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YouTube Suspends T.B Joshua’s Channel Over Gay Exorcism Videos

T.B Joshua

T.B Joshua | Image: Pinterest

Popular Nigerian televangelist T.B Joshua‘s YouTube Channel “Emmanuel TV” has been suspended by the video-sharing platform for violating its “hate speech” policies.

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The channel, which had more than 1.8 million subscribers, was shutdown on April 12 after openDemocracy, UK-based rights group, filed a complaint after reviewing seven videos posted on TB Joshua Ministries’ YouTube channel between 2016 and 2020, which show the preacher conducting prayers to “cure” gay people.

T.B Joshua

YouTube: Mary Okoye (centre) watches while T.B Joshua strikes her partner. | Screengrab

In one of the offending videos, which has been watched more than 1.5 million times, Joshua slaps and pushes a woman named Okoye and another unnamed woman, whom he refers to as Okoye’s “wife” at least 16 times. Then he tells Okoye: “There is a spirit disturbing you. She has transplanted herself into you. It is the spirit of woman.”

This scene, which appears in a video uploaded to YouTube in April 2018, then changes to events a week later. Okoye testifies has been delivered from the “spirit of woman”. She added that she no longer have affection for women and “now I have affections for men”.

openDemocracy enquired from YouTube whether the channel’s content violated its community guidelines.

A YouTube spokesperson told openDemocracy that the channel had been closed because its policy “prohibits content which alleges that someone is mentally ill, diseased, or inferior because of their membership in a protected group including sexual orientation”.

T.B Joshua also confirmed that the channel has been suspended. He however maintained that “we strongly oppose all forms of hate speech! We have had a long and fruitful relationship with YouTube and believe this decision was made in haste.”

Facebook also told openDemocracy that it took some actions against the preacher’s page which has more than 5.6 million followers. A Facebook company spokesperson, the social media platform has “removed a number of pieces of content from this page for violating these policies”.

“We don’t allow attacks against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, including content promoting conversion therapy services,” the spokesperson said. “We take attacks on the LGBT+ community incredibly seriously and encourage people to report this kind of content when they see it so we can investigate.”

Reacting to the suspension, Daina Rudusa, spokesperson for OutRight Action International, the global LGBTIQ human rights organisation said: “It is great to see social media platforms take a greater role in tackling these harmful practices by banning accounts spouting hate speech and promoting conversion practices. So-called conversion therapy is neither therapy, nor does it result in conversion and it has been recognised as being tantamount to torture.”

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