Comedian and actor Russell Brand has made a successful foray into the world of social commentary, but YouTube is now penalizing him for getting a single fact wrong in one of his videos.
It matters little that Brand offered a correction in a video in which he made an erroneous statement about COVID. YouTube, where he hosts his semi-daily commentary show, censored the video and issued his channel a strike for COVID misinformation.
Brand, unlike the mainstream media, did more than most in issuing an apology to his viewers.
Brand called out the social media platform in a video posted to Twitter for punishing him for getting his facts wrong while allowing the mainstream media to push misinformation “up all the time.”
“We have been officially censored by YouTube,” Brand declared. “They took down one of our videos for misinformation, but why are big media organizations not censored for misinformation in the same way? Is it because YouTube are part of the mainstream media now?”
“We made an apology video, we’ve taken that down as well, YouTube took down our original video, we’ve taken down the apology video because in case we reiterate the claim while apologizing for it,” he continued, making the case that news companies like MSNBC are permitted to lie to their viewers without consequence from platforms like YouTube.
“We made an error, in my opinion, a relatively small error, and we’re being penalized! For me that looks like censorship, and the reason I think it looks like censorship is because there’s mainstream media misinformation up all the time,” he said, citing a clip posted on March 30, 2021, in which MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow spoke on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccinations.
In the video, Maddow erroneously claimed that "the vaccines work well enough that the virus stops with every vaccinated person,” adding, “A vaccinated person gets exposed to the virus? The virus does not infect them, the virus cannot then use that person to go anywhere else."
Although COVID vaccines have been effective in preventing the most severe outcomes of the disease, according to CDC statistics, they have not prevented people from transmitting or getting the virus.
The CDC recommends vaccines as “an important tool to help protect you from severe illness, hospitalization, and death.”
Citing the video, Brand suggested that the MSNBC video contained medical misinformation and asked why the video remains up on YouTube.
"So we’re asking: Is there one standard for independent news broadcasters like us on our channel, and a different standard for what we would call the ‘mainstream media?’" he said.