UPDATED 7/8/15 10:53 AM EST: As we suspected, the video wasn’t removed because it was too controversial, it was flagged because Comfort had put tags in the metadata — a violation of YouTube’s terms regarding spam and whatnot. The video has since been reuploaded and Comfort has apologized to YouTube.
YouTube, based on their past experiences, has been a pretty hard proponent of free speech, so it would be a genuine shock if they removed a video from their site based purely on not agreeing with the mindset of the content.
The trailer, for a movie called Audacity, in which the filmmaker Ray Comfort challenges the assertion that people are born gay, was posted to Comfort’s YouTube account, Living Waters, only to be flagged and removed.
When Comfort contacted the Google press team, they allegedly gave him their boilerplate answer: “While we don’t comment on individual videos, YouTube does have strict spam and metadata policies. If a video is flagged by our community that violates these policies it is removed.”
“This is such an irony,” Comfort said to WND.com. “Last year YouTube sent us a trophy which said ‘Congratulations for Surpassing 100,000 Subscribers.’ So I suspect that someone within their company with a differing worldview watched it, and didn’t like what they saw.”
Previously, YouTube has gone to court over maintaining their right to broadcast another religious movie trailer — this one against Muslims. The film footage for The Innocence of Muslims portrayed Muslim prophet Muhammad in an unflattering light, which allegedly lead to protests and deaths in Egypt and other strongly Muslim countries. And yet, YouTube had to be forced to remove the footage by the 9th District Court of Appeals. It only returned sans the footage of the actress who brought the lawsuit.
The trailer for Audacity, a teaser, hints that the filmmaker has managed to find a way to make gays and gay supporters question their own comprehension of sexuality. The footage — if it is indeed the trailer that was flagged/removed — is hardly worth YouTube getting upset about. In fact, on Comfort’s YouTube channel, much of the footage is shown in other videos:
It leads me to speculate that, more likely, this is a cheap promotional stunt to drum up controversy and eyeballs.
If it is though, it seems to be working.