YouTube terminates Gemma O’Doherty’s account over breach of ‘hate speech’ policy

Move comes after video included criticism of ethnic minorities living in Ireland

YouTube has permanently removed failed European parliament candidate Gemma O'Doherty's account for what it says are violations of its policies aimed at protecting against hate speech.

Ms O'Doherty last week posted a video which included criticism of ethnic minorities in Ireland.

The video was removed by YouTube and she was served with a seven-day suspension, which prevented her from uploading new content on her channel, which has more than 26,000 subscribers.

However, she appeared to circumvent the ban by posting a series of new videos under a second account bearing her name with 14,000 subscribers, which is a violation of YouTube’s rules.


A spokeswoman for Google - which owns YouTube - confirmed that both Ms O'Doherty's accounts have been removed for "repeat" breaches of its rules.

“All users agree to comply with our terms of service and community guidelines when they sign up to use YouTube.

“When users violate these policies repeatedly, such as our policies against hate speech and harassment, or our terms prohibiting circumvention of our enforcement measures, we terminate their accounts,” a Google spokeswoman said.

Ms O’Doherty’s most recent videos include a series of live streams which have attracted tens of thousands of views.

They include claims that Irish people will soon be in a minority due to “floods” of migrants as well as criticism of the Irish mainstream media for “covering up” child abuse and trying to destroy Catholicism.

There are also videos with titles such as “time to join the fight to save Ireland” and “the destruction of Catholic Ireland as liberals embrace Islam at every opportunity”.

Any user attempting to access the video she posted last week, which included criticism of ethnic minorities, is met with a YouTube message which states: “This video has been removed for violating YouTube’s policy on hate speech.”

Following the move to terminate her accounts on Tuesday evening, some videos of Ms O’Doherty were still available on YouTube, though these were interviews with her by other users.

It is unclear whether users will be able to re-post her original videos on the video-sharing website. Google said it was not in a position to comment when contacted about this.

Ms O'Doherty's Twitter account - which has more than 28,000 followers - and Facebook page are unaffected by the ban.

However, Ms O’Doherty has complained that she has been regularly “shadow banned” on Twitter, which prevents posts from being shared in other users’ timelines.

She has previously protested outside the European headquarters of Google and Facebook over what she says is censorship and an attack on the right to free speech.

Ms O’Doherty, a freelance journalist, stood as an Independent candidate in the recent European elections where she secured 1.8 per cent of first preference votes.

She also unsuccessfully sought a nomination to stand in last year’s presidential election.

A number of attempts have been made by The Irish Times to speak to Ms O’Doherty, so far without success.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent