Authorities in San Bruno, California, identified a 38-year-old woman as the assailant who made it into YouTube’s offices on Tuesday with a semi-automatic pistol and shot three others, wounding them, before fatally turning the gun on herself. Police say Nasim Aghdam has long held grievances against YouTube over what she has seen as discrimination by the Google-owned video platform and drove from her home in San Diego to San Bruno, about 30 minutes outside of San Francisco, to carry out the shooting.
— San Bruno Police (@SanBrunoPolice) April 4, 2018
Police said Wednesday that Aghdam’s motive was severe dissatisfaction with YouTube and the policies it enforces with videos uploaded to the platform. According to BuzzFeed News, Aghdam operated several YouTube channels that dealt with topics like veganism, animal rights and physical fitness. An analysis by BuzzFeed of Aghdam’s social media accounts paints a portrait of a YouTube power user who harbored numerous grievances with the video platform, particularly over YouTube’s decision to demonetize many of her videos. Images of Aghdam on social media showed her denouncing YouTube as a “dictatorship” that practiced the “suppression of truth.” And she posted messages airing those grievances in English, Farsi and Turkish, often taking issue with videos by music artists like Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus that hadn’t been age restricted by YouTube, but which she argued contain more sexually-suggestive content than her workout videos.
#BREAKING: Sources say YouTube shooter is Nasim Aghdam, a user of the platform. She has a website with a manifesto that targets YouTube for censorship and demonetization of her video content. MORE –> https://t.co/SkurcrZ0cQ @ABC7 pic.twitter.com/BT3OLgydaQ
— Veronica Miracle (@ABC7Veronica) April 4, 2018
A report by CBS News cites Aghdam’s father, Ismail Aghdam, as having said his daughter had become angry with YouTube over what she believed was discrimination. In one video that has since been deleted, Aghdam said, “They want you to be their sex slaves and not think outside the box they designed for you! Your knowledge is their enemy.”
YouTube shooting suspect Nasim Aghdam, who describes herself as a vegan artist, bodybuilder, and animal rights activist, often lashed out at the video platform for censoring and demonetizing her content pic.twitter.com/AsQiCz3SHB
— Brianna Sacks (@bri_sacks) April 4, 2018
The Mercury News reported that Aghdam’s family told local police last week that she’d gone missing. On Tuesday morning, police in Mountain View California, nearby San Bruno, discovered Aghdam sleeping in her car.
“Officers located an adult female by the same name asleep in a vehicle in a Mountain View parking lot early this morning,” a spokesperson told BuzzFeed News in an email. “The woman confirmed her identity to us and answered subsequent questions.”
The Associated Press reports that at some point between that encounter and the shooting, Aghdam visited a gun range to practice shooting. Later in the day, around 12:45 p.m. local time, Aghdam walked into YouTube’s offices and opened fire. Police said she gained access to the YouTube headquarters through a parking garage.
According to ABC News, the FBI recently released the results of a study that analyzed 160 mass shootings over 13 years, and just six of them were perpetrated by women. Aghdam was reportedly two days shy of her 39th birthday.