YouTube has cracked down on Rebel News, a Canadian far-right political and social commentary channel which promotes “hateful, divisive, transphobic and dangerous content”.
Rebel News has been extremely critical of Canada’s lockdown, often slams the country’s liberal leader Justin Trudeau and has produced several anti-trans videos.
In December, the Daily Mail reported that Ezra Levant, founder of Rebel News, believed China has been sending spies to Canada through various projects with the Canadian government. He also said that cold weather training could be used by China to gather intelligence on the country and its military techniques so to use them against Canada further down the line.
On Monday (22 March), Levant announced in a video his channel had been demonetised by YouTube, which would prevent the channel from making money through advertising. YouTube did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
“They’re cutting off Rebel News,” Levant said in the video. “They’re completely cancelling all remaining ads on our channel, even from advertisers who specifically request our channel.”
An email, which was shown in the video, said Rebel News had been suspended from the YouTube partner program for “repeated violations of YouTube’s ad-friendly guidelines, including those related to harmful and dangerous acts, along with other channel monetisation policies”. Under this guidance, content that “promotes harmful or dangerous acts that result in serious physical, emotional or psychological injury” is unsuitable for advertising.
Levant believes that YouTube has pulled ads from the Rebel News channel because the video platform doesn’t “really like conservatives”. He explained: “I know that YouTube which is owned by Google is a far-left organisation politically that really doesn’t like conservatives.”
Twitter user Rob Gill shared the “good news” that Rebel News had been demonetised on Twitter alongside a screenshot of the email sent to its founder Ezra Levant. He wrote: “That means Rebel News can no longer earn money from their hateful, divisive, transphobic and dangerous content.”
Someone responded to his post by saying that no one had to “like The Rebel” and that those who “censor others are NEVER the good guys in history”. But Gill responded that YouTube has the “freedom” to decide who they partner with.
“Nobody got ‘censored’, Rebel Media still has all of their hateful videos available on YouTube… for now,” Gill said.
Another person expected there would soon be cries that the channel had been ‘cancelled’. They wrote on Twitter: “And queue the cries of ‘cancel culture’.”
One person wrote they had their relationship with their father “lost to their garbage” and were “exceptionally happy” Rebel News had been demonetised.
“Had they done this ages ago we might still be speaking, but I’ll take it as the good news it is now,” they said.
Rebel News vows to continue
Despite being demonetised, Rebel News has said it will still make videos and not just on YouTube.
Levant said the suspension will cost Rebel News, which has 1.45 million subscribers on YouTube, about “$400,000 a year”. He said it would be forced to either “change our editorial viewpoint” to reapply for monetisation on YouTube or “cut our payroll” to keep afloat.
According to the email seen in its video, Rebel News can re-apply to be part of the YouTube Partner Program in 30 days, but it will only be readmitted “after they’ve addressed the issues that triggered suspension”.
The suspension also means that the channel cannot receive “super chat” payments – money that can be paid to a channel by viewers during a livestream.
Rebel News now has a separate website where they are collecting views names and email addresses so the channel can “contact you when we’re shut down” on YouTube. The website also directs people to “other platforms” where they can view Rebel News’ content.
It also links to a donation page where people can “help us make up the $400,000 shortfall”. As of publishing this article, Rebel News had received over $65,000 through donations.