The 39-year-old woman of Iranian descent who police say opened fire at YouTube’s California headquarters was an animal rights defender and vegan vlogger who was apparently upset with the video-sharing website for demonetizing her videos.
Nasim Aghdam, who according to one video she posted on a social-media site was born and raised in Iran, expressed frustration in online videos that she was being “discriminated [against] and filtered” by YouTube.
Aghdam had several channels on YouTube including one, Nasime Wonder1, that had some 5,000 subscribers.
Some of her videos -- which she posted on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and the communication app Telegram -- included vegan-cooking tutorials, workouts, parody music videos, and disturbing images and videos of animal abuse.
Her videos -- which were in both Persian and strongly accented English -- had attracted millions of views altogether.
Three people were wounded -- one seriously -- after Aghdam entered an outdoor patio area at YouTube headquarters on April 3 in the city of San Bruno, near San Francisco, and began shooting. She then shot and killed herself.
Her father, Ismail Aghdam, said that his daughter "hated” YouTube, which she accused of “filtering” her.
He told The Mercury News that Aghdam was angry that YouTube had stopped paying for her content.
Her brother said she was always complaining that "YouTube ruined her life."
“If you go and check my videos, you see that my new videos hardly get views and that my old videos that used to get many views stopped getting views, so this is because I’m being filtered,” Nasim Aghdam claimed in one video.
She said YouTube had imposed an age restriction on an "abs" workout video she had posted online.
“They age-restricted my ab workout video. A video that has nothing bad in it. Nothing sexual,” she says in the video.
In another video she posted on her Telegram channel in December, Aghdam expressed similar frustration, claiming that she was being “censored” and suppressed” by video-sharing sites.
"Many simple-minded people who are uninformed about behind-the-scenes issues think that as soon as you post a video online, it gets views. If your work is good and you’re pretty yourself, the quality of your video is excellent, you get millions of views," she said.
"That's not the case," she adds, while claiming that video-sharing sites decide who will get views and who won’t.
“If they want, if they like you, if they like your views, your goals, if it benefits their pockets, they let you have viewers,” she said in the video.
"But if you want to unveil the lies of the system and awaken people, they'll stop you," she claimed.
Her motive for the shooting is unclear and it’s also not known how she obtained her gun.
In a video posted on Telegram in July, she listed gun ownership as among the “four bad things in America.”
“Here because guns are free, when you go out you should know that you may not return home alive or well,” she said.
In a video where Aghdam said she was responding to questions from her viewers, she said she didn’t suffer from any “physical or psychological illness.”
“But I live in a planet that is full of sicknesses, disorders, and deviations,” she said.
In that video, she also received some abusive questions.
“When will you die?" one person asked her online.
"Keep praying because in this planet negative prayers are being granted more,” she answered.