Influential Nigerian televangelist, Temitope Balogun Joshua popularly known as TB Joshua has vowed to appeal against a decision by YouTube to block his account which has 1.8 million subscribers.
According to the BBC, YouTube has taken punitive action against the pastor over allegations of hate speech after reviewing at least seven videos showing the preacher conducting prayers to “cure” gay people.
Facebook is also reported to have removed at least one of the posts in question which shows TB Joshua casting a “demonic spirit” from a woman.
UK-based rights body, openDemocracy filed a complaint after reviewing seven videos posted on TB Joshua Ministries’ YouTube channel between 2016 and 2020, which show the preacher conducting prayers to “cure” gay people, the BBC reported.
A YouTube spokesperson told openDemocracy that the channel had been closed because its policy “prohibits content which alleges that someone is mentally ill, diseased, or inferior because of their membership in a protected group including sexual orientation”.
TB Joshua Ministries has reacted to the sanction on its Facebook page, saying: “We have had a long and fruitful relationship with YouTube and believe this decision was made in haste.”
One of the videos that has landed TB Joshua’s YouTube channel in this trouble is an update of a 2018 prayer session involving a woman called Okoye.
The video shows TB Joshua slapping and pushing the woman and another unnamed woman at least 16 times as part of the exorcism.
“There is a spirit disturbing you. She has transplanted herself into you. It is the spirit of woman,” the video shows TB Joshua saying to Okoye.
She is seen again testifying before the congregation that “the spirit of woman” had been destroying her life but thanks to TB Joshua’s prayers, she has been healed.
According to her, right after the exorcism, she stopped getting attracted to women, adding that “now I have affections for men”.
Before the video was taken down by YouTube, it had garnered more than 1.5 million views