The Ralph Retort has been kicked off YouTube for profiting off of Hate Speech.
Killstream is a ‘Free Speech’ Variety show on YouTube with controversial guests and and an even more controversial chat stream. And while most comments quickly disappear, YouTube’s SuperChat system has allowed users to pay to pin comments so that the creators can have time to look at them and respond.
The more someone pays, the longer the comment is pinned to the screen.
However, this has been problematic for Killstream, as users have been pinning hateful and racist comments. The SuperChat function was originally intended for gamers, but according to a study by Storyful, it has become increasingly popular with the far-right platforms.
While YouTube has a filter system in place, many users are using code words, misspellings or nicknames to get around the system’s auto filter process. For example, Many payments are made in the amount of $14.88.
The number 1488 is a shorthand among white supremacists to signify their ideology.
Buzzfeed was one of the first to report on the use of Super Chat to monetize racism after white nationalist Christopher Cantwell. Racist commenters will pay top dollar to keep their comments posted up for as long as possible, and its earning YouTubers hundred if not thousands in revenue.
SuperChats are especially popular on Internet Bloodsport streams, where two users have heated live debates. And in the case of Killstream, host Ethan Ralph decided to use this phenomenon for good by enabling his SuperChat feature to donate funds directly to St. Jude’s Hospital.
However, after the show, viewers started getting emails from YouTube saying that their “SuperChat for Good” donations are being refunded.
Ralph had previously been contacted by the Wall Street Journal asking for comment on an upcoming piece about alt-right personalities profiting off of YouTube’s Super Chat Function. In it, The WSJ exposes channels for capitalizing on hate speech, and by default YouTube, which collects 30% of all SuperChat purchases.
The article says: “Mr. Ralph, whose channel had 22,500 subscribers, is one of several far-right YouTube celebrities who have used the Super Chat function to make money. Topics among such users can be wide-ranging, from events like the tragedy in Pittsburgh and the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to critiques of the media and internal debates among members of the far-right online communities.”
Ralph declined to provide a comment for the article, but he definitely was not shy on social media.
He tweeted: “The Wall Street Journal just made sure $26,000+ got taken away from kids with cancer all because they didn’t like a YouTube stream. Get this trending. #WSJKillsKids”
St. Jude’s, however confirmed to the WSJ that they were aware of the donations from the YouTube channel and had arranged to have the funds returned. A spokesperson for the hospital said: “We had no intention of receiving or accepting any of the funds associated with the live stream.”
But that’s not all that happened to Killstream. YouTube also shut down the channel.
A representative from YouTube said: “Hate speech and content that promotes violence is prohibited on YouTube. We have also been working over the last several months to refine our policies on who has access to monetization features and while this work is ongoing, we are dedicated to continuing to improve in the fight against hate online.”
But Ralph didn’t seem too worried. When responding to followers asking for a response video, he tweeted: So, when are you going to be making that video calling out YouTube for kicking us off? Been too busy playing Ark, I guess.
But shutting down a channel, doesn’t mean that YouTuber is gone for good.
The Wall Street Journal noted that even after YouTube suspends or shuts down these channels, the creator often appears as a guest on a like-minded channels until the ban is lifted.
What do you think about alt-right channels profiting from hate speech? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WhatsTrending.