By Marissa Streit, CEO of Prager University
As you know, PragerU’s videos are available on a number of platforms, one of which is YouTube. And as you may also know, YouTube has chosen repeatedly to restrict some of our videos for violating their “Community Guidelines.” Those guidelines are meant to protect users against viewing sexual content, violent or graphic content, and hate speech.
As a PragerU viewer, you know as well as I do that our videos contain nothing even remotely close to any of these categories.
To date, YouTube has restricted nearly 40 PragerU videos, addressing topics ranging from religion and freedom of speech to the history of the Korean War.
More than a year ago, we filed a complaint with YouTube, hoping that there was some kind of innocent mistake.
That’s when we were told by YouTube that after reviewing our videos, they determined that they were, indeed, “not appropriate for a younger audience.” Of course, we have this in writing.
Think about the millions of actually inappropriate videos on YouTube, and then ask yourself, “Why is our content restricted?”
Unfortunately, the answer is rather obvious, isn’t it? YouTube has restricted PragerU videos for only one reason: ideological discrimination.
Of course, YouTube is owned by Google, which was founded to, ironically, “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
YouTube has made some of our most important videos inaccessible to the very audience PragerU seeks to reach: young people.
Let me be clear: they don’t like what we teach, and so they intend to stop us from teaching it. This kind of censorship is what we have seen on college campuses for years. But it is far more dangerous in this circumstance, because the internet is where the world goes to get informed.
Can you imagine if the left owned the internet the way they own our universities?
Can you imagine what the world would look like if Google is allowed to continue to arbitrarily censor ideas they simply don’t agree with?
Well, this is why Prager University filed suit against YouTube and Google. We are not fighting this only for PragerU—we are taking this on for America and possibly the world.
Now, I have to tell you … this was not an easy decision.
Over the summer, former Governor of California, Pete Wilson — who has been a longtime supporter of PragerU — approached us and posited the idea: “We have to sue them,” he said. “Google is hubris.”
Those words weighed heavy on our entire team as we considered our options.
Obviously, a fight with Google will be hugely difficult and costly, and we hate the idea of deploying energy and resources away from producing more content and reaching new audiences. We simply cannot do that.
So, before taking any such action, we decided we’d attempt a more diplomatic approach one last time. On the one-year anniversary of Google blocking our content, or the “BANniversary,” as we had come to call it, we renewed our complaints to YouTube, and re-circulated an online petition urging Google to change course. Many articles have been written, and many people, including many very prominent and influential people, rallied in support of our cause. To date, well over a quarter-of-a-million people have added their names to our petition.
What was the result of our efforts?
Nothing. YouTube ignored us. In fact, they have since restricted 11 more PragerU videos.
With our hands tied, we knew Governor Wilson was right—Google’s hubris had to be challenged.
So, we have built an all-star legal team, including Governor Wilson’s law firm, Eric George, Alan Dershowitz, Barak Lurie, Kelly Shackelford, Mat Staver, and more.
It’s an impressive group, because this is an important case; not only for PragerU, but for the fundamental American right to freedom of speech.
But this is not going to be easy and it isn’t going to be cheap.
Despite the fact that our amazing attorneys have agreed to reasonably cap their legal fees, there will be additional personnel, research, marketing and public relations costs to PragerU.
This case will be tried in the court of public opinion as much as in the courtroom, and we intend to win in both venues.
However, we cannot deplete our operating budget to fight this case. Thanks to you, PragerU has reached more than 1-out-of-4 Americans on the internet. Sixty-three percent of them are under 34. We plan to continue to focus on this growth and reach 3 out of 4 Americans. We can’t let up now.
We are fully committed to the lawsuit but we won’t let them slow the growth of PragerU.
This is why our board of directors and many staff members have donated, in addition to our annual gift, to what we are calling the “YouTube Action Fund.” Dennis Prager, Allen Estrin, and I have all given extra this year.
Now, here is how you can help:
- Please go to our website and sign the petition against YouTube censorship. It already has over 400,000 signatures; please add yours if you haven’t done so already, and ask 10 of your friends to do the same.
- More importantly, please contribute to our action fund if you can, over and above your planned support for PragerU. Our initial goal for the legal fund is $1 million, and we think we can reach that goal with your help.
Many of you have already given so generously and I am embarrassed to ask for more. But if you think this fight is important please support us in whatever way you can.
It seems like a lot to ask…until you consider how much we have to lose.
Perhaps Goliath could teach Google a little bit about where hubris leads … when a David comes slinging.