If you have been following social media, you may have come across the phrase “Vox Adpocalypse.” You might have just scratched your head, been momentarily confused, and then moved on. However, this was actually an important story for independent content creators on Big Tech platforms as well as Free Speech advocates that want their voices heard online.
The three big players in this story are Carlos Maza, a journalist/commentator from Vox, Steven Crowder, a conservative Comedian/commentator who has a partnership with The Blaze TV, and the YouTube platform which is owned by Google.
The story begins with Vox publishing a video called “You’re watching Fox News. You just don’t know it.” It was narrated by Carlos Maza.
This is a nine minute video in which Maza makes the argument that Fox News is the gatekeeper of the news and controls what information people see and what they do not see. Video below:
Steven Crowder then released a video entitled “VOX REBUTTAL: Conservatives Control the Media?!”
What Crowder does is he takes Maza’s video, point by point, and counters each of the arguments made. In addition to this, Crowder also challenges Maza’s admitted conception of journalism as being the gatekeeper of information. It is the journalist’s job to report the news, argues Crowder, not filter out what they want their viewers to know.
Yes, gate-keeping does happen. One of the most blatant examples of this was in December of 2017 when an attempted suicide bombing happened on a New York City platform. Four hours after the event, and while the information was still unfolding, CNN was still airing “bombshell” news segments about how many Diet Cokes President Trump consumes on a daily basis. On that day, CNN made the decision to rate Trump’s soda tally more important than a terrorist attack in New York City. Gatekeeping is a real thing.
Shortly after Crowder’s video was published, Maza took to Twitter to complain about the language used in the video and the attacks against Maza’s sexual orientation as well as his ethnicity.
PAUSE: It’s important to note that Crowder does, over the course of multiple videos, refer to Maza using homosexual slurs, and it is also important to note that Maza is very open about his sexual orientation. His Twitter handle, for example, is @gaywonk (wonk meaning “hard worker”). In addition, Maza is of Cuban decent and Crowder has, on several occasions, referred to him as a Mexican.
We cannot include Maza’s entire 23 post Tweet complaint that ran over the course of a day because it includes numerous f-bombs. If you would like to view it, click HERE. For those who don’t click, this is a quick summary of the grievances that Maza lists:
In addition to the mocking of sexual orientation and ethnicity, Maza claims to have been doxxed when his phone received one hundred “Debate Steven Crowder” texts at the same time. He claims to be a victim of harassment and bullying.
PAUSE II: It’s also important to note here that Maza has done his own version of bullying and harassment. His “about” portion of his Twitter account calls Tucker Carlson a white supremacist and he has called for his followers to throw milkshakes at “far-Right” figures when they go out in public:
For those who do not know, throwing a milkshake at someone is legally defined as assault and battery. You have the intent to provide unwanted touching, which fulfills the intent portion required for assault and the battery portion of the law is fulfilled when the unwanted touching (hit with the milkshake) actually occurs.
It might seem like throwing a milkshake at someone is such a minor offence, but you do not know what is in that milkshake. There could be anything in the cup. There could be rocks, glass, or even battery acid.
Since publication of this article, Twitter has allowed Maza’s criminal activity “call to action” to remain on its platform.
Maza continued his Tweet-storm by accusing YouTube of only caring about clicks and not about the safety and well-being of its LGBT content creators. Keep in mind that Crowder’s “harassment” of Maza has been going on for years, but Maza seems to have waited until gay pride month to come forth with his complaints.
During this string of Tweets, Maza also called on his followers to “help” by going to Crowder’s YouTube page and start mass-flagging his videos.
This is a tactic known as “brigading” in which an organized effort is made between a group of people to provide negative feedback on a post or video to get that post, video, or the account creator removed. It is a form of cyber-bullying.
After several days, YouTube responded with a pronouncement that Steven Crowder’s videos did not violate their terms of service:
“Our teams spent the last few days conducting an in-depth review of the videos flagged to us, and while we found language that was clearly hurtful, the videos as posted don’t violate our policies.”