A group of YouTube video-makers is suing it and parent company Google, claiming both discriminate against LGBT-themed videos and their creators.
The group claims YouTube restricts advertising on LGBT videos and limits their reach and discoverability.
But YouTube said sexual orientation and gender identity played no role in deciding whether videos could earn ad revenue or appear in search results.
A group is hoping a jury will hear its case in California.
The legal action makes a wide range of claims, including that YouTube:
- removes advertising from videos featuring “trigger words” such as “gay” or “lesbian”
- often labels LGBT-themed videos as “sensitive” or “mature” and restricts them from appearing in search results or recommendations
- does not do enough to filter harassment and hate speech in the comments section
It was filed by a group of video-makers from the US, including:
- singer Bria Kam and actor Chrissy Chambers, who run a joint YouTube channel with more than 850,000 subscribers
- Amp Somers, who produces sex education videos
- Chase Ross, who documents his experiences as a transgender man
- Lindsay Amer, who produces LGBT-themed educational videos
The legal action also claims Google refused to let the creators of a show called GNews! advertise their programme, because it contained “shocking” content.
In a phone call heard by BBC News, one Google ad representative told the programme’s producers that “sexuality content about the gays” broke its advertising rules.