YouTube has suspended Rudy Giuliani from participating in its ad revenue sharing program, cutting off one of the ways former president Donald Trump’s personal attorney has been making money from his legions of followers.
The suspension, which YouTube imposed last week and confirmed on Tuesday, came as Dominion Voting Systems sued Giuliani for $1.3 billion, alleging he used his social media posts to make damaging, false claims that the company had engaged in election manipulation.
YouTube’s action doesn’t stop Giuliani from posting new videos or making paid product endorsements in his posts, which he does often. But it prevents him from receiving any money from the ads YouTube sells that run before a video begins to play.
YouTube spokesperson Jessica Gibby confirmed that Giuliani had been suspended from the company’s ad partner program after multiple violations of YouTube’s rules against posting misleading information about the recent presidential election. He is eligible to appeal the suspension after 30 days, she said.
In a text message, Giuliani said YouTube’s actions were “predatory” and “dangerous” and should raise antitrust concerns. “It’s a very, very seductive road to authoritarianism,” he wrote.
For more than a year, Giuliani has used YouTube to push a variety of Trump-friendly positions, posting videos whose titles include “The Biden Crime Family’s Payoff Scheme” and “Election Theft of the Century.” Some of his videos also pushed false conspiracy theories about the coronavirus.
Giuliani’s YouTube provides a massive platform from the former New York mayor to broadcast his views. Giuliani’s YouTube channel has more than 500,000 subscribers and some of his videos have garnered more than 100 million views over the past year, though in recent weeks his viewership has been down, with the most popular of his videos posted in the last month receiving only 1.2 million views.
It’s unclear how much money Giuliani might have made from YouTube’s revenue sharing program. Some of the biggest YouTube stars make millions of dollars a year on the platform, but most have endorsement deals and solicit donations directly from fans in addition to taking a cut of ads. Giuliani also made money from hawking dietary supplements and online fraud prevention services directly to his audience in the middle of his videos. Giuliani’s social media influencer business extends to Facebook and Instagram, where he often posts endorsements and product discount codes.
On Jan. 20, Giuliani said several of his videos had been taken down by social media companies. He re-uploaded them to his own website, using the Rumble video hosting platform, popular with conservatives who claim Big Tech is censoring them. He posted the link to his Twitter.