Technology

YouTube suspends ads on Tommy Robinson channel

Tommy Robinson Image copyright PA
Image caption Mr Robinson said the ad suspension amounted to censorship

YouTube has suspended adverts on the account of former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson.

Mr Robinson had broken the site's advertising rules, said YouTube, adding that his channel covered "controversial issues and sensitive events".

The decision means the channel, which has 270,000 subscribers, will not earn revenue when people watch the videos.

Mr Robinson denied they contained any "hateful" content and said he was the victim of "continued censorship".

'Derogatory and disparaging'

The video most recently posted to the channel shows Mr Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, punching a migrant on an Italian street and includes references to a "rape jihad phenomenon".

YouTube said it believed in freedom of expression but also had a duty to protect viewers from "derogatory and disparaging" content.

The decision comes a day after YouTube removed adverts for anti-Islamic group Britain First from its site, saying they breached its advertising rules prohibiting "hatred, intolerance or discrimination".

A Britain First representative said: "Britain First is at present suing Facebook in Belfast for political discrimination. Once that case is resolved, in February, we will launch proceedings against YouTube for their politically motivated censorship."

'Coffers plump'

Campaign group Hope Not Hate said social media companies had been "too slow" when responding to reports of hate speech.

"Lennon and others in the far right are utterly reliant on social media and crowdfunding platforms to keep their coffers plump," it said.

In November, PayPal announced it would no longer process payments for Mr Robinson, saying he had broken its policy on acceptable use.

In May, Mr Robinson, 35, was jailed for contempt of court. The 13-month sentence sparked a series of #freetommy protests. The conviction was later quashed after procedural concerns.

The case has now been referred to the attorney general.

In March 2018, Mr Robinson was banned from Twitter. It is understood that his account was suspended for breaking its "hateful conduct policy".

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