UPDATE – 6/15/2015: Despite denying an appeal on the video’s removal, YouTube has now restored the original along with the view count it had when it was pulled. No explanation or communication has been offered for the reversal of their previous decision.
Truly bizarre behavior. Here’s the video:
You may recall the video we posted back in April from Michael Chang from Mighty.la, the Los Angeles filmmaker who created it. It was entitled “A Letter From the People of the Cross to Isis,” and it offered an uplifting, loving, courageous response from Christians to the members of ISIS who have been slaughtering our own.
It was beautifully done, and became a viral sensation overnight. Because we featured the video early on, our website — along with Michael’s video — got picked up on Fox News for two nights in a row. Here’s a clip:
But today I got a message from Michael I couldn’t believe:
The letter to ISIS video got taken down and flagged for inappropriate content … this makes no sense. Could you lift up a prayer for me? I tried appealing through youtube. I feel like the enemy is against this video.
When I asked him when this happened and what reason they gave, he said:
They notified me 2 hours ago and I just appealed. I could only type a few sentences on the reason why I thought it was wrongfully pulled down because there was a word limit.
But there was no specific reason given. Only boilerplate:
The YouTube community flagged one or more of your videos as inappropriate. After reviewing the content, we’ve determined that the videos violate our Community Guidelines. As a result, we removed the following videos from YouTube:
- “Who Would Dare to Love ISIS? (A Letter from the People of the Cross)” (https://youtu.be/uSv4vBcFyvo)
If a video contains violent or graphic content that appears to be posted in a shocking, sensational, or disrespectful manner, it’s less likely to be allowed on YouTube. We also don’t allow content that’s intended to incite violence or encourage dangerous activities. We review content on a case by case basis and will only make limited exceptions for appropriate educational, documentary, artistic, and scientific contexts, where the purpose of posting is clear.
In light of this, we ask that uploaders post as much information as possible in the title and description of their video to help us and viewers understand the primary purpose of the video. Please note, even with this additional context, it’s still not acceptable to post violent or gory content that’s primarily intended to be shocking, sensational, or disrespectful and this type of content is prohibited on YouTube. Learn more here.
Your account has received one Community Guidelines strike, which will expire in six months. Additional violations could prevent you from posting content to YouTube or even lead to your account getting terminated.
For more information about Community Guidelines strikes, please visit our Help Center. Please note that deleting this video will not resolve the strike on your account. For more information about how to appeal a strike, please visit this page in the Help Center.
Michael has appealed this decision, but the message clearly indicates that this was not just an automated flagging situation. “After reviewing the content,” YouTube wrote, “we’ve determined that the videos violate our Community Guidelines.”
I call bull.
In a brief search, I found videos depicting ISIS members shooting people in the head, an ISIS prisoner digging his own grave, the bodies of children slaughtered by ISIS, and ISIS soldiers blowing up a young man tied to a pole with an RPG. Several videos also contain threats from ISIS to America.
Why is it that these videos are online — arguably all in violation of the Youtube TOS — but Michael’s video, which shows a love for even the most vile Islamic fighters and a desire for their conversion and salvation, isn’t?
We’re waiting to hear back on his appeal, which he made earlier today. Until then, feel free to contact Youtube and let them know you’d like to see the video put back online.
Originally posted on June 1, 2015; re-posted with update on June 15, 2015.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have eight children. You can find more of his writing at his Substack, The Skojec File.