On Tuesday afternoon, a shooter opened fire with a handgun at an outdoor patio and dining area at YouTube’s campus in San Bruno, California, just south of San Francisco. The shooter, who has been identified as, Nasim Aghdam, a woman in her late 30’s from Southern California, wounded three people before turning the gun on herself. A fourth person sustained an ankle injury while trying to escape.
So far, what is known about Nasim Aghdam is that she had a strong hatred for YouTube. The police and authorities do not believe that she knew any of the victims of the shooting.
Who exactly is Nasim Aghdam?
Aghdam, a big animal rights activist and vegan with a large social media presence, appears to have been upset with YouTube over some of their new policies. Nasim Aghdam, had not just one, but four YouTube channels – one in English, one in Turkish, one in Farsi and one devoted to hand art. Along with her YouTube channels, she had an Instagram account, which has since been suspended. On her Instagram account she describes herself as an, “Athlete Artist Comedian Poet Model Singer Host Actor Director Producer”.
Along with her YouTube, Facebook and Instagram accounts Nasim had a website, NasimeSabz.com, where she complained about the policies of YouTube, and animal cruelty. On one section of her website she ranted about YouTube saying, “videos of targeted users are filtered and merely relegated, so that people can hardly see their videos.” On another section of her website she quoted, Adolf Hitler saying, “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it and eventually they will believe it”. In another rant she posted about how YouTube would “filter” and “censor” her videos and content, specifically putting age restrictions on her workout videos. She continued by pointing out that the company failed to do the same for videos from stars like Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj, which were inappropriate for children.
In 2009, Nasim attended a protest outside of Camp Pendleton, a Marine Corps base in California. Nasim came to the protest, dressed in a wig and jeans with drops of painted “blood” on them, and held a plastic sword. The demonstration was organized by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, more commonly known as PETA, to protest the use of pigs during military training exercises. She was quoted in the San Diego Union-Tribune as saying, “For me, animal rights equal human rights.”
Her father, Ismail Aghdam, stated that Nasim had been making a living from her YouTube videos prior to YouTube rolling out its new policy to, “demonetize” smaller YouTube channels. Youtube’s new policy, which went into effect on Feb. 20 stated that smaller channels would be “demonetized” unless they had a count of 1,000 subscribers and over 4,000 hours of view time over the last 12 months.
Nasim was reported missing on Monday after she had failed to answer calls from her family for two days. Police reportedly found her sleeping in her car in Mountain View – south of the YouTube offices around 1:40 am. The police noted that when questioning her she was, “calm and cooperative”.
Nasim’s father had previously warned police that Nasim “hated the company” and she might try to go to YouTube. Aghdam’s brother had also expressed his concern that she might do something, saying, “I googled, ‘Mountain View,’ and it was close to YouTube headquarters. And she had a problem with YouTube.” Her brother also expressed that “she was always complaining that YouTube ruined her life.”
Before opening fire at the YouTube offices, Aghdam visited a local gun range on Tuesday.
Nasim Aghdam, is another example of how broken our system has become. For months, since Youtube’s new policies had gone into effect, she had been ranting about her hatred of Youtube, and complaining that they had “ruined” her life. Since the shooting on Tuesday, her brother has spoken out in response to the police in Mountain View, California claiming that they are responsible for her suicide and for the shootings at Youtube’s headquarters.
In an interview with Mercury News Nasim’s brother said, “They didn’t do anything and she got killed and three or four more people got hurt. I did the best I can do to avoid it but the cops didn’t do their jobs.”
What is abundantly clear, is that all of the warning signs were yet again there and not only is this a shooting that could have been prevented, but a life that could have been saved as well.