Video streaming platform YouTube has been accused of running anti-LGBTQ+ advertisements alongside content by queer creators.
An advertisement by the American-based group Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian organisation who advocate and fund on the issues of “religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family”, has been appearing before several videos across YouTube, including content by LGBTQ+ content creators.
The advertisement for the organisation comes in the form of an appeal by florist Baronette Stutzman. At 4 and a half minutes long, the advert follows Baronette’s on-screen appeal to her right to religious freedom and freedom of expression. She goes on to tell viewers that after being asked to arrange flowers for same-sex couple Rob and Kurt’s wedding, she declines on the grounds of religious belief.
Although she would “gladly sell prearranged flowers or loose flowers” she could not do the wedding because of her “relationship with Jesus Christ”. Baronelle goes on to say that “marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman” and that she “could not create something to celebrate an event that was totally against [her] faith”.
YouTuber Shannon Taylor posted the video after it appeared before one of her videos:
Hey @TeamYouTube do you mind explaining why I’m receiving LITERAL ANTI-LGBT organization advertisements now? (Yep, with a donation link)
I thought the whole point was to keep the site “non-political” & the videos “advertised friendly”.
What even is this garbage? pic.twitter.com/uJLoOjaxrw
— Shannon Taylor (@HeyThereImShan) May 29, 2018
Baronette reveals that after deciding not to arrange the flowers for Rob and Kurt’s wedding, she was contacted by the government and attorney general, who threaten to sue her business for discrimination unless she agrees to design floral arrangements for same-sex weddings. The florist says that “I can’t use a gift god gave me to violate my relationship with him” and ultimately leaves viewers with the question: “Rob and Kurt have the freedom to live their lives according to their beliefs. Should I not have that same right too?”
Rob and Kurt have the freedom to live their lives according to their beliefs. Should I not have that same right too?
Users on Twitter have noted that the video has been appearing before content by creators like Buzzfeed, PewDiePie, Dodie Clarke, Phillip DeFranco and late-night political talk show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has classified Alliance Defending Freedom as an anti-LGBT organisation, listing them as a hate group in 2010. Founded in 1977, the organisation is also known for openly opposing pornography and abortion.
The advertisement has appeared before videos by Chase Ross, a transgender YouTuber who discusses his transition from female to male on his channel uppercaseCHASE1. Ross said, “This started up the conversation with other LGBT+ YouTubers, and we all realized our videos had anti-LGBT ads placed on them.” The video has also appeared before content by LGBTQ+ creator Gabbi Dunne, whose videos feature discussions on bisexuality and polyamory.
YouTube has yet to come forward with a statement on the matter.
© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.