YouTube Censors Pro-Marijuana Law Reform Video, More Pro-Prop. 19 Videos

As first reported yesterday afternoon on SouthFloridaGayNews, Google’s YouTube has decided to censor the well done and catchy pro-Prop. 19 musical parody by entertainer Steve Berke after less than 48 hours of the Eminem and Rihanna music video parody going viral on the Internet—garnering over 108,000 views after NORML highlighted the video this past Monday.

NORML protests YouTube’s removal of a non-controversial, political advertisement that encourages California citizens who’re voting on Tuesday to come out en mass to vote ‘yes’ on the country’s most important cannabis legalization initiative to date.

Well…if the overlords of public discourse at YouTube didn’t like Mr. Berke’s creativity and support for Prop. 19, what will they do with country music performer Colt Jackson’s video in support of cannabis legalization?

Or, short filmmakers Fordy Shoor’s and Garth Von Ahnen’s Reefer Madness inspired sci-fi narrative that takes a mocking opposition to Prop. 19. Will YouTube’s censors get the comedy and sense of irony, and build a password wall around it, or allow it to stay up misunderstanding that the animation does not support Cannabis Prohibition?

Away from YouTube’s prying eyes, comedian and cannabis law reform supporter Rob Cantrell’s new Pro-Prop. 19 video spoofs US Army legend General Patton as ‘General Potton’?

NORML encourages other like-minded citizens and organizations to contact YouTube and tell them to stop censoring Steve Berke’s ‘Should Be Legalized’ video and let it—along with all other pro-cannabis law reform videos—continue to gather public attention and support for the underlying political message: Let’s end 74-year of Cannabis Prohibition in America!

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YouTube Censors Pro Prop 19 Political Campaign, Comedian’s Video Supports Pro Pot Legalization Drive

Miami Beach, FL (Oct 26th, 2010) Last week, comedian Steve Berke launched an online political campaign in support of Proposition 19 in California with the recent release of his latest music video, “Should Be Legalized”, a political commentary on Eminem’s music video “Love The Way You Lie.”

The campaign, supported by NORML (National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws) was generating huge internet buzz, and had amassed 108,000 views within 2 days, when YouTube flagged it for being offensive, thus requiring users to login to view the video, killing the video’s chance at becoming viral.

“We were on pace to reach 1 million views within a week, and our video was rallying supporters of Prop 19 and decriminalization in every state that had it on the ballot. Then YouTube flagged us for being offensive and killed any chance we had at reaching our potential audience. Their censorship of this video is similar to the Internet censorship that takes place in repressive countries like North Korea and China.”

YouTube failed to give any reason to Berke for flagging the video and it is presently inaccessible to the vast majority of worldwide. “The flagging system does not have a system of recourse and re-review,” stated Berke.

Fort Lauderdale attorney Norm Kent, on the Board of Directors at NORML, is among those who are outraged. “We will not let YouTube squash a vibrant political campaign the week before the historic November 2nd elections.

Videos of rapper Snoop Dogg smoking marijuana are not flagged as offensive, but a song that merely names him as a marijuana user is? YouTube is effectively freezing a viral political movement as it gains momentum in time for a critical vote. They must remove the flag. If they do not, we will pursue the matter further until they do.”

NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre adds, “YouTube’s building a wall around Steve Berke’s video makes no sense in light of dozens of other videos that depict normal cannabis use. YouTube, whether it means to or not, is stifling legitimate political discourse regarding an important initiative vote in California next week that seeks to legalize and tax cannabis.”

“I just don’t understand it,” said Berke. “People smoking marijuana in videos on YouTube go unflagged, but our video, that involves actors merely pretending to smoke marijuana as political satire, is flagged immediately.”

“In Eminem’s video, alcohol abuse, spousal abuse, sexual assault, arson and murder are all prevalent and the video is not censored in any way. In fact, YouTube runs ads against it, not only profiting off the video, but also making it viewable to all ages at all times,” Berke added.

The link to Eminem’s “Love The Way You Lie” is here.

The link to Berke’s “Should Be Legalized” is here.

42 thoughts

  1. this is just a sign we are winning, the enemy will always fight hardest when their back is against the wall.

    the enemy is scared they know they have all but lost. on Nov. 2nd we will have our d-day.
    on Nov 2nd it will be the beginning of the end for prohibition.

  2. Youtube, what the heck?! Youtube is jam packed with weed videos of every sort. They only seem to censor the political ones.

  3. I am not surprised by this. I’ve seen some other pro-marijuana videos get popular in a hurry, but never appeared in You Tube’s promo panels. I don’t know about any anti-marijuana ads there because I use Ad Block Pro for Firefox.

    We need an alternative to You Tube, one that does not censor pro-marijuana videos to keep them from reaching the Most Popular featured videos spot.

  4. I aint surprised about youtube’s censorship problem considering that theyve also failed to regulate the abuses by bible thumpers and homohaters on there.

    After about a year of it, I closed my account with them.

    They dont listen and theyve shown that they dont care.

  5. SUE THEM !!

    1. it is the only thing that will get their attention.

    2. the lawsuit will get additional media publicity for the video and prop 19.

    3. be prepared to sue california for vote-rigging if prop 19 does not pass.

  6. There should be mass protests if prop 19 doesnt pass. The polls show they will lose we will win…..There should be mass protests anyway…government is criminal.

  7. It’s quite questionable whether pot-phobic hypocrites have ever reached the age of reason. But – even more questionable is why we even listen [hear] to them at all – why we lend any credence to their phobia whatsoever – “Their hysteria is theirs.” Where before – we pushed on their walls – they now push on our walls. We have taken the positive position – rightfully so. What goes around – comes around – and – now it’s their turn to feel like lepers. They dished it out – now – let’s see if they can take it!

  8. Youtube has become a bit absurd with the censorship what do we live in China now? It’s appalling. Makes me not want to visit that site anymore …

  9. And when I went to sign in they would not allow me to have a youtube membership. Weird, since I am a 45 year old women. What the hell?

  10. Its funny how they will allow people like Marijuana man take massive bong rips on there but not allow those music videos.

  11. I’m curious as to why Youtube/Google decided to block this in the first place when other pot videos are so prolific on the site. To me, it smacks of federal tampering and intimidation. I simply don’t buy that a company with such a strong anti-censorship stance would do such a drastic 180 over an issue that it clearly has never had a problem with before.

  12. Seriously though, there’s got to be someone pulling the strings from behind the scene. The feds’ most potent resource is their ability to wage a shadow war against us.

  13. Guys on the new Should be legalized censored version people are saying that there face book accounts are being suspended for posting the orginal video.

  14. I posted this on the youtube page for the video as well as the poster’s page: One of the comments mentioned the tagged words for the video and autoflagging spam. This may have happened to this video because the last 3 tagged words are supposed to be “Dank ass shit” but the site reads them as “Dank” + “ass” + “shit” They might be tags commonly used on spam

  15. Close your eyes and dream

    Proposition 19 MARKs The beginning

    19 is that place where ‘WE THE People Proclaim The End of The Drug War.

    Proposition 19 sends all the business interests (drug cops, tough prosecutors,
    privatazed prison Industries back where they wonder

  16. I just went to youtube and looked up the video. You can still watch it, you just have to log in to prove you’re 18 because it “was flagged inappropriate”

    I think you guys may have your facts wrong (for the first and only time of course)

    [Editor’s note: Your point is well taken. However, Mr. Berke’s lament, as is most of ours, is that by YouTube flagging the video it largely stops the viral movement of the video across different Internet platforms and social networks with the log-in first impediment.]

  17. Norml, why is it that all the polling has turned to the NO on Prop 19 side so recently? The yes side has been leading in the polls for months but things seemed to change in the past week or two. Has the no side been advertising more than the yes side? The yes side has way more money so they should not be out spending us. Your idea’s as to what is going on? Do we have a chance to flip the polls back on our side in the last few days?

    [Paul Armentano responds: The key is, and will be, voter turnout this Tuesday.]

  18. Hoops,the only thing the prohibs have left are more hoops to jump through.
    But there is no stopping this train and if the our congress wants to save a quick billion dollars they need to get to debating one of those legalization bills laying around congress that they ignore,year after year.
    And they need to act asap,,,,,,5 days and America’s
    “Berlin wall” is going to receive it’s first fracture.

  19. Google owns YouTube, right?
    Oh well, another website I won’t be visiting.
    Now to send a real, postage stamp stuck letter to YT telling them I am leaving and they can kiss my ass.

  20. Shucks, I never thought the Google people would land up being such squares. For years I was under the impression that they were a really cool, innovative bunch of heads. Wrong, wrong….

  21. Ok this is unbelievable, to the point that it is almost fucked up. There’s NO WAY that this video got flagged as inappropriate on YouTube when I’ve seen a video of a guerrilla grower show off his crop. Or the “Cooking with Marijuana” guys show you how to make canna-butter in detail. I think I’ve seen YouTube videos on how to make crack and crystal meth, so this is just basically someone paying someone to do something very shady, and un-American.

  22. that is so stupid. they prohibit pro legalization videos but they have grow videos all over youtube. type in grow marijuana and get a 1000 videos up.

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