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The Daily Signal, the Heritage Foundation’s investigative reporting, news, and commentary outlet, says that one of their videos, a YouTube testimonial from a pediatrician about gender transition surgery for children, was censored by YouTube for “hate speech.”
According to the Daily Signal’s Kate Trinko, the group’s 2017 video starring Dr. Michelle Cretella, “pediatrician with many years’ experience and the executive director of the American Academy of Pediatricians,” was pulled off YouTube because, in the video, Cretella suggested that, “if you want to cut off a leg or an arm you’re mentally ill, but if you want to cut off healthy breasts or a penis, you’re transgender.”
“The Daily Signal recently learned that our video of Cretella had been removed from YouTube. In its place, YouTube displayed this message: “This video has been removed for violating YouTube’s policy on hate speech,” the group says.
Attempts to contact YouTube proved futile. “Over the past few months, The Daily Signal worked with YouTube to try to reach a resolution. Ultimately, we were told the only way we could get the video back on YouTube was to delete the previously mentioned sentence.”
That amounts to censorship, the Daily Signal says, and it should scare anyone who seeks to put material up on the platform.
The Daily Signal admits that Cretella’s statement is controversial, but that doesn’t make it “hate speech,” even under a broad definition. It simply makes it … controversial. The topic itself — transgenderism and gender transition measures for children — is a hot topic, and Cretella’s point is that society views some bodily alterations with scorn and others with an open embrace. Cretella’s statement doesn’t even reference transgenderism or gender transition surgery specifically.
But, it seems, a YouTube viewer reported it for hate speech anyway, and YouTube agreed with the designation.
YouTube began an effort to scrub “hate speech” from its platform last year, and added a description of “hate speech” to its terms and conditions: “Hate speech is not allowed on YouTube. We remove content promoting violence or hatred against individuals or groups based on any of the following attributes.” Those attributes include “Gender Identity and Expression” and “Sex/Gender.” Since then, the company has been adding categories to what it considers “hate speech,” including statements that claim one group is superior.
The Daily Signal says they “agree with the spirit behind YouTube’s hate speech policy,” and that they believe “transgender individuals, and any individual struggling with gender identity issues, should be treated with love and respect.” They also say that “private companies, including YouTube, should be allowed to set and enforce their own rules.”
They do not believe that Cretella’s statement rises to the level of “hate speech,” and they do believe that consumers have the right to protest what they believe to be unfair treatment.
YouTube has met with criticism over its censorship policies from both the left and the right. Recent changes to YouTube’s hate speech criteria have resulted in educational videos being removed and ever-expanding “hate speech” categories. The issue of policing hundreds of hours of video uploaded every minute, however, makes enforcing any type of “hate speech” code shockingly difficult.