Right-wing podcaster and commentator Dan Bongino has been penalised by YouTube for posting a video calling masks “useless” against Covid.
The former Secret Service agent, who has nearly 870,000 subscribers on YouTube, has been removed for the time being from the YouTube Partner Program, which allows him to monetise his videos through advertising.
He’s also been suspended from posting new videos on the site for a week. If he further violates the company’s bans on Covid misinformation, he could lose the channel altogether.
“We removed a video for violating our policies on COVID-19 misinformation, specifically for comments that masks are useless, resulting in a first strike on the channel,” a YouTube spokesperson told The Daily Beast.
On Friday, the Bongino Report, one of Mr Bongino ventures, shared an image of an expletive-laced email he sent to YouTube responding to the suspensions, calling the site a “s*** platform.”
“If I said I was surprised here I’d be lying,” the message reads. “We knew it was just a matter of time before the tyrannical, free-speech hating, bullshit, big tech s***hole you work for would try to silence us.”
The conservative host vowed to continue posting about “why masks have been totally ineffective in stopping this pandemic,” signing off the message, “Respectfully Kiss My A**.”
The Independent has contacted Mr Bongino for comment.
Despite being immunocompromised and vaccinated against Covid himself, Mr Bongino has railed against Covid safety measures like masks and vaccine mandates, calling the latter “totalitarian” in a recent interview with The New Yorker.
He has frequently battled media outlets on hot-button issues like Covid, free speech, and the 6 January insurrection at the US Capitol.
Mr Bongino once threatened to leave Cumulus Media, which syndicates his radio show, over the company’s vaccine mandate, proclaiming at the time, “I don’t believe this is based on any science.” He later relented and returned to air.
The provocative host has financial interests in a number of alternative media sites with looser content rules, including video site Rumble, where he has around 2 million subscribers.
He’s also an investor in Parler, an alternative social media site popular with Trump supporters, where users sometimes posted encouraging violence and crime. The app has grown quickly, but was removed from app stores and Amazon’s web hosting service at the beginning of this year, a move which Mr Bongino blamed on “the communists at Apple and Amazon and Google.”
Following the 6 January US Capitol riot, Mr Bongino was suspended from Twitter for posting a video of former President Trump which included false claims of voter fraud. The host later left the platform, claiming, “Twitter needs me. I don’t need Twitter.”