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YouTube Censors Pro-Marijuana Law Reform Video, More Pro-Prop. 19 Videos

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director October 27, 2010

    As first reported yesterday afternoon on SouthFloridaGayNews, Google’s YouTube has decided to censor the well done and catchy pro-Prop. 19 musical parody by entertainer Steve Berke after less than 48 hours of the Eminem and Rihanna music video parody going viral on the Internet—garnering over 108,000 views after NORML highlighted the video this past Monday.

    NORML protests YouTube’s removal of a non-controversial, political advertisement that encourages California citizens who’re voting on Tuesday to come out en mass to vote ‘yes’ on the country’s most important cannabis legalization initiative to date.

    Well…if the overlords of public discourse at YouTube didn’t like Mr. Berke’s creativity and support for Prop. 19, what will they do with country music performer Colt Jackson’s video in support of cannabis legalization?

    Or, short filmmakers Fordy Shoor’s and Garth Von Ahnen’s Reefer Madness inspired sci-fi narrative that takes a mocking opposition to Prop. 19. Will YouTube’s censors get the comedy and sense of irony, and build a password wall around it, or allow it to stay up misunderstanding that the animation does not support Cannabis Prohibition?

    Away from YouTube’s prying eyes, comedian and cannabis law reform supporter Rob Cantrell’s new Pro-Prop. 19 video spoofs US Army legend General Patton as ‘General Potton’?

    How about Funny or Die’s Pro-Prop. 19 video? Again, off of YouTube’s system, creative artists don’t have to fear censorship and can address a political concern.

    NORML encourages other like-minded citizens and organizations to contact YouTube and tell them to stop censoring Steve Berke’s ‘Should Be Legalized’ video and let it—along with all other pro-cannabis law reform videos—continue to gather public attention and support for the underlying political message: Let’s end 74-year of Cannabis Prohibition in America!

    YouTube, LLC

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    YouTube Censors Pro Prop 19 Political Campaign, Comedian’s Video Supports Pro Pot Legalization Drive

    Miami Beach, FL (Oct 26th, 2010) Last week, comedian Steve Berke launched an online political campaign in support of Proposition 19 in California with the recent release of his latest music video, “Should Be Legalized”, a political commentary on Eminem’s music video “Love The Way You Lie.”

    The campaign, supported by NORML (National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws) was generating huge internet buzz, and had amassed 108,000 views within 2 days, when YouTube flagged it for being offensive, thus requiring users to login to view the video, killing the video’s chance at becoming viral.

    “We were on pace to reach 1 million views within a week, and our video was rallying supporters of Prop 19 and decriminalization in every state that had it on the ballot.  Then YouTube flagged us for being offensive and killed any chance we had at reaching our potential audience.   Their censorship of this video is similar to the Internet censorship that takes place in repressive countries like North Korea and China.”

    YouTube failed to give any reason to Berke for flagging the video and it is presently inaccessible to the vast majority of worldwide. “The flagging system does not have a system of recourse and re-review,” stated Berke.

    Fort Lauderdale attorney Norm Kent, on the Board of Directors at NORML, is among those who are outraged.  “We will not let YouTube squash a vibrant political campaign the week before the historic November 2nd elections.

    Videos of rapper Snoop Dogg smoking marijuana are not flagged as offensive, but a song that merely names him as a marijuana user is? YouTube is effectively freezing a viral political movement as it gains momentum in time for a critical vote. They must remove the flag. If they do not, we will pursue the matter further until they do.”

    NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre adds, “YouTube’s building a wall around Steve Berke’s video makes no sense in light of dozens of other videos that depict normal cannabis use.  YouTube, whether it means to or not, is stifling legitimate political discourse regarding an important initiative vote in California next week that seeks to legalize and tax cannabis.”

    “I just don’t understand it,” said Berke.  “People smoking marijuana in videos on YouTube go unflagged, but our video, that involves actors merely pretending to smoke marijuana as political satire, is flagged immediately.”

    “In Eminem’s video, alcohol abuse, spousal abuse, sexual assault, arson and murder are all prevalent and the video is not censored in any way. In fact, YouTube runs ads against it, not only profiting off the video, but also making it viewable to all ages at all times,” Berke added.

    The link to Eminem’s “Love The Way You Lie” is here.

    The link to Berke’s “Should Be Legalized” is here.

    42 Responses to “YouTube Censors Pro-Marijuana Law Reform Video, More Pro-Prop. 19 Videos”

    1. spook says:

      this is just a sign we are winning, the enemy will always fight hardest when their back is against the wall.

      the enemy is scared they know they have all but lost. on Nov. 2nd we will have our d-day.
      on Nov 2nd it will be the beginning of the end for prohibition.

    2. Fordy Shoor says:

      Hi there. Though I did help write the PSA, the very gifted animator and co-writer Garth Von Ahnen is truly deserving of the credit here. Check out some of his other work, as well.

      http://www.artbygarth.com

    3. Coinspinner says:

      Youtube, what the heck?! Youtube is jam packed with weed videos of every sort. They only seem to censor the political ones.

    4. dave says:

      Boycott you tube!

    5. Drew B. says:

      Also tell the Electronic Freedom Foundation.

      http://www.eff.org/about/contact

    6. HeadoftheClass says:

      I am not surprised by this. I’ve seen some other pro-marijuana videos get popular in a hurry, but never appeared in You Tube’s promo panels. I don’t know about any anti-marijuana ads there because I use Ad Block Pro for Firefox.

      We need an alternative to You Tube, one that does not censor pro-marijuana videos to keep them from reaching the Most Popular featured videos spot.

    7. I aint surprised about youtube’s censorship problem considering that theyve also failed to regulate the abuses by bible thumpers and homohaters on there.

      After about a year of it, I closed my account with them.

      They dont listen and theyve shown that they dont care.

    8. jon ganj-ovi says:

      SUE THEM !!

      1. it is the only thing that will get their attention.

      2. the lawsuit will get additional media publicity for the video and prop 19.

      3. be prepared to sue california for vote-rigging if prop 19 does not pass.

    9. Freedom says:

      There should be mass protests if prop 19 doesnt pass. The polls show they will lose we will win…..There should be mass protests anyway…government is criminal.

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