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YouTube refuses to remove 2014 YG track, despite staff protests

By | Published on Wednesday 31 March 2021


YouTube has been criticised by members of its own staff after refusing to remove a video featuring YG’s 2014 track ‘Meet The Flockers’.

Internal requests to block the video were made in the wake of a surge in violence against Asian-Americans in the US. ‘Meet The Flockers’ provides instructions for carrying out a successful burglary, beginning with the recommendation that would-be thieves should “find a Chinese neighbourhood, cos they don’t believe in bank accounts”.

The company’s Trust & Safety department announced in an email to staff earlier this month that it was declining the internal request to remove a video containing the track, according to Bloomberg.

While agreeing that the track is “highly offensive”, the department added: “One of the biggest challenges of working in Trust & Safety is that sometimes we have to leave up content we disagree with or find offensive”.

It said that while the lyrics did violate the company’s wider policies on hate speech and the promotion of violence, “sometimes videos that otherwise violate our policies are allowed to stay up if they have educational, documentary, scientific or artistic context”.

Therefore, it went on: “Removing this video would have far-reaching implications for other musical content containing similarly violent or offensive lyrics, in genres ranging from rap to rock. While we debated this decision at length amongst our policy experts, we made the difficult decision to leave the video up to enforce our policy consistently and avoid setting a precedent that may lead to us having to remove a lot of other music on YouTube”.

Following a negative response to the memo from employees, executives agreed to hold a townhall meeting, chaired by YouTube’s Head Of Diversity And Inclusion Stephen Golden, which took place on Thursday last week. However, that only seems to have whipped up more anger. According to Bloomberg, there was particular criticism of one executive for bringing up that his wife is Asian-American.

This is not the first time controversy has arisen around the track. In 2016, the were wide calls for YouTube to remove the track from its platform, and for YG and his label Def Jam to denounce it.