By "Radical" Russ Belville Last week we brought to you the excellent video parody “Should Be Legalized” by Steve Berke. It is a parody of the Eminem / Rihanna video “Love the Way You Lie” that explains why everyone should vote yes on Prop 19. Better yet, it shows a realistic portrayal of an attractive young couple in love, sharing marijuana in bed, showing love and respect for each other, and enjoying harmless fun activities like miniature golf. It presents an incredible contrast to the original video which features an abusive relationship steeped in violence and alcohol, leading to the protagonist committing arson.
Now YouTube has decided that the parody video is “mature subject matter” and is only available to viewers over the age of 18. As Steve explained to me by email…
Youtube has flagged our video for over 18 audiences and essentially killed our virality. I don’t think they did this intentionally, as most Youtube and Google employees are friends of cannabis and the Prop 19 movement. However, if a video gets flagged by 50 people, it gets sent for “review” and then a single person (depending on the luck of the draw) reviews your video and determines whether or not it was rightfully flagged.
As of late Saturday night, the video was flagged for over 18 audience viewing despite a ratio of 2100 likes to only 46 dislikes, which you’d know is an unheard of positive community response to the video. This flagging has effectively killed all exponential growth we were receiving. We were doubling our growth every day from 30K to 60K to 120K, and then we got flagged and now we are only at 155K. We would have hit several million in time for the election. Now our growth curve is flat and unlikely to reach the audience we need in time for November 2nd.
The video we parody has alcohol abuse, spousal abuse, assault, battery, and arson, yet our fun politically motivated video about a current timely vote is considered offensive. There are videos of decapitations, sexual assault, and other grotesque actions that are completely unflagged on Youtube. By Youtube siding with the handful of people that flagged our video, they are giving great power to the political opposition in effectively freezing a viral political movement before it gains proper momentum in time for a historic vote. Our video is intended to motivate the very demographic that can help get this Proposition passed- 18-26 year olds. Currently, only 6 percent of that demographic makes it to the voting booths. For this election, they are estimating that 12 percent will. A great improvement, but still a very poor percentage. If we can raise that percentage by just a point or two, it may be the difference in winning and losing the election.
So now we have to work extra hard to spread this message – send this link http://bit.ly/ShouldBeLegalized to everyone in your social networks and send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get them to address YouTube’s insane rating system that considers alcoholic domestic violence presented for musical profit OK for youngsters to view, but not harmless joint smoking presented for political free speech.
Here’s the original Eminem video for comparison – the one it’s OK for the li’l kiddies to watch: