Last Wednesday, I posted a YouTube documentary about porn star Calvin Banks. In the film, which we created during a tantric retreat in California, Calvin details his experience with sexual abuse – and how it has impacted his porn career and personal relationships. It’s a moving and powerful story that the world needs to hear.
Except, after less than 24 hours, Calvin’s story was silenced… by YouTube.
In some form or another, almost every one of my videos gets restricted by YouTube. There are varying levels to these restrictions, and the details are fairly complicated. Almost all videos get demonetized. Many get age restricted, which means that users need to confirm that they are over the age of 18 to view the content. It also means the videos reach a more limited audience through search results and video recommendations. Calvin’s video was “locked”, which essentially meant that it was removed from the platform.
There’s the YouTube answer. And then there’s the real answer.
The YouTube answer varies from video to video. In the case of Calvin’s documentary, YouTube felt that the title of “My First BJ Was From My Dad” was misleading clickbait. Except, the title was taken from the very first line of the film. In other words, it’s neither clickbait nor misleading. Sensational? Maybe. But accurate? Absolutely.
The real answer is that YouTube censors sex content – including educational sex-positive content like Calvin’s documentary – because it is more concerned with sucking from the corporate cock than serving the marginalized communities that built the video-sharing platform. YouTube, much like Tumblr, has sold its soul to mega-rich corporations with their padded advertising budgets at the expense of queers, sex-positive communities, creative people and artists. In an attempt to deliver sterilized, brand-friendly content, YouTube’s algorithms – with little oversight – are attempting to “clean up” the platform in the same way that someone might use a shotgun to kill an ant. The amount of collateral damage is alarming.
After two days of emails, conversations and reaching out to all my contacts at YouTube and Google, Calvin’s video came back online. I’m privileged with the ability to contact YouTube directly. But how many videos are wrongly removed with little recourse from smaller creators? Likely, countless.
I’m frustrated. I’m exhausted by fighting this fight. And yet, I’ll continue to fight like hell to ensure stories like Calvin’s are told – and heard. So, fuck YouTube.
And watch Calvin’s video:
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