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.
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.
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.”
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. pic.twitter.com/gRqaQguo4o
— TB Joshua (@SCOANTBJoshua) April 15, 2021
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.”