Popular Nigerian televangelist, Prophet TB Joshua has urged his followers to “pray for YouTube” for shutting down his account after he posted videos on his channel claiming to ‘cure’ gay members of his congregation of their sexuality.
“I got to know what happened to YouTube when I saw the viewers complaining… I want you to help me pray for YouTube… Don’t see them the other way around; see them as friends. We need to be strong,” T.B. Joshua said in a sermon posted on the ministry’s Facebook page at the weekend”.
A media rights group based in the UK, told CNN that it sent a message to YouTube on April 8 asking if the conversion therapy videos did not violate its policies.
Youtube explained by saying;
“We noticed at least seven videos. In one video, T.B. Joshua slapped a woman and her partner whom he called her ‘second’ (partner) at least 16 times,” said Lydia Namubiru, OpenDemocracy’s Africa Editor.”He said he was casting the ‘spirit of woman’ out of her,” Namubiru said as she narrated the content of the footage flagged to YouTube and Facebook by her organization. The woman later told Joshua that she no longer felt affection for her partner because of his intervention, Namubiru said.
The video has been watched more than 1.5 million times on TB Joshua Ministries’ YouTube channel. It appeared first on Emmanuel TV, a television station owned by Joshua’s Lagos megachurch, The Synagogue, Church of All Nations.
YouTube says it “prohibits content which alleges that someone is mentally ill, diseased, or inferior because of their membership in a protected group including sexual orientation”. “It is great to see social media platforms take a greater role in tackling these harmful practices by banning accounts spouting hate speech and promoting conversion practices,” said Daina Rudusa, spokesperson for OutRight Action International, the global LGBTQI human rights organisation.
OutRight’s Yvonne Wamari, who manages a project fighting conversion therapy in Africa, said that research among the LGBTQI community in Nigeria found that almost half of the respondents had undergone similar rituals, mostly conducted by religious leaders.