YouTube shuts down PFAW’s “Right Wing Watch” account for challenging anti-gay bigot

In what has become a disturbing trend, Google’s YouTube service has yet again blocked people from publishing videos exposing anti-gay bigotry.

This time the victim was People for the American Way’s “Right Wing Watch” project, which had their entire account shut down because an anti-gay bigot complained about a video they posted.


The complainant was anti-gay activist “Dr. Chaps”  Gordon Klingenschmitt, who’s a Republican candidate for the Colorado State House.

Klingenschmitt has previously complained to YouTube about PFAW’s videos, and YouTube kept taking them down, and finally shut down Right Wing Watch’s entire account.  The account was turned back on recently after PFAW won its counter-claim against Klingenschmitt, claiming the videos were “fair use.”

But Klingenschmitt complained about another video, and YouTube shut PFAW’s account down again.

PFAW has several additional counter-claims against Klingenschmitt pending with YouTube, but at this rate, every time YouTube finally gets to resolving the claim, Klingenschmitt will simply file another claim and YouTube will yet again dutifully shut down the account one of the premier pro-gay organizations in America.

I’ve had my own repeated run-ins with YouTube’s over-zealous defense of anti-gay bigots.

YouTube outright refused to post a video showing Russian vigilantes kicking, punching, and disrobing a transgender woman in a public park. I tried several times, and even appealed to my contacts at Google, to no avail.  This is the “rejected” notice that sits in my YouTube account:


I’ve written about these Russian anti-gay vigilantes, highlighted in the video, a number of times – they’re organizing across Russia, and now Ukraine, under the name “Occupy Pedophilia.”  Their modus operandi is using social media to lure gay and trans people into meeting them under false pretenses, then they kidnap their victim and brutalize him or her while filming the entire thing for Russian social media.

Well, YouTube was having none of it – they didn’t want me to post the video proving how bad transphobia is in Russia, so they simply refused and gave me no opportunity to challenge it. (And let me just say, it is hugely important that these videos get out there.  The fact that they are already all over Russian social media, and the Russian authorities refuse to prosecute the perpetrators, even though their faces and hometowns are in the video, means the only way we can put pressure on Russia is by publicizing the existence of these videos – but we can’t do that if YouTube keeps weighing in on the side of homophobes, and giving us no real avenue to challenge these absurd “strikes” against us.)

Then, YouTube did it again, when I posted an important video of Russian homophobes accusing gays of being pedophiles.  The video was pretty vile (not in its imagery, just its message).  A Spanish gay rights group from Barcelona didn’t like the fact that one of the photos the Russian homophobes was using was of , apparently, someone in Spain. So rather than give me the chance to remove the photo – which wouldn’t be difficult in a video – the Spanish group filed a copyright complaint against me with YouTube.


YouTube dutifully removed the video, and put a “copyright strike” against me in my account.  And when I tried to get it reversed, nothing.  Could I have simply been warned that the video had a problem unbeknownst to me?  Of course.  But that would have meant permitting me to publish something that furthers our civil rights, and YouTube will have none of that.

So now that I have a strike in my permanent record, I just need two more people to blame me for the work of Russian homophobes, and Google will shut down my account permanently.

It sure is one hell of a coincidence that all of these accounts and videos get shut down are highlighting homophobia.

And as someone once said, I don’t believe in coincidences.

(I’m told that in order to actually see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me – so say the experts.)

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the former editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • ComradeRutherford

    YouTube is owned by Google. Google is run by supporters of right-wing extremists. It should be NO surprise that accounts that expose right wing extremists are shut down with no recourse.

    Go use Vimeo.

  • FantaDaddy

    YouTube is a joke. Always has been. Always will be.

  • karmanot

    That works!

  • karmanot


  • jomicur

    Signed. Thanks for the link!

  • xxx

    Fuck a bunch of queers…

  • fletcher

    The way Google is trying to drown any exposure of anti-gay bigots, maybe the service should change its name to Gurgle.

  • John Masters

    Maybe PFAW should use Section 512(f) of the DMCA. Section 512(f) which is the provision that allows
    users to hold people accountable when they make false infringement
    accusations. A few of these law suits might just slow this activity a bit.

  • TheAngryFag

    Because supporting gay rights is the magic panacea that makes everything bad go away? Wall Street Gamblers crashed the economies of several continents. But if they were 100% pro gay rights would that make them ok?

  • Caleb Ballew

    HA Gotcha! I meant too look like a moron (Sorry. I’m a complete idiot who just read the title and read it wrong)

  • Moderator3

    You may want to go back and read the article carefully.

  • BeccaM

    Isn’t that the strategy now of far-right radicals everywhere these days?

    Their behavior and message is vile. It’s right there — in pictures and in video — so their solution is to shout it down, shut it down, shut it up.

    One of them or a bunch of them do or say something horrific. When it’s publicized, they seek to stifle and silence the reporting.

  • judybrowni
  • GuestStop

    Oh, a two minute video proclaiming their support. Yeah, real nice. It definitely proves they aren’t homophobic. Just like Alec Baldwin’s latest show proves he’s sincerely sorry for using homophobic language.

  • zerosumgame0005

    and who is paying it? or is it a you-tube bot?

  • zerosumgame0005

    suck it groogle

  • Caleb Ballew

    I’m sorry. I will prefer having homophobic videos rather than having freedoms taken away. Just don’t watch the video.

  • Lawerence Collins

    These subhuman frauds will do anything to make sure their message of fear and hate is the only one being heard! I can’t be the only one noticing this! I knew those vile repugnant Koch. Brothers were trying to buy up media outlets. That would be a very sad day.

  • usagi

    Fuck your tone trolling, asshat.

    Google puts on a good show of supporting gay rights when it suits them (a fucking IGB video from the period when every corporation that was faintly hoping to tap gay dollars was making one? Give me a break. That’s minimum entry requirement, not support).
    Google throws gay rights under the bus when it suits them (or it doesn’t pay enough attention to what their YouTube algorithm is doing). Either way, the best solution is to be not calm about it at all. It’s to be pissed and make sure they know it.

  • Mighty

    What is going on here? Why so pro homophobe? who now owns youtube?

  • Talk Radio58

    The Problem is YouTube their Judge, and Executioner with no Appeal. The YouTube Algorithm is the issue, a Troll can create a 100’s of bogus screen Names, “False Flag” someones Video, and have that User Banned unjustly. If your Pro Gay, you can be False Flagged, equally if your Anti-Gay, you can be Flagged as a Bully. If you Compose an Original piece of Music, a Jealous troll could False Flag you. If you inadvertently film someone, and post it, a Troll can Place a Privacy, or Bulling Complaint. This Google Plus thing IMO is making matters even worse.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    What I find interesting is that you have no history with DISQUS except for the five comments defending Google. Makes me question your motives.

  • Jafafa Hots

    Google openly supports privacy on the internet.
    Privately their income depends on the lack of it.

    STOP believing marketing tactics.

  • Jafafa Hots

    Google is solely devoted to selling it’s product – it’s users.
    Google gathers it’s product (users), gathers information about them to increase that product’s value, and then sells that product (you) to advertisers.

    Google has noticed that gay people are a viable product.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    That’s openly. What do they do when they think no one is watching? They have the power to “accidentally” do a lot of damage to LGBT people.

  • Vin

    This might help John A. avoid this issue in the future. I have been following the Syrian civil war on YT. YT allows the most graphic videos, including videos of executions, dead bodies, combat fatalities, etc so long as it is made clear that they are being posted for news/historic documentation purposes and not for shock. The users posting these videos tag each one with a prominent message that the video IS NOT FOR SHOCK VALUE. There is more language to the effect that it is posted to document the history of the Syrian conflict and war crimes being perpetrated by warring parties in the country. I believe there is also an 18+ warning on there as well. That, plus the nature of the channels themselves (i.e., they are channels tracking the war, not shock video channels) appears to be enough for YT to deem these to be within its guidelines.

    So at least for John Aravosis’s Russian vids, that should solve the problem. Obviously, the copyright trolling issue is different. In those cases, YT’s main goal is to not get drawn into copyright disputes which will cause it to have to review and make judgments, all of which would cost it employee time and money. So it is simply easier for it to either ignore all notices or to respond to all notices with mindless automated warnings and takedowns.

  • Nathaniel

    don’t even try to say that google and youtube don’t support gay rights.

  • Indigo

    That being the case, to whom does one address concerns?

  • Mark_in_MN

    I understand that there needs to be much that is automated here, because of volume if nothing else. But there are two things that YouTube/Google really should be providing anyway. First, there should be some human intervention appeals process available. Second, the first thing the automated process does should be inform the account holder of the claim, allowing a reasonable amount of time to either voluntarily remove the video or to lodge that appeal before the video is automatically removed and the ding automatically placed on the account.

  • Nathaniel

    Google is not pentagon owned. Cisco, is a government contracted company, apple is a government contracted company, as are many others. Google is a self made search company that has expanded to much more than just a website… Google is a huge supporter of gay rights and has been way before many other have been openly supportive. The only concerns here are that people falsely accused the video of being copyright infringing… which gets taken care of all the time.

  • Indigo

    YouTube is Google-owned and Google is Pentagon-owned so to whom do we direct our concerns? Is there a CEO in that web? or a person who pushes buttons in that storeroom?

  • Nathaniel

    Google openly supports gay rights, so calm yourself.

  • Nathaniel

    excuse me sir, but Google is openly supportive of gay rights.

  • Nathaniel

    it’s an automated process. very little human eyes see what videos get taken down, and after 3 strike an account is automatically deactivated…. this isn’t a news report on youtube blocking videos of hate crimes, it’s a blog about how automated youtube’s services are, because they have to be, and that they work 99% of the time. however rare cases like this pop up and people think youtube actually is against them..

  • karmanot

    U-Tube—–a bigots best friend.

  • Monoceros Forth

    At bottom we can’t trust centralized storehouses such as YouTube as custodians of our information. Simple as that.

  • perljammer

    This, from the YouTube Terms of Service, is probably what got the “Russian homophobes torturing gay guy” video taken down:

    “Graphic or gratuitous violence is not allowed. If your video shows someone being physically hurt, attacked, or humiliated, don’t post it.”

  • TheAngryFag

    Meh. I thought there was something in the DMCA about punishment for knowingly responding to falsified/invalid DMCA notices. Unfortunately there is not so Google is free and clear to continue to be evil like it is.

    But there’s a rule against sending knowingly sending an invalid take-down notice so the bigot is liable so I hope PFAW contacts the EFF and goes to town on him.

    The publicity might shame Google into changing its ways but I won’t hold my breath.

    But it’s BS like this that is causing YouTube to decline. I tell clients to never make YouTube the sole source to host videos and I recommend a host that’s located in Europe (but it hast US data centers) because they do not arbitrarily remove content but simply contact the customer.

  • Ron Robertson

    More google bullshit.

  • Kalil

    Sued for what, exactly? Not hosting your material on their site?
    I agree that it’s a big problem, and a huge annoyance, but I don’t see any way it’s legally actionable.

  • Houndentenor

    Because these matters are handled by computer and not a person, it’s easy to suppress other people’s free speech rights by freeping sites like youtube. I agree with others. Google should be sued.

  • TheAngryFag

    Google needs to be SUED. Not contacted.

  • Paul

    I’m only guessing at how you uploaded the videos, but I’m wondering if you incorporated them into another video with commentary surrounding it, making it look kind of like a news segment, if that would give you firmer standing? I honestly don’t know how they make their decisions, I’m just thinking here.

  • nicho

    Geez, YouTube works hand in hand with the CIA. What can you expect?

  • pappyvet

    Hi John, its good to be back.
    You know,any day of the week you can go to YouTube and view anything from puppies to puke as well as some of the most disturbing images imaginable. What really bothers me is that in this case the images were an attempt to document and sound a wake up call. To tell the truth. A little humanity and a a lot more backbone would have garnered much more respect and I would like to believe, a lot more patronage.

  • Max_1

    YouTube protect agents of bigotry and homophobia…
    … While punishing those seeking to expose the bigots.

    It is time to expose YouTube …

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