Former Trump official Sebastian Gorka banned from YouTube over election conspiracy theories

It wasn't playing Imagine Dragons that caused the ban hammer to drop this time — just more Trump conspiracy theory

Published April 13, 2021 6:22PM (EDT)

Sebastian Gorka   (Getty/Alex Wong)
Sebastian Gorka (Getty/Alex Wong)

Former Trump White House senior adviser turned right-wing radio host Sebastian Gorka was permanently booted off of YouTube over the weekend after receiving his third strike on the platform in 90 days for touting unhinged election conspiracy theories. 

Gorka's channel was suspended for misleading users on the platform by pushing the baseless claim that the 2020 election was plagued with widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election. Salon found the infamous Trump flack, formerly accused of wearing Hungarian pro-Nazi regalia, was pushing voter fraud claims as recently as last week in a video entitled: "Can We Stop the Next Steal?"

YouTube spokesperson Ivy Choi told Salon on Monday afternoon that Gorka's channel, where he has live-streamed his "America First" Salem radio show, was terminated over "repeated violations" to the company's "presidential election integrity policy": 

In accordance with our long-standing strikes system, we terminated the channel America First with Sebastian Gorka for repeated violations of our presidential election integrity policy. As we've publicly shared, our presidential election integrity policy prohibits content uploaded after last year's safe harbor deadline that alleges widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Any channel that violates this policy will receive a strike, and channels that receive three strikes in the same 90-day period are permanently removed from YouTube, as in the case of America First with Sebastian Gorka.

Gorka didn't return numerous requests for comment from Salon. Salem Media Group, which syndicates Gorka's radio show, also did not return Salon's request for comment. This reporter, until now an avid viewer of Gorka's channel, can only imagine that the onetime White House aide is disappointed. Gorka would frequently brag to his producers whenever he noted a few hundred concurrent viewers watching via YouTube.

Fellow conservative radio host Dan Bongino leapt to Gorka's defense by promoting the latter's channel on Rumble (a conservative-oriented alternative to YouTube) on his daily podcast. "My friend Sebastian Gorka has been targeted by YouTube; they are trying to take his channel down, one of many conservatives under attack by YouTube," Bongino said on his Monday program. "Go check him out on Rumble. ... I feel like what they are doing to him is disgusting."

This isn't the first time Gorka has run into problems with YouTube. In 2019, he was temporarily suspended from the platform because he "refused to stop playing songs from pop-rock band Imagine Dragons on episodes of his radio show that were later uploaded to the site," according to The Daily Beast. The apparent copyright dispute was later resolved, and Gorka subsequently stopped playing music on his YouTube live streams.

But when not on Twitter blocking 16,000 "asshats" or hosting his radio show, the EcoBoost Mustang-driving onetime Trump adviser also hosts a new Sunday night Newsmax show called "The Gorka Reality Check," which recently received a less-than-flattering review in Politico:

Routinized Songs of Praise for President Donald Trump would be a good title for the Gorka TV hour-long show, which debuted on Sunday at 7 p.m. The program, shot cheaply on a no-budget set in front of a Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument screen, consumed its first quarter-hour extolling Trump and Trumpism in the grandest and blandest terms possible ...

There is at least one obvious downside to Gorka's YouTube ban from the platform: Viewers will be denied Canadian prankster Chris James' imaginative efforts to troll the self-professed terrorism expert, whose PhD has been described as "about as legitimate as if he had been awarded it by Trump University."

By Zachary Petrizzo

Zachary Petrizzo was an investigative reporter at Salon. Follow him on Twitter @ZTPetrizzo.

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Dan Bongino Elections Reporting Rumble Sebastian Gorka Social Media Tech Youtube