YouTube suspect was vegan who had complained about 'suppression'

Image: Youtube HQ Shooting
Emergency and law enforcement personnel exit YouTube headquarters on April 3, 2018 in San Bruno, Calif. Copyright Marcio Jose Sanchez AP
Copyright Marcio Jose Sanchez AP
By Courtney McGee and Andrew Blankstein and Tracy Connor with NBC News U.S. News
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Nasim Aghdam had complained YouTube was discriminating against her videos. A motive has not been released.


The woman who law enforcement sources say opened fire on the YouTube campus on Tuesday — wounding three people before killing herself — may have been angry at the video-sharing site.

Nasim Aghdam, 39, claimed on her social media accounts that YouTube was discriminating against her videos, many of which focused on animal rights and veganism, mixed in with bizarre musical parodies.

"Youtube filtered my channels to keep them from getting views!" Aghdam wrote on her website.

"There is no free speech in real world & you will be suppressed for telling the truth that is not supported by the system. Videos of targeted users are filtered & merely relegated, so that people can hardly see their videos!"

Police said the shooting appeared to stem from some type of domestic dispute with a possible workplace overlay and was not considered a terrorist attack, but provided no other details.

Aghdam's family told NBC News that she was a longtime YouTube user who felt she had been cheated.

YouTube "stopped everything and now she has no income," her father, Ismail Aghdam, said in a brief phone interview. He said his daughter was at YouTube on Tuesday but said he did not know how she was involved in the incident.

It appears Aghdam was a longtime animal rights activist. Nearly a decade ago, she took part in a demonstration organized by PETA at Camp Pendleton to protest the killing of pigs during a military exercise.

News accounts from the time said she carried a plastic sword and wore pants spattered with fake blood. "For me, animal rights equals humans rights," she was quoted as saying.

But by last year, she had turned to protesting YouTube. Her Facebook page shows a photo of her standing on a street corner in February 2017 with the heading "YouTube Dictatorship" and the message: "Hidden policy: Promote stupidity discrimination, suppression of truth."

In one Instagram video, Aghdam appears in a black hood and asks her audience: "When it comes to freedom of speech, do you think that Iran is better than USA or USA is better than Iran?"

According to her website, she had four YouTube channels — one in Farsi, one in Turkish, one in English and one devoted to making beaded necklaces.

Public records show she worked for her father's electrical company and once had a company of her own called Peace Thunder. Her Facebook page described her simply as an "artist."

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