PragerU sues Google, YouTube over alleged censorship of conservative videos

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Prager University, a nonprofit organization that produces short, educational videos from a conservative point of view, has filed a lawsuit against YouTube and its parent company, Google.  The lawsuit alleges the tech giant is illegally censoring some of its content as part of a wider effort to silence conservative voices, the Journal said.

The lawsuit cites more than 50 PragerU videos which have either been “restricted” or “demonetized” by Google/YouTube, the organization said in a press release. The PragerU videos include one by noted Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz on the founding of Israel. PragerU previously compiled a complete list of their restricted videos here, which includes: “Why America Must Lead,” “The Ten Commandments: Do Not Murder,” “Why Did America Fight the Korean War,” and “The World’s Most Persecuted Minority: Christians.”

In correspondence cited in the lawsuit, Google/YouTube made it clear that the censorship of certain videos was because they were deemed “inappropriate” for younger audiences.

take our poll - story continues below

What is your top alternative to Facebook? - FIXED

  • What is your top alternative to Facebook?  

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Completing this poll grants you access to Conservative Firing Line updates free of charge. You may opt out at anytime. You also agree to this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Trending: Yellow Vest Protests Spread to Canada

“Watch any one of our videos and you’ll immediately realize that Google/YouTube censorship is entirely ideologically driven. For the record, our videos are presented by some of the finest minds in the Western world, including four Pulitzer Prize winners, former prime ministers, and professors from the most prestigious universities in America,” said PragerU founder Dennis Prager.

“They are engaging in an arbitrary and capricious use of their ‘restricted mode’ and ‘demonetization’ to restrict non-left political thought. Their censorship is profoundly damaging because Google and YouTube own and control the largest forum for public participation in video-based speech in not only California, but the United States, and the world,” he added.

Currently, over 1.3 billion people use YouTube. Both Google and YouTube advertise the video streaming service to the public as a forum intended to defend and protect free speech where members of the general public may express and exchange their ideas. They have represented that their platforms and services are intended to effectuate the exercise of free speech among the public. According to Google and YouTube: “voices matter.” YouTube claims that it is “committed to fostering a community where everyone’s voice can be heard.”

“However,” said Eric George of Browne George Ross, the firm representing PragerU, “Google and YouTube use restricted mode filtering not to protect younger or sensitive viewers from ‘inappropriate’ video content, but as a political gag mechanism to silence PragerU. Google and YouTube do this not because they have identified video content that violates their guidelines or is otherwise inappropriate for younger viewers, but because PragerU is a conservative nonprofit organization that is associated with and espouses the views of leading conservative speakers and scholars.”

“This is speech discrimination plain and simple, censorship based entirely on unspecified ideological objection to the message or on the perceived identity and political viewpoint of the speaker,” said former California Governor Pete Wilson of Browne George Ross. “Google and YouTube’s use of restricted mode filtering to silence PragerU violates its fundamental First Amendment rights under both the California and United States Constitutions. It constitutes unlawful discrimination under California law, is a misleading and unfair business practice, and breaches the warranty of good faith and fair dealing implied in Google and YouTube’s own Terms of Use and ‘Community Guidelines.’”

“There is absolutely nothing ‘inappropriate’ about the content of the PragerU videos censored by Google and YouTube; the videos do not contain any profanity, nudity or otherwise inappropriate ‘mature’ content and they fully comply with the letter of YouTube’s Terms of Use and Community Guidelines,” said Marissa Streit, PragerU’s chief executive officer who has engaged in a year-long-effort to try and persuade Google to stop censoring PragerU content. Streit continues, “It’s clear that someone doesn’t like what we teach and so they intend on stopping us from teaching it. Can you imagine what the world would look like if Google is allowed to continue to arbitrarily censor ideas they simply don’t agree with?”

“This is not a left/right issue. It is a free speech issue, which is why prominent liberals, such as Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, are supporting our lawsuit,” Prager concluded.

The 43-page complaint, which can be seen here, seeks, among other things, compensatory, special, and statutory damages, a civil penalty of $2,500 for each violation and  an injunction requiring YouTube to “cease and desist from capriciously restricting, demonetizing, or otherwise censoring any content of PragerU videos uploaded to the YouTube” and “censoring or restricting speech based on their unfettered discretion or the
use or application of arbitrary, capricious, vague, unspecified, or subjective criteria guidelines…”

PragerU is not the only conservative outlet that has experienced censorship and demonetization by YouTube.  A number of conservatives, including media analyst Mark Dice, Trump supporters Diamond and Silk and Paul Joseph Watson, have also seen their videos restricted and/or demonetized for the very same reasons.  As a result, many have turned to sites like Patreon as a way to help make up for the loss of revenue.

Breitbart noted:

Other conservative channels on YouTube have also faced routine censorship, including Legal Insurrection, which was suspended before being reinstated following coverage from Breitbart News.

PragerU’s lawsuit against YouTube won’t be a cakewalk, but if successful, it could open the door for similar lawsuits against social media sites that seem to discriminate based on political points of view.

YouTube, the Journal reported, “said it didn’t have immediate comment because it hadn’t yet reviewed the suit.”

Stay tuned…

Related:

If you haven’t checked out and liked our Facebook page, please go here and do so. And be sure to check out our new MeWe page here.

If you appreciate independent conservative reports like this, please go here and support us on Patreon.

And if you’re as concerned about online censorship as we are, go here and order this book (Remember, half of what we earn will be donated to Hurricane Harvey relief):

Banned: How Facebook enables militant Islamic jihad
Banned: How Facebook enables militant Islamic jihad – Source: Author (used with permission)

 

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.