A recent interview featuring presidential contender Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was deleted by YouTube for allegedly promoting vaccine “misinformation.”
Kennedy appeared on the June 5 episode of the “Jordan B. Peterson Podcast” to discuss an array of topics, including his campaign, vaccines, the environment, and gender dysphoria. Weeks later, he discovered that the episode had been removed.
“What do you think … Should social media platforms censor presidential candidates? My conversation with @JordanBPeterson was deleted by @YouTube,” the Democrat posted on Twitter on June 18.
What do you think … Should social media platforms censor presidential candidates? My conversation with @JordanBPeterson was deleted by @YouTube. Luckily you can watch it here on @Twitter (thank you @elonmusk). #Kennedy24https://t.co/PJFKWH6zmd
— Robert F. Kennedy Jr (@RobertKennedyJr) June 18, 2023
In an emailed statement, a YouTube spokesperson clarified that the interview had violated the platform’s vaccine misinformation policy.
“We removed a video from the Jordan Peterson channel for violating YouTube’s general vaccine misinformation policy, which prohibits content that alleges that vaccines cause chronic side effects, outside of rare side effects that are recognized by health authorities,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson added that YouTube’s Community Guidelines “apply equally to all creators on our platform, regardless of political viewpoint.”
The company did not respond to a request for further details as to which statements violated the cited policy, but according to Kennedy’s campaign, no such violation took place.
“The passage in question did not make direct claims about vaccines per se; it was a conversation about the vaccine conversation,” his campaign told The Epoch Times in an email. “YouTube has made the entire topic verboten—at least when it is broached by people who do not share the orthodox viewpoint.”
YouTube is not the first digital media platform to censor Kennedy, an outspoken skeptic of the COVID-19 vaccines. Until as recently as June 4, he was banned from Instagram, and he remains banned from TikTok.
Decrying the latest attempt to silence his views as election interference, the candidate asked his followers on Twitter: “Do you really need Big Tech censors to decide what you should hear? Or would you prefer to be treated as a competent adult who can listen to various viewpoints and come to his or her own conclusions?”
He also urged his supporters to voice their opinions of his de-platforming on YouTube. “That’s democracy in action!”
For years, Kennedy has been a well-known skeptic of the safety of vaccines in general. But amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he became a leading voice among those who were wary of the potential side effects of the jabs.
During the interview, Peterson asked Kennedy for his perspective on why Democrats, who had traditionally opposed the pharmaceutical industry, abandoned that long-held skepticism during the pandemic to push vaccines on the public.
Tracing the party’s general shift toward the pharmaceutical industry back to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Kennedy said attitudes on vaccines really began to change during former President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
“During his campaign, on several occasions, he mentioned that he believed that vaccines were causing autism,” he said. “And this was completely anecdotal to him. He had three friends who were women who were mothers whose children had been completely healthy and had … lost their language, and had regressed into stereotypical behavior associated with autism after receiving MMR [measles, mumps, rubella] vaccines.”
Because Trump took that stance, Kennedy said leading Democrats felt forced to align themselves with the opposite position, making vaccine support a “tribal issue.”
“If you thought vaccines caused autism, it made you a Republican, and if you thought they definitely did not and that’s been proven beyond any doubt, you were a Democrat. And there was no in-between, there was no dialogue, there was no room for dissent or debate.”
The Democrat also recounted two instances where news stories he was involved with that reflected negatively on vaccines were killed by leadership at major news outlets.
In the latter case, he said he had worked for weeks with Jake Tapper, now an anchor at CNN, to develop a documentary for ABC on a secret meeting between 75 vaccine manufacturers about “how to hide from the American public the links between autism and vaccines.”
But while Tapper was reportedly excited about the project, upper management was not.
“The night before the piece was supposed to run, he called me up and said, ‘The piece just got killed by corporate. All my career, I have never had a piece killed by corporate and I’m so mad.’”
Kennedy said he tried to reach Tapper again the next day but the reporter “went dark” and he hasn’t heard from him since.
‘Soup of Toxic Chemicals’
Another taboo topic Kennedy touched on with Peterson was gender dysphoria—a subject that arose in response to Peterson’s claim that climate alarmism was taking a toll on children’s mental health.
“The apocalyptic climate narrative [that] we’re destroying the planet and doom is nigh has demoralized young people to a degree that’s almost incomprehensible,” Peterson said, linking that narrative to rising rates of depression and anxiety among young people.
Kennedy, a long-time environmentalist, said he believed there was no single cause for those rates.
However, he added, “I think a lot of the problems we see in kids—and particularly boys—it’s probably under-appreciated how much of that is coming from chemical exposures, including a lot of the sexual dysphoria that we’re seeing.”
Kids today, Kennedy said, are “swimming through a soup of toxic chemicals,” including endocrine disruptors, which interfere with the body’s production of hormones.
According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, one such chemical is atrazine, a common herbicide that Kennedy said can be found “throughout our water supply.”
A 2010 study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley found that frogs exposed to atrazine in a tank experienced chemical castration and complete feminization to the point where 10 percent of the male frogs developed into functional females that produced viable eggs.
Citing that study, Kennedy said, “If it’s doing that to frogs, there’s a lot of other evidence that it’s doing it to human beings as well.”
Over the years, Kennedy has faced widespread censorship for his views—a fact he pointed out in the interview.
“I’ve been censored in the corporate media for 18 years,” Kennedy noted. “So, since 2005, I’ve been actively censored, not just for vaccine articles but for all of my articles.”
While he added that his exclusion from traditional media had increased gradually over the past two decades, he stressed that it had now reached the level of “wall-to-wall censorship.”
“Particularly during … the last three years, we’ve had to figure out ways to get around that censorship. And so, we’ve done that by using non-traditional media.”
But during the COVID-19 pandemic, those non-traditional outlets, like social media platforms, became more restrictive regarding what speech they considered permissible to post. Instagram, for example, banned Kennedy’s account, cutting him off from his more than 1 million followers.
In fact, it was only after he drew attention to his continued suspension on June 1 via Twitter that Instagram reinstated his account on June 4.
Twitter, Kennedy said, was one of the few places where he had recently found refuge following Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s takeover of the company late last year.
“During the pandemic, I was mainly posting, you know, kitty cats and rainbows and unicorns because … if I talked about what I was thinking about, I would’ve been de-platformed. But once Elon took over, they unshackled me.”
YouTube was another platform Kennedy said he was wary of. Ironically, Peterson said the video-sharing website had been “completely hands-off” with his content.
“YouTube has left me alone,” Peterson said. “It’s quite surprising because I’ve said things many times that, in principle, should have got me in trouble on YouTube, but they haven’t even put any strikes against my channel.”
Two weeks later, that would seem to no longer be the case, as according to Peterson, the platform has also removed his interviews with The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh and Irish journalist and author Helen Joyce.
Commenting on the removal of his June 5 podcast via Twitter, Peterson accused YouTube of interfering with Kennedy’s presidential campaign and criticized the “legacy media” for their silence on the matter.
“If there were any real journalists left among the legacy media they’d be up in arms about this,” he said.
“If they don’t think the commissars at @YouTube will sell them out in a second when the tables inevitably turn they’re either terminally naive or wilfully blind.”
From The Epoch Times