YouTube has suspended the church channel of Nigerian televangelist TB Joshua for violating its hate speech policies.
The move comes weeks after an investigation by the BBC and Open Democracy revealed evidence of widespread sexual abuse and torture carried out by the preacher. Emmanuel TV played an important role in his rise from a local pastor to an international star.
TB Joshua died in 2021, but his Synagogue Church of All Nations (Scoan) is now led by his wife Evelyn Joshua. The church has not said anything about his removal, but it has said that the previous allegations of those mistakes were “unfounded”. Emmanuel TV had over half a million followers on YouTube and hundreds of millions of views.
This is the second time in three years that his YouTube channel has been suspended, following previous violations of the platform’s community guidelines. As part of an investigation by the BBC, OpenDemocracy analyzed Emmanuel TV’s online presence, and found at least 50 “insulting” videos on YouTube.
Their team reported the videos to YouTube and the account was suspended on January 29. In a comment to the BBC, the Google-owned video sharing platform said Emmanuel TV “has been suspended for breaching… hate speech policies”.
TB Joshua was famous for his “healing” services and recorded hundreds of services that claimed to show him healing the physically disabled and chronically ill – which many former members of the church have denied. Open Democracy’s reported content includes Emmanuel TV’s images of people with mental health problems in chains, cases of medical misinformation and examples of smear campaigns against women who spoke out about TB Joshua’s sexual abuse.
The Emmanuel TV satellite channel was launched on 17 January by MultiChoice, the South African company that operates the popular satellite services DStv and GOTv. For years, the channel was one of the most successful Christian networks in the world, broadcasting to millions of people worldwide.
Following the publication of the BBC investigation into TB Joshua, several contributors have been banned from church and Emmanuel TV online accounts. These accounts were also reported to YouTube by openDemocracy, but have not been removed. YouTube and other social media platforms have come under intense scrutiny in recent years for their online security policies.