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.