Roku Pulls Racist 'Infowars' After Social Media Backlash
Six months after major social media channels such as YouTube and Twitter banned Alex Jones’ Infowars, Roku, a streaming service, added a channel for the show’s 24 million users. Apparently, there has been a channel for the show on Roku for years, according to Roku spokesman Eric Savitz.
Infowars, a far-right media organization known for its hate speech, has pushed several
conspiracy theories including that former President Barack Obama was the global head of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda. Last week, the website published a story in support of Trump’s border wall called, “#ROOT4THEWALL: It is racist to not support the wall.”
In 2018, Ashley Beckford, Jones’ former employee, who is Black, filed a complaint with the EEOC for hostile environment, along with another employee, of Jewish heritage, for being called names like “The Resident Jew.”
alleged that Jones grabbed her backside while hugging her, saying: “Who wouldn’t want a Black wife” She also said she was called the racial slur “c**n” by management.
Yet Roku looked past all that, with its
all-white male C-Suite executive team and approved the streaming.
Roku subscribers were enraged and a trending hashtag emerged: #boycottroku.
Sleeping Giants, a Twitter account with 200,000 followers aimed at making bigotry and racism less profitable led the movement:
Last night, Roku tweeted the show’s removal, saying they “heard from concerned parties” and agreed to delete the channel:
After the InfoWars channel became available, we heard from concerned parties and have determined that the channel should be removed from our platform. Deletion from the channel store and platform has begun and will be completed shortly.
Roku (@Roku) January 16, 2019
They originally responded to the controversy by saying Infowars wasn’t currently violating its
“While the vast majority of all streaming on our platform is mainstream entertainment, voices on all sides of an issue or cause are free to operate a channel. We do not curate or censor based on viewpointWhile open to many voices, we have policies that prohibit the publication of content that is unlawful, incites illegal activities or violates third-party rights, among other thingsTo our knowledge, InfoWars is not currently in violation of these content policies.”
Gab, a social networking site known as a safe haven for alt-right hate speech and white supremacy, led by founder and CEO Andrew Torba, has since
invited Infowars followers to watch on their site.
Gab was the same site where the Tree of Life Synagogue shooter, who killed 11 people in Pittsburgh, posted his threats.
Reader Question: If Roku has been streaming Infowars for years, what does that say about management