YouTube claims ‘mistake’ in pulling music video critical of Biden
YouTube has apologized after causing outrage by removing a music video from singer-songwriter John Ondrasik, better known as Five for Fighting, directly criticizing President Joe Biden and his chaotic exit from Afghanistan.
Ondrasik announced his video had been pulled in a statement on Friday, blasting the company for flagging the clip over footage of “Taliban atrocities” while other videos containing similar footage remained up and even monetized.
“To not show said Taliban atrocities in any artistic statement on Afghanistan would be a gross injustice to the victims and enable the Taliban’s ongoing persecution of 40 million Afghan citizens,” the musician wrote.
The ‘Blood on My Hands’ video not only features real-world footage of the Taliban, but also begins with Biden claiming the Afghanistan government will not fall. Biden had said that shortly before the Taliban regained control, and US troops went through a chaotic withdrawal after 20 years in Afghanistan, which included 13 service members dying in a Kabul bombing. The clip also features Ondrasik, best known for hit songs like ‘100 Years’ and ‘Superman,’ singing outside the White House.
01/03/21Abandoned to TalibanAmerican Citizens–100+Allies–60K+Afghan Brothers in Arms 200KWomen Rights Decimation 20MMusic OutlawedLGBTQ hunted Children sold for food Accountability – 0Blood On My Hands – White House https://t.co/VMARuBAFy9#AmericansforAfghanistanpic.twitter.com/rTsUBbQvf0— John Ondrasik (@johnondrasik) January 3, 2022
YouTube apologized this week for censoring the video and claimed this was a “mistake.” ‘Blood on My Hands’ had received more than 250,000 views in a few days before being taken down.
While Ondrasik said he accepted the apology, he went on to criticize political bias in “Big Tech” and questioned a YouTube spokesperson saying a graphic content warning needed to be added, when one was already there from Ondrasik, as well as another from YouTube itself.
Apology Accepted @TeamYouTube. To all whose outcry for freedom of artistic expression led to this result, whether you have 2 followers or 2 mil, Thank You! Hat tip to @seanhannity@dbongino and @hughhewitt who embedded the video on their major platforms so it could be seen. 🇺🇸👊 https://t.co/RJwF8lIqwe— John Ondrasik (@johnondrasik) January 8, 2022
“Without the outcry” from fans and conservatives, the singer later tweeted, it’s likely there would have been no action on YouTube’s part to rectify the situation.
“Only real solution is alternative platforms to eliminate the monopoly,” he wrote, referencing Rumble, a YouTube alternative platform, said to be mainly used by conservatives. The music video has been posted there, as well.
I just did an interview making this point. Yes, without the outcry, likely no response to takedown. It’s a huge problem and Big Tech must address their internal biases and flawed algorithms. Only real solution is alternative platforms to eliminate the monopoly. @rumblevideohttps://t.co/ztwFdBCbZW— John Ondrasik (@johnondrasik) January 8, 2022
Ondrasik has said the song is not meant as a political statement, but rather a moral one. He said he was inspired to write it after a friend informed him they were attempting to privately get American citizens, who had not made the official evacuation, out of Afghanistan. He finished writing the song the night Biden gave a speech referring to the withdrawal as an “extraordinary success.”