I was working on a blog post regarding the bogus story that aired on "Extra" last week concerning Michael Jackson's sexuality when I ran into a hefty snag that set my emotions afire. I went to YouTube to try and find some direct quotes from videos of Jackson himself regarding the matter and was appalled and infuriated when I encountered numerous videos and people slandering Jackson's name--a man who not only had to endure this type of malicious behavior for the majority of his life but a man who also is now deceased. His tragic departure from this Earth, that was a homicide no less, should have brought about some new means of respect for him, regardless of opinions about him before his death. Even with his passing people still are not grasping the concept of what happened to this man who had his life turned into an upside-down hell. I know people are entitled to opinions. This is not a tirade in opposition to people having their own beliefs or opinions, but when I see videos saying Jackson's FBI files contain "proof" he was a molester I have to speak out--that is NOT okay. Numerous people have FBI files on them--that does NOT mean they are a criminal or have committed any wrongdoing. In addition, the files did not contain ONE shred of evidence that Jackson did any wrongdoing. Many of the files literally said they found NOTHING.
The video that initiated this fury:
I made several comments that were deleted by the owner of this video. Why? I admit I called them "fucking retards" (what do you expect, I am hurt and angry and the truth must have hurt). But, more importantly, in separate comments that contained no foul language, I directed them and all viewers to legitimate sources of accurate information regarding the summarization of the FBI files.
Accurate information regarding the FBI files:
Then, I ran across this particular skank:
I have picked this person out for her tasteless videos that feature none other than herself scantily-clad (which is her obvious attempt to get viewers to actually find it necessary to view her videos, likely for ulterior motives not related to Jackson). But sadly, a plethora of videos like hers are on YouTube--she is not the only one. But, what is even more disturbing is this person's profile contains one of the most disrespectful pieces of verbalized trash that I have ever seen in my life. I tried to report her profile to YouTube but there is apparently no way to report profiles that is visible, only videos are easily reported, and to report videos you have to indicate a compelling reason. Isn't slander, libel, defamation of character, harassment, and what could be viewed as abuse and/or torture enough of a reason to remove a profile or video without having to say much else?
Look at the rules laid out by YouTube regarding "Hateful Content":
What is Hateful Content?
Hateful Content is videos, comments or channel information which contain "Hate Speech". "Hate speech" refers to content that promotes hatred against members of a protected group. Protected groups include race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/gender identity.
Sometimes there is a fine line between what is and what is not considered hate speech. For instance, it is generally okay to criticize a nation, but not okay to make insulting generalizations about people of a particular nationality.
How can I remove hateful content from YouTube?
• Moderate the comments on your channel
• Remove comments from your video
• Flag videos that contain hate speech
• Report channels and comments through the Help & Safety Tool
Keep in mind that not everything that is mean or insulting is considered hate speech.
Tips for confronting hate speech on YouTube from the Anti-Defamation League.
Flag: Flag the offensive video for review by the YouTube team. Make sure to include why you thought the video was hateful.
Think: Perspective is crucial. Think before you respond, and try to respond in a thoughtful, careful manner.
Speak: Post videos or comments that oppose the offensive point of view. Let the YouTube community see a competing perspective.
Applaud: Don't forget to post positive comments on videos that share positive messages.
Talk: Talk to your friends, teachers, or family about what you've seen.
Learn: Many groups publish information about combating particular kinds of prejudice, such as the Anti-Defamation League's resources on anti-Semitism.
E-mail: Notify groups like the Anti-Defamation League, which keep track of trends in hate speech.
Act: Take active steps to combat prejudice online and offline.
Q: Is it hate speech if they aren't talking about a protected group?
A: No, it is not considered hate speech if a protected group is not involved. So if someone is making insults towards you personally that are not considered hate speech, use the Help & Safety Tool.
Q: Why wasn't the video or comment I reported to YouTube removed?
A: The YouTube Team reviews all videos flagged and reports made through the Help & Safety Tool. So if a video you have flagged, or comment you have reported hasn't been removed, it's because it doesn't violate our hate speech policies. We encourage free speech and defend everyone's right to express unpopular points of view, and keep in mind that not everything that is mean or insulting is considered hate speech.
Wait, you have to be offending someone by saying something about their "race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, and sexual orientation/gender identity". What about defamation? Isn't that wrong? What about lying or misrepresenting information? Shouldn't we be entitled to decide what is "hate" or "hateful" and not have it defined by law? I consider anything that is written to destroy Jackson's legacy as hate and no one will convince me otherwise.
YouTube says they believe in free speech. Thus, I have the right to say their rules and system for reporting slander/libel (or "hate") are pure shit. I believe in free speech, but as with everything there is a point where that freedom should not encroach upon other peoples' freedom, livelihood, or legacy whether they are alive or deceased. Take for example, people are not allowed to make death threats against the president of the United States. Yet, there are groups like this being allowed to persist concerning President Obama:
I would not be shocked if every member of this group, regardless of it being over 1,000,000 people, now have an FBI files on them. It is not hard to know who is or is not a member of that group and if one entity knows and is keeping tallies, it is the US government. This could even be dubbed as a death threat by some considering the name of the group is " DEAR LORD, THIS YEAR YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTOR, PATRICK SWAYZIE. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE ACTRESS, FARAH FAWCETT. YOU TOOK MY FAVORITE SINGER, MICHAEL JACKSON. I JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, MY FAVORITE PRESIDENT IS BARACK OBAMA. AMEN." It is one thing to disagree with the president, even hate him, but to wish for his death? That is going too far.
What is Facebook's stance to group?
"Facebook's procedure for dealing with potentially offensive groups is pretty murky. Facebook has stated in the past that it takes seriously the free speech of its groups, even potentially offensive ones: A number of Facebook groups praising Joe Stack, the man who crashed a small plane into a government building in February, are still alive and well."
Joe Stack's actions are not anywhere close to a group asking for Obama's death. Get real, people. That is not comparing apples to apples.
Compare what is occurring to Jackson on YouTube (which ultimately will affect his family, including his children someday) to this news article:
Nurse Anne Mitchell found herself facing TEN YEARS in prison for doing what is deemed a responsibility of her job: notifying the state medical board that she felt a doctor was committing malpractice. Even nurse Vickilyn Galle found herself facing charges (that were later dropped) for merely helping type up the letter that went to the State Board. Dr. Rolando G. Arafiles Jr. claimed he was being harassed and abused by these nurses because he was reported by them to be investigated yet he had committed various acts of malpractice before and had current and previous sanctions taken upon his license including restrictions placed on his license due to issues at a weight-loss clinic. No one called him a molester--his medical competency was merely put into question--yet he is allowed to sue and claim harassment and abuse while Jackson cannot?
Tell me, how is a nurse who did her job and tried to protect the lives of patients being tortured with the possibility of TEN YEARS IN PRISON when people are dutifully attacking someone like Jackson on a daily basis and it is okay? Why is there this double-standard? There should NOT be a double-standard and something needs to be done NOW.
YouTube appears to be more concerned with copyright infringement than preventing the defamation of people's name, whether they are Jackson or not. However, my main concern is Jackson. I know the artist Prince blocks a majority of his videos from being placed on YouTube due to copyrights yet videos that continue to defame Jackson are okay and being viewed my thousands of people, most of whom likely have no clue whether or not to believe Jackson was or was not innocent of the allegations that were firmly-established extortion attempts. Let's not forget that Michael Jackson was found NOT GUILTY of ALL charges brought against him in 2005. The accusations should have stopped then and there--PERIOD. There is a reason for that verdict, regardless of what some idiots say who enjoy spewing false information that is fueled by hate and sheer ignorance.
For more information regarding these extortion attempts, which is exactly what they were, please become familiar with the following books:
Aphrodite Jones' "Conspiracy"
Geraldine Hughes' "Redemption"
I will not hesitate to write a letter, gather signatures, and start a campaign against YouTube and all other entities that are promoting this kind of distribution of information. I enjoy YouTube and have a membership with them, but something needs to be done to get the message to them to stop allowing their site to be a harboring ground of hate and defamation. Something needs to be done NOW. I wish Jackson's family would sue every single individual or entity that continues to promote this kind of defamation. If I had such power invested in me, I would sue without hesitation. Enough is enough. I have not even bothered to mention all the books that have been published about Jackson that are nothing more than venomous tales that people have created to earn a name for themselves while getting paid, too. People , WAKE UP and stop trusting everything fed to you. As Benjamin Franklin once said, "believe none of what you hear and half of what you see." Granted, that was before the internet. I would say now, believe none of what you hear or see.