Nasim Najafi Aghdam has been identified by the police as the shooter who attacked YouTube’s headquarters in San Bruno, California, on Tuesday. Police are still investigating a motive, but Aghdam’s family has said that she had a history of anger toward YouTube after the platform reportedly demonetized her videos.
Aghdam wounded three people — a fourth was injured while fleeing the scene but was not shot — before killing herself. (An initial report from the Daily Beast cited a law-enforcement official saying Aghdam went to YouTube to shoot her boyfriend, and police initially said they were investigating a “domestic incident”; the San Bruno Police Department has since said Aghdam did not know her victims or “specifically targeted” them.)
“She was always complaining that YouTube ruined her life,” Aghdam’s brother, Shahran, told the East Bay Times. Shahran also says he called authorities after finding out his sister was near the YouTube office to warn them. Police told him they had checked in with his sister — they found her sleeping in her car — and nothing was amiss. Ismail Aghdam said his daughter was “angry” and claimed YouTube had begun censoring her content. Aghdam, according to her website, had at least four different YouTube channels, including one in English, one in Turkish, and one in Farsi.
Aghdam’s content — her Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube accounts have all been taken offline — ranged from videos about veganism and animal rights to music videos and fitness. “I’m being discriminated and filtered on YouTube and I’m not the only one,” Aghdam said on January 28 in a now-deleted video. “They age restricted my ab workout video. A video that has nothing bad in it. Nothing sexual.”
Her website — which remains online — shows screen caps of analytics from her channel claiming she only earned ten cents on a video with 300,000 views. “New close-minded youtube employees, got control of my Farsi YouTube channel last year 2016 & began filtering my videos to reduce views & suppress & discourage me from making videos!” Aghdam wrote above a video clip she claims was age-restricted. The only video of Aghdam that remains on her site is entitled “Vegan Nasim Strength Test,” and shows her doing squat jumps to a song she appears to have written and recorded herself. “Do you dare not to kill for passion, not to wear bloody fashion.” The video is hosted by Daily Motion, not YouTube.
Other videos, ones not created by Aghdam, remain on the site, including one from Casey Neistat about the state of YouTube monetization and another detailing with the “health risks of anal sex.”
At the top of her site is a large, yellow banner warning readers about dictatorships. “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!” She also quotes Adolf Hitler. Further down, she embedded graphic videos of animals being “tortured.” She also included a grainy photo of a car tire that appears to have something stabbed in it. Aghdam claims it was “attacked by anti-vegan animal business supporting criminals trying to harm/kill me! because of the animals rights awakening stickers on my car.”
Other photos on the site show Aghdam posing with a rabbit, a chicken, and wearing a gown while standing in front of a (green-screen) lion. Another photo shows her wearing a camouflage-patterned unitard leaning over a table and eating an apple.
Aghdam would have turned 38 on Wednesday. “She chose the day to die the day she came,” her brother said.