonetized and age-restricted based on their identity.
10 June 2020, 5:00am

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

If you’re a full-time content creator trying to reach an audience, the Google algorithms can be brutal, especially if they seem to be discriminatory. That's what a group of LGBTQ YouTubers is alleging in its suit against the tech giant, which finally went to its first hearing in a California court last week after months of delays.

Bria Lan and Chrissy Chambers, a gay couple, used to be full-time YouTubers making about $4,000 a month from their music/comedy/self-help videos aimed at young gay women, but then their subs and views dropped off a cliff.

“If that algorithm is really telling people and making the initial decision based on who they are, even if it's only 25 percent of the decision, that is downright fraudulent and it's outright discrimination,” Peter Obstler, the lawyer representing them and 11 other plaintiffs, told VICE News.

The YouTubers claim that even their most harmless content is being demonetized and age-restricted based on their identity, denying them the viewers they need to make income from their work. In its motion to dismiss their lawsuit, Google argues that its policies are applied equally to all creators.

We talked to the LGBTQ content creators about their case, which is now in the hands of the judge to decide if it should move forward.

Cover: Bria Kam and Chrissy Chambers, content creators popular on YouTube with young gay women.