Russell Brand accused YouTube of hypocrisy on Tuesday after the platform censored one of his videos.
One of Brand’s videos was removed from YouTube, which cited “misinformation” as the reason. In a separate video, Brand took a moment to explain his error. He then showed a clip from a mainstream media outlet that remains active on YouTube but, Brand claimed, should have been removed if the platform’s standards were fairly enforced.
I’ve been censored on Youtube 🧵 pic.twitter.com/2JwGFzdXY6
— Russell Brand (@rustyrockets) September 27, 2022
“We have been officially censored by YouTube. They took down one of our videos for misinformation, but why are big media organizations not censored for misinformation in the same way?” Brand said in a video posted to his Twitter account.
“Is it because YouTube are part of the mainstream media now?” Brand asked.
“Earlier this month we did a video about the changing narratives around COVID, the pandemic and COVID treatments, in which we cited information on official government websites, which we misinterpreted,” he said. Brand explained that his error was claiming that the National Institutes of Health were “recommending” a particular COVID treatment when in fact the NIH was merely “trialing” the treatment.
Brand appears to have been referring to ivermectin, an anti-parasitic medication that skeptics of the COVID-19 vaccines suggested as an alternative treatment for the virus despite statements from public health authorities discouraging the practice. Check Your Fact, an affiliate of the Daily Caller, concluded in September that claims that the NIH had approved ivermectin to treat the virus were “misleading.” The NIH website states that ivermectin “is being evaluated to treat COVID-19.”
Brand added that he had issued an apology video immediately upon realizing the error. YouTube removed the first video and issued an official warning to Brand’s account. Brand then removed the apology video, citing concerns that he might incur further penalties from YouTube if he happened “to reiterate the claim while apologizing for it.”
The original video is available on right-wing video hosting platform Rumble, but it contains no mention of the NIH and is 12 minutes and seven seconds long, compared to the 14 minute and 51 second version shown in a screenshot from his Twitter video, suggesting that Brand cut the offending section before uploading the video to Rumble. Brand also said he plans to continue posting his material to Rumble in the future.
“That’s the reason we’re joining them: because they’re not going to censor our content,” Brand said. (RELATED: KOLB: Some Online Censorship Is Necessary To Protect Against Truly Harmful Speech)
“We made an error — in my opinion a relatively small error — and we’re being penalized. To me, that looks like censorship,” he added.
Brand then shared a clip that aired on MSNBC in March 2021 which anchor Rachel Maddow claimed people vaccinated against COVID do not get sick and do not pass the virus to others. This clip remains accessible on YouTube despite the fact that it discounts the possibility of breakthrough infections, which became widespread after the Omicron strain hit the U.S. in late 2021, according to Fox News.
“The reason I think that looks like censorship is that there’s mainstream media misinformation up all the time,” Brand said.