PragerU Sues Youtube and Google For Censoring Videos

Ilene Eng
By Ilene Eng
October 26, 2019US News

SAN JOSE, Calif.—PragerU is suing YouTube and Google for restricting some of their videos (pdf). Supporters for the non-profit educational media company gathered in front of the Superior Court of Santa Clara County for a hearing later in the day.

Restricted videos are categorized as content with pornography or violence, topics that PragerU does not focus on. This means that children with restricted mode enabled would not be able to see it.

When they asked YouTube why their videos were categorized as such, they were told their videos were not appropriate for young people.

“We have videos on the Ten Commandments, the history of the Korean War, the history of the Vietnam War, very educational, very appropriate videos. And started to realize they were targeting us because we’re conservative,” said Craig Strazzeri, Chief Marketing Officer of PragerU.

He said there are over 200 PragerU videos that are restricted.

NTD Photo
Zach Vorhies said Google’s principles to make the world’s information universally accessible and useful are no longer practiced at Santa Clara County Superior Court for PragerU’s lawsuit against YouTube and Google on Oct. 25, 2019. (Ilene Eng/NTD)
NTD Photo
People gathered in front of Santa Clara County Superior Court to support the PragerU lawsuit against YouTube and Google on Oct. 25, 2019. (Ilene Eng/NTD)

Strazzeri said they filed two lawsuits, one in federal court and one in the state.

The federal lawsuit filed in 2017 states that Google and YouTube are, “unlawfully censoring its educational videos and discriminating against its right to freedom of speech solely because of PragerU’s political identity and viewpoint as a non-profit that espouses conservative views on current and historical events.”

Since the lawsuits were filed, they’ve noticed more and more of their videos being restricted.

“So it’s like they’re punishing us for speaking out. And it’s unfortunate, but we’re going to keep speaking out because we need to do what’s right. We’re not doing this just for PragerU, we’re doing it for all Americans, for free speech, for everyone online,” said Strazzeri.

“It’s just a different point of view that really needs to get out and get across. And the fact that it’s being censored…it’s not unbelievable because we’ve faced this for years now. It makes sense to us, we see it all the time, but it’s un-American,” said Shenah Groom, co-founder of Concerned Parents of California.

“These big tech companies continue to sensor more and more conservative content and it’s really scary for anyone understands the importance of free speech in America,” said Strazzeri.

YouTube did not respond when we reached out for comment.

A Google whistleblower, Zach Vorhies, was present to support their motion.

“I’ve worked at the company for eight and a half years before seeing that they threw all of the principles making the world’s information universally accessible and useful. And they got rid of that mission statement in practice,” said Vorhies.

“This is a problem because they have a monopoly over the United States’ search system. Like when people say search, they mean Google search, right? On the Internet,” said Vorhies.

“These people cannot operate as a platform and operate as a publisher at the same time. Be one or be the other. But when you’re the other, you don’t get all the tax breaks, you don’t get all the free ride,” said Mike Mattingly, an advocate.

One child skipped school to show his support.

“Keep us from saying our freedom of speech, and I don’t think that’s right. They’re trying to shut down the First Amendment, that’s not cool,” said 12-year-old Lukerutt.

They started an online petition to free the 200-plus videos from restriction. As of now, they have over 660,000 signatures.

Strazzeri said they intend to win legally in the courtroom and in the court of public opinion.

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