YouTube shook up the far-right internet last month when it banned InfoWars chief Alex Jones from its platform, cutting the internet’s leading conspiracy theorist off from millions of viewers.
But YouTube’s crackdown on hate speech has mostly spared another, even more extreme channel that promotes hate: Sweden-based Red Ice TV.
Since it started as a conspiracy theory outlet in 2003, Red Ice grown into one of the racist alt-right’s leading voices on the internet, amassing nearly 230,000 followers on the site. But the channel remain on YouTube, with few restrictions on how YouTube users can find their videos in search or via recommendation algorithms.
Led by husband-and-wife team Henrik Palmgren and Lana Lokteff, Red Ice has become a gateway to other racist media, including neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer.
YouTube kicked Jones off its platform for violating the site’s rules against hate speech, among other things, but Red Ice regularly promotes hate against immigrants and Jews, riling up its listeners with claims that white people are under facing extinction at hands of minority groups.
Red Ice videos with names like “They Want You Dead, White Man!” have received more than 100,000 views each. In another video, Red Ice promoted a Google Chrome plug-in called “(((Coincidence Detector))),” which added the anti-Semitic “echo parentheses” to Jewish names on websites. In Red Ice’s YouTube description of the video, they said the plug-in would help users find “chosenites.”
In addition, Lokteff declared in a video that interracial relationships were the result of “dirty propaganda” and that media portrayals of them are “more devious than blatant, in-your-face mass murdering.” Lokteff said in another YouTube that she wants minorities to be a “smaller percentage of the population” in majority-white countries. Lokteff has also called for white nationalists to become public school teachers “and just start taking over those places.”
The group also has extensive ties to both European and America white nationalists, including Richard Spencer and the head of white nationalist group Identity Europa, and regularly interviews extremist leaders.
YouTube and Red Ice didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Lokteff, an American who has declared that the United States can “never, ever, ever be too white,” has become the leading face for female activists on the alt-right. And in a subculture where even top figures are often reduced to broadcasting via grainy bedroom livestreams, Red Ice stands out for the slicker production values that make its content more palatable to people who already radicalized.
“It doesn’t sound like crap most of the time, which makes them a favorite,” said Keegan Hankes, a senior research analyst at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project.
Red Ice’s successful YouTube account is key to the outlet’s success, according to Hankes. When YouTube “limited” a few Red Ice videos, a punishment that makes it impossible to monetize the videos and harder to find through recommendation algorithms ,Red Ice panicked, said Hankes.
“When they first started getting videos put in the limited state by YouTube, they were apoplectic,” Hankes said.
YouTube has belatedly cracked down on at least one other Red Ice video this week, albeit only after being pressured via a viral Twitter thread.
On Sunday, Media Matters researcher Talia Lavin highlighted the Red Ice video that claims white women were being “pushed” into interracial relationships, pointing out that it earned more than 500,000 views on YouTube.
Red Ice’s founders complained on Twitter that Lavin’s thread had inspired a wave of content reports about their videos. With YouTube pressured over hosting the interracial dating video, the platform put the video into “limited” mode, adding a content warning to the clip.
Still, the Red Ice channel and many of its videos remain on YouTube, apparently not in a limited state and poised to push more viewers into white nationalism.
“One of their goals is to reach people who are maybe curious, and radicalize them further to the right and get them to embrace white nationalism,” Mayo said.