Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Thursday tweeted a defense of Steven Crowder, the conservative YouTuber criticized for his homophobic, slur-filled videos that sparked a yearslong harassment campaign against Vox journalist Carlos Maza.
Cruz joined other conservatives in arguing that YouTube’s decision to temporarily “demonetize” Crowder on the platform for what YouTube called “egregious actions” is a free-speech issue.
“This is nuts,” tweeted Cruz, his second of the morning. “YouTube needs to explain why @scrowder is banned, but @iamsambee (“Ivanka is a feckless c***.”) & @JimCarrey (“look at my pretty picture of Gov. Kay Ivey being murdered in the womb”) aren’t. No coherent standard explains it. Here’s an idea: DON’T BLACKLIST ANYBODY.”
Earlier, Cruz demanded that YouTube “stop playing God & silencing those voices you disagree with.”
“This will not end well,” he added.
Cruz’s tweets raise eyebrows for several reasons, not the least of which being that Crowder ― who boasts 3.8 million subscribers on YouTube ― wasn’t banned from YouTube. In fact, the “demonetization” of the ads that YouTube announced isn’t much more than a slap on the wrist.
One step for Crowder to reinstate his status, YouTube said, was to remove links to his merchandise that reads “Socialism is for Fags.” His vile videos would be allowed to remain, and Crowder himself would be allowed to continue making them.
Meanwhile, Maza is still being harassed online, as conservatives like Cruz and Ben Shapiro decry YouTube for enforcing its terms of service against a man who has described Maza as a “lispy queer,” a “gay Mexican” and an “anchor baby,” among other hateful mockery. Each of Crowder’s videos and tweets, Maza said, lead to more harassment.
A U.S. senator is coming to the defense of someone who spent two years calling me a “lispy queer.”
They do this because they know that @YouTube cares more about looking fair to right-wingers than it does about stopping hate speech and harassment. https://t.co/c7Fp1oOGWr
— Carlos Maza (@gaywonk) June 6, 2019
YouTube on Wednesday announced it would start removing videos and demonetizing accounts run in the name of white supremacy and extremism (though, given its treatment of Maza, YouTube appears unlikely to enforce that rule).
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.