It seemed no one was happier about Donald Trump’s ban from Twitter than Sacha Baron Cohen. The director and star of Borat and its Trump-focused sequel in 2020 has long railed against Trump and the damage he’s done with his social media presence while in office, and his deplatforming has been a big win for critics of the president in the wake of the violent MAGA riot he sparked in Washington earlier in the month.
But for Baron Cohen, Trump’s permanent ban from Twitter is simply not enough. Other social media networks exist, and he’s working very hard to make sure all of them realize the threat of letting Trump communicate on them even once he’s out of office. Which is why Baron Cohen has been particularly active on Twitter attempting to pressure Google to permanently keep Trump off of YouTube.
Earlier in the week, Baron Cohen noted that Trump has actually gained followers on YouTube since he was banned from plenty of other social media channels, and put pressure on Google to follow suit and remove other Trump channels on YouTube.
NEW: Trump's YouTube Channel has GAINED 30,000 subscribers this week.
Other companies are cutting ties with Trump. YouTube is profiting!
YouTube–the new Trump TV.
— Sacha Baron Cohen (@SachaBaronCohen) January 12, 2021
He did see some success, as YouTube did ban Trump for a week as of Wednesday. But as Baron Cohen noted, that means he will likely get more chances to accumulate “strikes” until the platform pulled the plug for good.
YouTube suspends Trump!
But only for 1 week. With YouTube's "3 strikes" rule, Trump gets to incite violence 2 MORE TIMES before it bans him!
Are you kidding?!
— Sacha Baron Cohen (@SachaBaronCohen) January 13, 2021
On Thursday, Baron Cohen shared a letter that had circulated from some Alphabet — YouTube’s parent company — employees asking the company to make the ban permanent.
YouTube's own employees agree that YouTube plays a "key role" in "fascist recruitment" in the US, including the Trump extremists who attacked the Capitol.
— Sacha Baron Cohen (@SachaBaronCohen) January 14, 2021
The hashtag #BanTrumpSaveDemocracy has seen a lot of activity in the days since Trump’s failed MAGA coup, with Baron Cohen leading the way in putting pressure on YouTube to remove Trump’s presence and prevent him from spreading more potentially violent rhetoric. And though his focus lately has been on getting Trump off YouTube for good, it’s important to note that social media is likely to be something Baron Cohen focuses on well after Trump is out of office. He tweeted ominously about Mark Zuckerberg following Trump’s loss in the fall, and Trump leaving social media doesn’t fix the rest of the mess of people that were radicalized at the hands of algorithms and misinformation in the past few years.