YouTube is allowing right-wing and otherwise controversial streamers to use its platform to push audiences to their extreme content on Rumble, where they spread hateful rhetoric and misinformation and host extremists who are banned from YouTube.
Rumble is a video-streaming platform that has become an alternative to YouTube by allowing hateful and extreme content to thrive. The platform has recruited a cadre of content creators — many of whom are right-wing male pundits — to post at least some of their content exclusively on Rumble.
Streamers, including some of these “Rumble Exclusives” creators, often begin a stream on multiple platforms, including YouTube, before airing exclusive content on Rumble. Some tease that the subsequent Rumble-exclusive streams will include discussions of “forbidden” topics, seemingly trying to pique the curiosity of the larger YouTube audience and push them to Rumble, where they have fewer subscribers but there is less content moderation.
Media Matters has also found that some of these YouTube videos are monetized — meaning that the platform is profiting from them.
On YouTube, the misogynistic Fresh & Fit podcast urged its nearly 1.5 million subscribers to watch Rumble streams that included antisemitic and racist content:
- Myron Gaines and Walter Weekes’ misogynistic Fresh & Fit podcast platformed white nationalist Nick Fuentes on July 7 on YouTube (which has banned him) and encouraged listeners to watch the rest of the stream on Rumble. The hosts also teased the conversation, saying they would talk about some of Nick’s “more controversial views” and other more fringe topics.
- YouTube allowed the video to remain on its platform until July 10 even though Fuentes said during the stream that he does not “like race mixing” and that “women shouldn't be getting educated.” The show has 1.45 million subscribers on YouTube and over 200,000 followers on Rumble, and the YouTube video garnered nearly 200,000 views before it was removed.
- YouTube allowed the podcast to link to the Rumble stream in the video description. The YouTube video also linked to Fuentes’ Telegram account and to Cozy.TV, a streaming platform that Fuentes launched in 2021, which he describes as “anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-Black, antisemitic.” Fuentes discusses his misogynist, racist, and antisemitic views even more openly on those two platforms. The Fresh & Fit hosts also repeatedly promoted Fuentes and his far-right platforms during the stream.
- Right before switching to streaming exclusively on Rumble on July 7, Gaines let the audience know that once there, they were “going to get into the Juliet Quebec, if you guys know what I'm talking about. Juliet Quebec coming up,” alluding to the “JQ” or “Jewish Question.” After transitioning over to the Rumble stream (whose title mentions that Fuentes “answers the JQ!”), one of the hosts immediately celebrated by shouting an anti-LGBTQ slur. They then set up Fuentes to fully launch into his antisemitic, white nationalist views. The Rumble stream, which went on for another hour and a half, has accumulated nearly 350,000 views on Rumble thus far.
- During another stream on July 10, Fresh & Fit’s hosts and guests teased the upcoming Rumble portion of the stream, when Fuentes and far-right ally Sneako would appear. In the intro to the show, host Myron said that “Rumble is the savior here.” Sneako, who apparently introduced Gaines to Fuentes, has also been banned from YouTube. Fuentes and Sneako joined the show soon after the hosts ended the YouTube stream and continued exclusively on Rumble, and the full group immediately launched into debating the “JQ.”
- At the beginning of Fresh & Fit’s July 12 stream on YouTube, hosts and initial guest Jon Zherka, a deeply misogynistic streamer, teased the subsequent Rumble portion of the stream and made comments about what YouTube would and would not allow. In both the video and the video title, Fuentes and Sneako are referred to as “the FORBIDDEN ones," who would be joining once the stream transitioned to exclusively Rumble. During the intro to the show, which was streamed on YouTube, Zherka seemingly shouted “Exodia,” referencing a Yu-Gi-Oh character known as a “forbidden” character, while simultaneously throwing his right arm into what appeared to be the Sieg Heil salute, a seeming nod to Sneako and Fuentes’ extreme and “forbidden” beliefs. YouTube profited from this stream, which was monetized.
Russell Brand and other “Rumble Exclusives” content creators regularly funnel their audience from YouTube to their more extreme content on Rumble
- Russell Brand, who hosts a daily news commentary show for Rumble, with only portions of the stream airing on YouTube, regularly encourages his viewers to watch him on Rumble so they can hear him talk “without fear of censorship or strikes or any of that stuff.” He frequently uses this tactic to tease discussions of topics that he knows will be in violation of YouTube’s guidelines on COVID-19 misinformation; he has already received a strike from YouTube for violating those rules.
- In one video on YouTube, Brand touted his Rumble-exclusive content as full of conspiracy theories. Describing his Rumble content, Brand told viewers that if they’re watching on YouTube or Twitter, “we’re going to have to leave you now, because we’re about to talk about something so controversial, and you are going to love it. I’m telling you, you're going to want to join us on Rumble. There's a link in the description. There are conspiracy theories, and then there's the mother of all conspiracy theories. There are territories that not even Alex Jones and David Icke dare not traverse for fear of the cluster bombs that accrue. We’re going to tell you stuff that is going to make your knickers go all unusual.” Brand’s show often features right-wing figures and conspiracy theories.
- After being suspended from YouTube for letting notorious conspiracy theorist Alex Jones guest-host his show, Steven Crowder — another creator contracted with Rumble — declared that he doesn’t “really want to be on YouTube” before saying Rumble is “the replatforming space.” On YouTube, Crowder's stream regularly flashes a graphic when his show is “not safe for YouTube” that encourages his audience to watch on Rumble.
- After receiving a second content strike from YouTube, Crowder called for an “exodus” from YouTube to his Rumble channel, claiming he will be banned “if we do anything that, you know, is even remotely fun.” Crowder also teased that “it’s cultural appropriation month, which we would not dare risk doing on YouTube.”
- Glenn Greenwald, a right-wing commentator and “Rumble Exclusives” creator who frequently parrots right-wing conspiracy theories, streams roughly 10 minutes of his daily news show on YouTube before abruptly ending it and pushing his audience to watch the rest on Rumble. His Rumble content features repeated defenses of prolific vaccine misinformer and 2024 presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and white nationalist former Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.