YouTube briefly pulls Apple employee video for gay kids

April 18, 2011 at 12:16 PM ET

A video featuring gay and transgendered Apple employees encouraging LGBT teens briefly disappeared from YouTube over the weekend, reports the Mac Observer.  A message on the video's page read, "This video violates YouTube’s policy on depiction of harmful activities."

Posted last Thursday, the video is Apple's contribution to the It Gets Better Project, which has collected almost 10,000 similar videos since it launched on YouTube last September. 

Dan Savage, editorial director of the Seattle weekly The Stranger and author of the syndicated column "Savage Love," launched the It Gets Better Project on YouTube in September following the suicide of Billy Lucas, a 15-year-old who reportedly suffered homophobic harassment at Indiana's Greensburg High School. Nine out of 10 gay teenagers experience bullying and harassment, Savage said on his Sept. 21 podcast announcing the project. And gay teenagers are four times more likely to commit suicide.

While the video carries the same sleek production seen in iPad and iPhone commercials, the coming out and coming of age stories told by Apple employees are similar in tone and content to those made by everyday people as well as celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres and Tim Gunn, and even the President of the United States. Google, owner of YouTube, added its video featuring LGBT employees last October.

Most LGBT contributers told stories about the bigotry, bullying and depression they dealt with when they were young, and how it all changed when they became adults.

Mac Observer updated its Saturday post to note that the video had been returned to YouTube, and it's there now. YouTube and the It Gets Better Project have not yet returned request for comment. In a story last year about a travel blogger whose innocent YouTube videos had been erroneously yanked (and later returned), YouTube's parent company Google gave this statement to CNET:

With 20 hours of video uploaded every minute to YouTube, we count on our community members to know our Community Guidelines and to flag content they believe violates them. We review all flagged content quickly, and if we find that a video does violate the guidelines, we remove it, on average in under an hour. We also have a team that is dedicated to identifying and removing spam from YouTube. Occasionally, a video flagged by users or identified by our spam team is mistakenly taken down. When this is brought to our attention, we review the content and take appropriate action, including restoring video or videos that had been removed.

This is how it works for every video on YouTube, so malicious viewers can theoretically get any video removed, if only temporarily. If enough viewers flagged Apple's video for offensive content, it's possible YouTube's spam team took it down without adequate review. Since this is Apple we're talking about, and not some dude changing subtitles in a movie about Hitler, it's also possible the Apple video got a fast track back to the site.


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