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King 810’s “Killem All” Banned from YouTube After Being Classified as “Hate Speech”

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You would think that if King 810’s music were ever banned from someplace, it would be for being terrible and/or refusing to leave its gun at home. But Rock Feed reports that King 810’s “Killem All” has been banned from YouTube for an entirely different reason: the streaming video service has classified the song as “hate speech.”

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Frontman David Gunn took to social media to simultaneously complain, vastly diminish what qualifies as a “tragedy,” and demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of the First Amendment:

“Logged into @youtube this morning to this tragedy. Youtube claiming to encourage free speech but removing content they arbitrarily pin as “hate speech.” This is music and artistic expression. The song and video are social commentary. Youtube you would not even exist as a company if they removed all things anyone may consider ‘hate speech.’ We as a people have made this a very large very rich company. I understand this is a for profit company with a policy and an agenda but its a bit dangerous when giants like Youtube and @google censor information and art only to expose us to cherry picked pieces consistent with their own views. Especially when we rely on them from day to day. This is something people should be aware and concerned about.”

There are a couple of different arguments to be made as to why “Killem All” shouldn’t be banned from YouTube, such as what makes it hate speech (the lyrics are certainly violent, but the band’s ire doesn’t seem to be directed at anyone on account of that person’s race, gender, or religion), or what makes it more offensive than, say, Varg Vikernes videos about the benefits of eugenics.

Instead, Gunn fell back on a specious argument that we keep hearing again and again and again these days, which basically amounts to “My Saved by the Bell-level interpretation of the United States Constitution, which I have never read, tells me that this is a violation of free speech.” Which it isn’t, actually.

Let’s all read the First Amendment together now, shall we?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

As you can see, the First Amendment dictates that “Congress” and, by extension, “the Government,” are not allowed to limit what people can or cannot say. That is not the same thing as granting everyone the right to say whatever they want whenever they want wherever they want. If a non-governmental entity like YouTube decides it doesn’t want to help disseminate certain content, that’s their right. It’s why, for example, YouTube isn’t full of porn. They’re not restricting the freedom of speech of adult entertainers. They’re saying “This is inappropriate for our platform.”

Now, if Congress were to tell YouTube “You can’t have King 810 videos,” or were to tell King 810 “You can’t sing these lyrics,” that would be a violation of the First Amendment.

But they didn’t. So it’s not.

Perhaps Gunn can take some comfort knowing that a) this is very good publicity for a band whose success rides largely on being perceived as dangerous and rebellious, and b) not every instance of “Killem All” has been scrubbed from YouTube… yet.

Logged into @youtube this morning to this tragedy. Youtube claiming to encourage free speech but removing content they arbitrarily pin as "hate speech." This is music and artistic expression. The song and video are social commentary. Youtube you would not even exist as a company if they removed all things anyone may consider "hate speech." We as a people have made this a very large very rich company. I understand this is a for profit company with a policy and an agenda but its a bit dangerous when giants like Youtube and @google censor information and art only to expose us to cherry picked pieces consistent with their own views. Especially when we rely on them from day to day. This is something people should be aware and concerned about. – @dkgunn

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