Youtube has taken down a music video that criticized President Joe Biden for the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan because the clip included graphic images of violence from the Taliban.
Grammy-nominated singer John Ondrasik's song, "Blood on My Hands," had more than 250,000 views before its removal, a move the singer claimed was an attempt to stifle free speech.
The video referred to Biden as "Uncle Joe," Secretary of State Antony Blinken as "Winkin' Blinken" and Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley as "Willy Milley.'"
Ondrasik shared to Twitter the news that his video had been taken down and included a statement about the incident.
"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," he said in his statement. "YouTube reviewed the video and inserted a child content restriction which I appreciated and found appropriate."
I have just received notification that @YouTube has taken down the Blood on My Hands - White House Docu-Music video. pic.twitter.com/SIFy13ftE4— John Ondrasik (@johnondrasik) January 7, 2022
He noted that Youtube censored the video, as it was racking up views, over its violation of the platform's "graphic content policy," just five days after the clip was posted.
The singer said Youtube's attempt to censor him was a "gross injustice" and a danger to anyone who values the freedom of expression.
"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," Ondrasik said. "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."
He also pointed out that a number of other videos on Youtube, which the platform is monetizing, included imagery of "similar Taliban atrocities" and emphasized that his video had been raising money for private organizations rescuing high-risk Afghans, Veteran's wellness charities and Afghan refugee foundations.
Youtube later responded to Ondrasik's tweet, saying that the removal of the video was made in error and that it had been reinstated.
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