YouTube Takes Down Video of Testimony Against Governor's Lockdown Orders


Legislative testimony given Wednesday in support of a GOP-backed effort to limit lockdown orders imposed by Ohio’s governor was removed from YouTube after the service deemed it contained misinformation.

The Google-owned platform said it removed content that was uploaded this week to The Ohio Advocates for Medical Freedom channel for violating the company’s terms of services.

The video showed Thomas Renz, an attorney for Ohio Stands Up, a citizen group, give the opening testimony during an Ohio House committee hearing on a bill that would allow lawmakers to vote down public health orders.

In the more than 30-minute testimony, Renz made the disputed claim that no one under the age of 19 has died of COVID-19 in Ohio.

“We have clear Community Guidelines that govern what videos may stay on YouTube, which we enforce consistently, regardless of speaker,” Ivy Choi, a spokeswoman for Google, told The Associated Press.

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“We removed this video in accordance with our COVID-19 misinformation policy, which prohibits content that claims a certain age group cannot transmit the virus.”

The removal comes days after the Republican lawmakers in the Ohio Senate passed a bill that would establish checks and balances on fellow GOP Gov. Mike DeWine’s ability to issue and keep in place executive actions.

Proponents of the bills in the House and Senate believe DeWine and the state health department have issued lockdown orders during the coronavirus pandemic that have remained in effect for longer than necessary and, as a result, have unduly damaged small businesses and the state’s economy.

Opponents called it unconstitutional and warned it would decentralize the state’s response to the pandemic.

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“This bill is extremely dangerous. We are in a 100-year pandemic,” Democratic Sen. Cecil Thomas said Wednesday.

“People are still dying as a result of this particular pandemic. This is not just a state of emergency for our storm or a flood or whatever the case may be. This is a state of emergency, because the virus is killing Ohioans.”

Renz was among several Ohioans who filed a lawsuit in September to overturn orders issued by DeWine and the state health department.

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