YouTube has taken down an increasingly popular music video that utilised images of Taliban violence and blasted President Biden for the departure from Afghanistan.
The removal of the footage, according to Grammy-nominated musician John Ondrasik, whose song “Blood on My Hands” has over 250,000 views, was an attack on free speech.
“I just received news that the Blood on My Hands – White House Docu-Music video has been taken down by @YouTube,” he said, along with a fuller statement on the incident.
“I put a ‘Graphic Warning’ notice at the top of the video before posting to let the viewers know that the content would not be acceptable for younger audiences due to visuals of Taliban crimes,” Ondrasik added. “YouTube looked over the video and put a child content restriction on it, which I liked and thought was appropriate.”
After the video went viral and received over 250,000 views, he accused the website of switching direction. The firm declared the song was in violation of their “graphic content policy” five days after he submitted it.
Ondrasik, 57, is known for songs such as “100 Years” and “Superman,” and he warned that YouTube’s actions were a threat to free speech.
“To not include said Taliban atrocities in any artistic statement about Afghanistan would be a grave injustice to the victims and would facilitate the Taliban’s ongoing persecution of 40 million Afghan citizens,” he continued. “Anyone who values free speech and activism for humanitarian reasons should be concerned that YouTube took down the video after 5 days, when it was rising in popularity.”
The movie poked fun at President Biden, who is referred to as “Uncle Joe,” in addition to violent visuals of Taliban cruelty. “Winkin’ Blinken” is the nickname for Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, and “Willy Milley” is the nickname for Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley.
Later, YouTube restored the video and apologised, assuring Ondrasik that the decision to remove it was made in error.
“This was an oversight on our part, and your video has been restored.” “We’re sorry this happened, and we appreciate your patience as we worked this out,” the business added.