We Are Suing YouTube for Censoring Our Videos
Dear Freedom Lover,
In case you haven’t heard of us, PragerU is a conservative educational non-profit that reaches millions of young people on the internet every day. PragerU was founded by nationally-syndicated radio host and bestselling author Dennis Prager. I’m writing to you because PragerU recently filed a lawsuit against video giant YouTube for its systematic censorship of our videos.
YouTube has chosen repeatedly to restrict and/or demonetize 50 PragerU videos for violating their “Community Guidelines.” Those guidelines are meant to protect users against viewing sexual content, violent or graphic content, and hate speech.
If you’ve seen any PragerU videos, you know as well as I do that they contain nothing even remotely close to any of these categories.
YouTube has restricted videos on topics ranging from religion to the history of the Korean War to free speech on college campuses. Some of the restricted titles include:
Why Did America Fight the Korean War? Presented by scholar Victor Davis Hanson
Israel’s Legal Founding, presented by scholar and author Alan Dershowitz
Is Islam a Religion of Peace, presented by author Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Why America Must Lead, presented by Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Denmark’s former Prime Minister
Why America Invaded Iraq presented by noted historian, Andrew Roberts
Not exactly “sexual content, violent or graphic content, and hate speech.”
More than a year ago, when we discovered what YouTube was up to, we filed a complaint with them, hoping that this was some kind of innocent mistake.
That’s when we were told by YouTube that after reviewing our videos they determined that our videos were indeed “not appropriate for a younger audience.” Of course, we have this in writing.
Think about the millions of actually inappropriate videos on YouTube and then ask yourself, “Why are PragerU’s educational videos restricted?”
The answer is rather obvious, isn’t it? YouTube has restricted PragerU videos for only one reason: Ideological discrimination.
Of course, YouTube is owned by Google, which was founded to, ironically, “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
YouTube has made some of our most important videos inaccessible to the very audience PragerU seeks to reach: young people.
Let me be clear: they don’t like what we teach and so they intend to stop us from teaching it. This kind of censorship is what we have seen on college campuses for years. But it is far more dangerous in this circumstance because the internet is where the world goes to get informed.
Can you imagine if the left owned the internet the way they own our universities?
Can you imagine what the world would look like if Google is allowed to continue to arbitrarily censor ideas they simply don’t agree with?
Well, this is why PragerU filed suit against YouTube and Google. We are not fighting this only for PragerU—we are taking this on for America and for freedom of speech in general.
Fighting back against Google was not an easy decision for PragerU.
Over the summer, former Governor of California Pete Wilson — who has been a longtime supporter of PragerU — approached us and said: “We have to sue them. Google is hubris.”
Those words weighed heavily on our entire team as we considered our options.
We of course knew that a fight with Google would be hugely difficult and costly, and we hated the idea of deploying energy and resources away from producing more content and reaching new audiences. We simply couldn’t do that.
So, before taking any such action, we decided to try one final diplomatic approach. On the one-year anniversary of Google blocking our content—or the “BANniversary” as we had come to call it—we renewed our complaints to YouTube and re-circulated an online petition urging Google to change course. Many articles have been written and many people, including many very prominent and influential people, rallied in support of our cause. To date, over 400,000 people have added their names to our petition.
What was the result of our efforts?
Nothing. YouTube ignored us. In fact, they have since restricted dozens more PragerU videos.
With our hands tied, we knew Governor Wilson was right -- Google’s hubris had to be challenged.
So, we have built an all-star legal team, including Governor Wilson’s Law Firm, Eric George, Alan Dershowitz, Barak Lurie, Kelly Shackelford, Mat Staver, and more.
It’s an impressive group, because this is an important case; not only for PragerU, but for the fundamental American right to freedom of speech.
But this is not going to be easy, and it isn’t going to be cheap.
Despite the fact that our amazing attorneys have agreed to reasonably cap their legal fees, there will be additional personnel, research, marketing, and public relations costs to PragerU.
This case will be tried in the court of public opinion as much as in the courtroom, and we intend to win on both fronts.
However, PragerU cannot deplete its operating budget to fight this case. Thanks to our thousands of generous supporters, PragerU has reached more than 1-out-of-4 Americans on the internet. Sixty-three percent of them are under 34. We plan to continue to focus on this growth and reach 3 out of 4 Americans. We can’t let up now.
We are fully committed to the lawsuit but we won’t let Google slow down PragerU growth.
This is why PragerU’s board of directors and many staff members have donated—in addition to our annual gift—to our “YouTube Action Fund.”
Now, here is how you can help:
If you think this fight is important please support us in whatever way you can.
It seems like a lot to ask…until you consider how much we have to lose.
Perhaps Goliath could teach Google a little bit about where hubris leads... when a David comes slinging.
Thank you, and God bless you.