Fred Karger's longshot bid for the White House typically doesn't get much attention, primarily because he was deemed too unpopular in polls to compete at debates alongside such titanic presences as Jon Huntsman and Tim Pawlenty. But he's running what campaign he can in his home state of California, and has managed to kick up something of a stir with the ad he released on YouTube, "Sexy Frisbee."
Karger has used his trademarked "Fred Who?" frisbee in ads before -- one of his first spots, "Demon Frisbee," gently spoofed an infamous Carly Fiorina ad. For the California effort, the spot features young and comely beachside frolickers, tossing the frisbee around as Karger discusses what his candidacy is all about.
However, not long after the "Sexy Frisbee" spot was placed on YouTube, the Karger campaign received word that the higher-ups had pulled it down, citing "inappropriate" content. If you watch the spot, I'm guessing you can pick out the moment that ran afoul of some YouTube watcher.
I find it hard to be surprised that the candidate most closely identified with supporting marriage equality included a brief kiss between two men in his campaign ad. Naturally, it's not shocking that someone out there in the world took offense, and flagged it for being inappropriate. What is surprising is that YouTube, a site that's supposed to be on the vanguard of some modern video content platform, got goosed by this, and took it down. But that's what they did, at least temporarily. Here's the notice that the Karger campaign received:
The YouTube Community has flagged one or more of your videos as inappropriate. Once a video is flagged, it is reviewed by the YouTube Team against our Community Guidelines. Upon review, we have determined that the following video(s) contain content in violation of these guidelines, and have been disabled:
"Sexy Frisbee" Viral Video - (fredkarger)
Your account has received one Community Guidelines warning strike, which will expire in six months. Additional violations may result in the temporary disabling of your ability to post content to YouTube and/or the permanent termination of your account.
So, it was in the estimable judgment of the higher-ups that there was adequate cause to censor this video. The Karger campaign mobilized supporters and petitioned YouTube with a complaint. And Karger, who is better connected than most give him credit for being, emailed the lead lobbyist in Sacramento for Google, YouTube's owner, asking for a meeting. The wheels spun, and the spot was reinstated. (During this time, I am guessing a YouTube user could have found an abundant number of videos of people beating the crap out of each other.
How many years until we all look back in embarrassment at a time when we allowed ourselves to be bothered at the sight of two men kissing? Five? Ten? Twenty seems too long. But that's part of the reason Fred Karger is running.
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