Prophet T.B Joshua’s YouTube account has been suspended over some videos shared on the channel.
Premium Times had reported that between 2016 and January 2020, the channel posted at least seven clips showing the charismatic Christian televangelist engaging in violent exorcism to ‘cure’ gay and lesbian congregants of their sexual orientation by casting out “the demon of homosexuality”.
YouTube suspended the channel which had more than 1.8 million subscribers on April 12, after openDemocracy contacted it to ask whether some of the contents violated the platform’s community guidelines.
A YouTube spokesperson told openDemocracy;
“YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit hate speech and we remove flagged videos and comments that violate these policies. In this case we have terminated the channel.
“YouTube prohibits content which alleges that someone is mentally ill, diseased, or inferior because of their membership in a protected group including sexual orientation.”
Daina Rudusa, spokesperson for OutRight Action International, the global LGBTIQ human rights organisation also 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.”
It was also learnt that Facebook took action against some of T.B Joshua’s contents. Unlike YouTube which suspended the ministries’ entire channel, Facebook said it “removed a number of pieces of content from this page for violating these policies”.
Facebook company spokesperson said;
“We don’t allow attacks against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, including content promoting conversion therapy services.
“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.”
When openDemocracy asked TB Joshua Ministries to comment on its pastor’s actions towards LGBT people, and on its YouTube channel being terminated for hate speech, the ministry did not respond. However, it has launched a social media campaign to contest the decision which it claims was “made in haste.”
TB Joshua however confirmed that his YouTube channel was suspended in a tweet he shared. He wrote;
EMMANUEL TV YOUTUBE SUSPENSION: Our mission is to share the love of God with everyone – irrespective of race or religion – and 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.
On Facebook, he urged his church members to raise their concerns over his channel’s suspension on other social media platforms.
TB Joshua wrote;
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT: Emmanuel TV YouTube Channel Suspension!!!
Emmanuel TV’s mission is to share the love of God with everyone – irrespective of race or religion – and 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. We appreciate your prayers and support as we are making every effort to appeal this decision and see the channel restored.