Gus Kenworthy, an out U.S. Olympian who represented the country in freestyle skiing, has skyrocketed to fame in the past few weeks. Despite not winning a medal at the games, Kenworthy has still made multiple headlines — becoming friends with out figure skater Adam Rippon, adopting a dog to save it from a meat farm in South Korea, and, of course, clashing with the Trump administration. With his celebrity came something nearly every famous LGBT person has had to deal with: hate mail. In Kenworthy’s case, there were numerous hateful comments on YouTube.
Kenworthy recently tweeted four screenshots of YouTube comments aimed at him and his sexuality. The first one reads “Gross faggot. Fuck you. Go die of aids. Sodom and Gomorrah will return. Sick nasty pedo-fag.” The others followed the same theme.
Subsequently, YouTube replied to Kenworthy in a tweet:
This is unacceptable, we’re so sorry these comments and notifications came through to you. We’re actively working to fix this so you won't see or be notified of abusive comments and exploring more ways to protect people from abusive comments overall.
— Team YouTube (@TeamYouTube) February 28, 2018
Kenworthy then quoted YouTube’s tweet:
Thank you YouTube! Maybe consider filtering out keywords and phrases like "faggot" and "kill yourself" so that they just never show up in anyone's comments? I'm confident enough to brush it off but a younger me would have had a harder time. https://t.co/9Iugwoev1q
— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) February 28, 2018
This is not the first instance of YouTube struggling with homophobia or profiting off of it. Last year, the website received a slew of criticism for seemingly blocking LGBT content when a user was in restricted mode. Despite explaining that the mode was optional and restricted a multitude of videos depicting violence, sexuality, etc., YouTube officials ultimately changed the algorithm so that LGBT videos were not censored.
YouTube has also recently come under fire for not quickly taking down a video by YouTuber Logan Paul showing a suicide victim’s body in Japan. Once the site did, it received backlash for not acting faster or shutting down his channel altogether. Many pointed out the oddness of LGBT videos being censored but Paul’s video being allowed.