YouTube took down a popular music video criticizing the Biden administration for it’s disastrous handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal.
The video for “Blood on My Hands,” released by singer-songwriter John Ondrasik, was taken down Friday over violations of YouTube’s “graphic content policy.” “I have just received notification that @YouTube has taken down the Blood on My Hands – White House Docu-Music video,” Ondrasik tweeted Friday in response to the video being taken down. The video contains several images from news reports showing individuals allegedly wounded or killed by Taliban forces in the region.
Ondrasik also included a long-form statement in the tweet. “Before posting, I placed a ‘Graphic Warning’ disclaimer at the front of the video to let the audience know that the content would not be suitable for younger audiences due to images of Taliban atrocities,” Ondrasik wrote. “YouTube reviewed the video and inserted a child content restriction which I appreciated and found appropriate.”
“The video has since gone viral with over 250,000 digital video hits and is resonating, particularly with Veterans and Afghans worldwide. Today (5 days later) Youtube has taken down the video due to a violation of ‘Graphic Content Policy,'” Ondrasic added.
“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,” he continued. “That YouTube took down the video after 5 days, as it was growing in reach, should concern anyone who values free speech and advocacy for humanitarian causes.”
“Finally, the fact that within 5 minutes, I found many YouTube videos containing similar Taliban atrocities, that YouTube is monetizing, gives me cause to ask YouTube for an explanation. Better, I would ask then to repost the video that is raising money for the private organizations rescuing high risk Afghans, Veteran’s wellness charities, and Afghan refugee foundations, while bringing attention to a population that is starving, desperate, and under seige,” he concluded.
— John Ondrasik (@johnondrasik) January 7, 2022
Youtube has since responded to Ondrasik’s tweet. “Following up: this was our mistake & we’ve reinstated your video. So sorry this happened and thanks for being patient while we worked this out. “Following up: this was our mistake & we’ve reinstated your video. So sorry this happened and thanks for being patient while we worked this out,” YouTube tweeted to Ondrasik in response.
Following up: this was our mistake & we’ve reinstated your video. So sorry this happened and thanks for being patient while we worked this out. 🙏
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) January 7, 2022
As of the publishing of this article, the video has been reinstated, with the age restriction.
Ondrasik, who is also known by his stage name Five for Fighting, is a Grammy-nominated singer who is best known for the pop ballads “Superman” and “100 Years.” Both songs were Billboard Top 40 hits in the early 2000s.
In a blog post on his website, Ondrasik explained the inspiration for writing the song:
Like all Americans, I was stunned and horrified at the images of falling bodies from planes, mothers handing babies over walls, and terrified Afghans being crushed to death at checkpoints due to our precipitous withdrawal from Afghanistan. I am deeply troubled by the plight of Afghan women forced to live under the return of Taliban rule and felt great sadness when reading a story about a popular folk singer, Fawad Andarabi, being dragged from his home and shot by the Taliban…
On the day 13 of our soldiers and over 60 Afghans were killed by a suicide bomber I sat down to write this song. After our last solider left Afghanistan, I received a call from a friend organizing rescue evacs of “AM-CITS” and SIV holders. It was a highly emotional call and moment of clarity. Private citizens now had the burden of risking their lives to rescue Americans and Afghan allies that our government left behind. America has broken her promise, but these brave Americans have not.
America was built on the foundational freedom to criticize one’s leaders and hold them accountable. It is what separates us from our communist and dictatorship adversaries. How else can we as a nation learn from our mistakes and make better decisions moving forward without honest reflection on our actions? To date, I have not seen that accountability.
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