A gay content creator’s impassioned viral thread forces YouTube to de-monetize a conservative commentator.

A Bloomberg investigation of YouTube last April found that videos produced for an extreme, alt-right audience are just as popular as music, sports, and gaming on the platform.

These channels allow for the rampant spread of misinformation, hate speech, and harassment.Carlos Maza, host of "Strikethrough" a Vox-produced YouTube show that explores the challenges facing the news media in the age of Trump, perfectly illustrated the cycle of abuse in a recent tweet thread.

Maza knows the cycle first-hand because he has been targeted by conservative YouTuber Steven Crowder who routinely refers to Maza by derogatory terms such as "anchor baby" and "lispy queer."

Maza says that Crowder's comments have resulted in a "a wall of homophobic [and] racist abuse on Instagram and Twitter."

After repeatedly flagging Crowder's YouTube videos and receiving zero response, Maza took to Twitter to vent his frustration.


Note: Crowder's shirts say Socialism is For F-gs" with a picture of a fig that resembles an "a" and a photo of Che Guevara making a limp-wristed gesture. It appears to be an attempt at humor.



After the tweet thread went viral, YouTube responded by announcing it would investigate Crowder's channel.

Crowder responded to the investigation by condemning those who have harassed Maza. "I have always condemned and continue to discourage any and all forms of doxxing or targeted harassment of anyone online, ok?" he said in a video response.

But he defended calling him a "lispy queer" because "it's funny and this is a comedy show" and because Maza refers to himself as queer.

Crowder's defense is disingenuous because there's a big difference between using the term queer to refer to someone's sexual orientation versus using it as an insult. His defense is tougher to believe when he uses the term "fag" to disparage people.

Crowder also claimed that the investigation was a form of corporate censorship and an attempt by YouTube to please NBC, a Vox Media investor.

Maza responded to Crowder by calling his assertions "batshit."

Six days after Maza's tweet thread, on June 5, YouTube de-monetized Crowder's show with a caveat, it would reinstate monetization if Crowder stopped linking to his "Socialism is for f-gs" T-shirts.

Maza responded by saying that YouTube's real issue is giving Crowder a platform, not whether he makes money off the site.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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