YouTube suspends adverts on Tommy Robinson's account

The activist will no longer be able to monetise videos on his YouTube account for breaching ad policies, the video platform confirmed.

YouTube has suspended adverts on the account of controversial activist Tommy Robinson for breaching the site’s advertising guidelines.

The Google-owned video platform said it had placed the restrictions on Robinson’s YouTube channel – which has 270,000 subscribers – for content around controversial issues and sensitive events.

The ban comes a day after YouTube removed adverts for far-right group Britain First from the platform for breaching rules which prohibit content which promotes “hatred, intolerance or discrimination”.

Video creators on YouTube can collect money from advertising by allowing adverts to be shown on their videos.

(John Stillwell/PA)
(John Stillwell/PA)

“We have suspended ads on Tommy Robinson’s YouTube channel as it breaches our advertising policies,” a YouTube spokesman said.

In response Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, told the Press Association the incident was “continued censorship”.

Last year, the former English Defence League leader was banned from Twitter and online payment platform PayPal, both of which pointed to their rules on hate speech as reasons for imposing a ban.

Referencing his most recent video on the site, which recaps 2018 and is one of those now subject to the restrictions, Robinson said: “There’s nothing hateful in it.”

The video includes footage which, Robinson claims, shows him punching a migrant on a street in Italy.

It also includes reference to a “rape jihad phenomenon” he claims is “pretty much in every major town and city in our country”.

His YouTube channel also features a video entitled “football fans unite against Islam”.

YouTube said it believed strongly in freedom of expression but it had a responsibility to protect its community of creators, viewers and advertisers from what it called derogatory and disparaging content.

Advocacy group Hope Not Hate welcomed the move but said social media platforms remained “too slow” to respond to incidents around apparent hate speech.

“Stephen Lennon has, until recently, never had it so good. Social media and payment platforms have fallen over themselves to chuck advertising revenue at his diet of manufactured anger, hatred and conspiracies, which is simply a con to generate clicks and cash,” the group said in a statement.

“Lennon and others in the far right are utterly reliant on social media and crowdfunding platforms to keep their coffers plump.

“YouTube made the right choice, but all too often they, and others, are far too slow in reacting when these ‘PayPal patriots’ take to the airwaves to spread their poison and bile.”

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