MENIFEE, Calif. — The woman who shot three people at YouTube’s headquarters was prolific at producing videos and posting them online, many of them bizarre, such as a clip in which she removes a revealing purple dress to expose fake, strapped-on breasts with the message “Don’t Trust Your Eyes.”

In others, Nasim Aghdam exercises, promotes animal rights and explains the vegan diet, often in elaborate costumes or carrying a rabbit.

The videos have become central to the motive authorities have settled on for the shooting: Aghdam’s anger with the policies of YouTube – the world’s biggest online video website.

Nasim Aghdam, an Iranian native who was in her late 30s, posted the videos under the online name Nasime Sabz, and a website in that name decried YouTube’s policies, saying the company was trying to “suppress” content creators.

“Youtube filtered my channels to keep them from getting views!” one of the messages said. “There is no equal growth opportunity on YOUTUBE or any other video sharing site, your channel will grow if they want to!!!!!”

People who post on YouTube can receive money from advertisements that accompany their videos, but the company “de-monetizes” some channels for reasons including inappropriate material or having fewer than 1,000 subscribers.

YouTube had no comment about any actions related to Aghdam’s videos.

Aghdam also ran a Farsi-language public channel on the messaging app Telegram, which had 6,000 followers, featuring content unlikely to resonate with Iranians. She was virtually unknown in a country where about 40 million people use the app.

One video was a tutorial on buttocks massage, and another featured a song praising Bahaism, a religion that originated in Iran but is heavily suppressed by the Islamic Republic.

People in Iran expressed pity and shock that Aghdam would shoot others in a country that allows more social media freedoms. State TV briefly reported the shooting based on international reports.

Hossein Naderi, a 23-year-old art student in Tehran, questioned why Aghdam chose to live in America, adding: “I wish I was there to use YouTube freely.”

Kimia Shobeiri, 18, suggested the shooting was a ploy to get attention.

“She was insane and just wanted to make herself famous,” she said. “With this act she damaged the reputation of Iranians.”

Police who found Aghdam sleeping in her car early Tuesday in the city of Mountain View about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from YouTube headquarters said she was calm and said nothing about being angry with YouTube or having any plans to harm others or herself.

“It was a very normal conversation. There was nothing in her behavior that suggested anything unusual,” Mountain View Police Chief Max Bosel said.

Later that day, Aghdam went to a gun range before walking through a parking garage into a courtyard at YouTube’s campus south of San Francisco, where she opened fire with a handgun and wounded three people, police said. She then killed herself.

Two women wounded in the shooting were released Wednesday from a San Francisco hospital. The third victim, a 36-year-old man initially classified by hospital officials in critical condition, was upgraded to fair on Thursday.

The suspect’s father, Ismail Aghdam, told the Bay Area News Group he warned police the day before the attack that his daughter was upset with how YouTube handled her videos and might be planning to go to its offices.

Police in Mountain View said they spoke to Ismail Aghdam twice after contacting the family to report finding his daughter and that he never told them she could become violent or pose a threat to YouTube employees.

The family turned away reporters outside the family home in Menifee on Wednesday.

The family later distributed a statement saying they were “in absolute shock and can’t make sense of what has happened.”

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.