YouTube finally shuts down channel promoting torturous, violent conversion therapy

Nigerian pastor TB Joshua speaking at a New Year's memorial service

YouTube has shut down a channel belonging to a controversial Nigerian televangelist that hosted violent, traumatising conversion therapy videos.

TB Joshua is the leader and founder of Christian megachurch the Synagogue, Church of All Nations. He has an enormous social media following and is thought to be one of the world’s wealthiest religious figures.

The TB Joshua Ministries’ YouTube channel has been shut down after openDemocracy flagged a number of videos in which the pastor claimed to “cure” gay people of their sexual orientation.

In one of the videos, a woman could be seen being beaten and slapped at least 16 times as TB Joshua told her that a spirit was “disturbing” her. A week later, the woman testified that she had “no affection whatsoever” for women.

An openDemocracy investigation found that seven similar videos were shared on TB Joshua’s YouTube channel between 2016 and 2020.

When contacted about the videos, YouTube opted to remove the channel entirely, saying TB Joshua had violated their guidelines on hate speech.

Conversion therapist TB Joshua is still allowed on Facebook

openDemocracy also contacted Facebook about similar content on TB Joshua’s page, which has more than 5.6 million followers.

Facebook responded by removing a number of posts on his page for violating its policies, saying it doesn’t allow “attacks against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity”.

However, Facebook initially left untouched a 16-minute long video in which TB Joshua told a young man that he had a “woman inside him”. Joshua proceeded to hit and punch the young man several times to cast the “spirit of woman” out of him.

The disturbing video showed church officials cutting the man’s dreadlocks off, and ended with him declaring that he was no longer attracted to men.

The video appears to have since been removed by Facebook.

TB Joshua Ministries has launched a campaign to have its YouTube channel reinstated, claiming it wants to “share the love of God with everyone”.

“We strongly oppose all forms of hate speech!” the church said on Facebook. “We have had a long and fruitful relationship with YouTube and believe this decision was made in haste.”

They urged their followers to contact YouTube to object to the decision. The post has been liked more than 6,000 times and has received 3,000 comments, almost entirely from those who disagree with YouTube’s decision.