Watchdog Finds Big Brands Running Ads On Anti-LGBTQ+ YouTube Channels

A new report from global corporate watchdog group Eko asserts that more than 100 major brands are supporting anti-LGBTQ+ groups with ads appearing next to YouTube videos in far-right hate channels.

The report acknowledges that the brands are likely unaware of these placements, but argues they should be exerting pressure on YouTube to do more to monitor and enforce adherence to its own guidelines.

Researchers from Eko identified a sample of 13 monetized videos that appear to be in violation of YouTube’s Community Guidelines and advertiser-friendly guidelines, found on channels that have been identified by monitoring groups as promoting LGBTQ+ hate content.



Ads from 125 well-known brands were featured in a range of extremist videos, including ones labellng transgender people as “demons” and “pedophiles” and advocating their mass arrest, according to the report.

The advertisers included at least 104 that actively position themselves as LGBTQ+ allies, such as Lyft, CoverGirl, Nike and L’Oréal.

The researchers cross-referenced the content of each video against YouTube’s guidelines to assess whether the content would prohibit monetization, such as slurs or stereotypes that promote hatred, targeted misgendering, dehumanizing and conspiratorial claims, and calls for violence.

The content observed on the videos identified in the research was classified under Google’s advertiser content policy by Eko researchers under several categories: inappropriate language, violence, shocking content, hateful and derogatory content, controversial issues, inappropriate content for kids and families, and incendiary and demeaning.

The findings “underscore significant failings in YouTube’s monetization and moderation systems, as well as reputational and business risks to some of the world’s biggest brands,” says the report. It calls on advertisers to take a stand against “funding hate and disinformation” by demanding access to detailed information about ad placements and enforcing brand-safety standards in business contracts.

Eko, which is a registered 501(c)4 social welfare nonprofit, is demanding that YouTube bolster moderation and demonetize harmful channels, and is also lobbying U.S. policymakers to  require greater transparency from platforms.

During the research, conducted between Aug. 24 and Sept. 26, the videos were viewed 9.59 million times and uploaded by channels, with a collective 17.8 million followers, that regularly promote anti-LGBTQ+ hate, harassment and disinformation. The channels collectively earn up to $12.45 million annually through monetization, according to Social Blade data employed for the report.

On Tuesday, Eko plans to install a large billboard outside of Ad Week naming big brands whose ads were found next to LGBTQ+ hate speech in YouTube videos.

Media Daily News has reached out to YouTube for comment, and will update this report if a reply is received.

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