Youtube has removed three clips from the documentary film, "She Stole My Voice: A Documentary about Lesbian Rape." These clips contained no graphic nudity and adhered to Youtube's content guidelines, and had helped tens of thousands of individuals become aware of the issues surrounding sexual violence between women. Youtube has not responded to queries from the filmmakers, from the American Academy for Film and Gender Studies, or from women's rights activists concerned about its decision.
We accept that as a private company, Youtube has the right to choose what appears on its website. However, as a public forum, Youtube must make decisions responsibly and carefully, particularly when such decisions serve to silence the voices of marginalized groups, to prevent public awareness of their issues, and to effectively discount their suffering. To bow to conservative extremism, homophobia, and religious zealotry and remove these clips is not merely a shameful act of cowardice; nor is it merely completely turning its back on the principles of open expression that are considered the hallmark of Youtube; it is an assault on the rights of marginalized groups to be heard and to have their voices and issues taken seriously.
We ask that Youtube show the courage to stand up for the principles of open expression, in which marginalized groups have the same rights to be heard as do corporate conglomerates and powerful political and religious organizations. We ask that Youtube restore the removed clips to its website, and to adjust its flagging system to prevent such abuses of the rights of marginalized groups to be heard.
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