YouTube should have demonetized Peterson a long time ago. Why haven’t they?
Jordan Peterson has been downplaying climate change like it’s his job. Because, well, it kind of is.
Despite having literally zero expertise on the subject, Peterson has decided he’s qualified to tell the world his thoughts on climate science. His embarrassing commentary — like when he said there’s “no such thing as climate,” — is so laughable, it can be easy to forget it’s dangerous.
It’s also profitable.
As environmental journalism outlet DeSmog reported, Peterson has been platforming climate deniers on his YouTube channel where he entertains their false and torqued claims. Then, thanks to Google, he pockets the ad revenue.
Using a monetization verification tool and source code scanning what Check My Ads found was disappointing but not surprising. Peterson's climate videos are all raking in advertiser dollars.
While watching these videos, we saw ads from companies like Wayfair, Athletic Greens, Michaels, and even Broadway Across Canada’s production of Hairspray.
Correct us if we’re wrong, but we doubt furniture companies and craft stores want their brand associated with climate change denial.
In 2021, Google announced a policy prohibiting YouTube creators from monetizing content that “contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change.”
“This includes content referring to climate change as a hoax or a scam, claims denying that long-term trends show the global climate is warming, and claims denying that greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change.”
Peterson hasn’t just done that once. He does it all the time.
Here are times Peterson blatantly broke that policy:
July 13, 2023: Sacrificing the Poor to NOT Save the Planet | Robert Bryce
Jan 16, 2023: Unsettled: Climate and Science | Dr. Steven Koonin
Dec. 8, 2022: The Great Climate Con | Alex Epstein
Oct. 18, 2021: Apocalypse Never? | Michael Shellenberger
In response to a New York Times investigation, a YouTube spokesperson explained that while the company allows “policy debate or discussions of climate-related initiatives,” it removes ads from content that “crosses the line to climate change denial.”
Sure, Jan. Scroll up.
Peterson is making a lot of money off these videos. While we don’t know for sure exactly how much he’s making, we can guess.
Here’s the math: YouTube’s revenue per 1,000 views can vary wildly — from about $0.50 to $20.
Even if we use the low end of this range, $3 per 1,000 views, we can see that Peterson has raked in more than $13,000 to date from the five videos we mention in this article.
If his revenue-per-1,000-views hits the high end of the range, he could be making more than $85,000 off those videos alone.
Peterson may be making more off five climate denial YouTube videos than the average American makes in a year. That doesn’t seem right, does it?
Just to be clear, there are a lot of reasons to block Peterson from your media buy.
There’s the time he said “socially-enforced” monogamy would reduce male violence. Sounds like he read The Handmaid's Tale and rooted for Gilead.
There’s also the nonstop transphobia.
Peterson violates a lot of Google’s publisher policies.
But Google is bending over backwards not to demonetize Peterson’s channel, and that puts advertisers on the line for their ads on some of the most toxic content on the platform.
For now, advertisers who don’t want their videos showing up next to someone questioning the consensus on man-made climate change will have to manually block the following family of YouTube channels:
We’ve made it easy for you. Just follow these steps.