A music video produced by popular singer-songwriter John Ondrasek called “Blood on my Hands” went viral this week before it was removed and then reinstated on YouTube on Friday.
The video, which used real footage depicting Taliban atrocities and the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, was reported as violating YouTube’s “Graphic Content Policy”.
In a statement on Twitter, Ondrasik, also known by his stage name Five For Fighting, said he posted the video on January 2 on YouTube and other social media channels.
The video was paired with a “photo warning” in the introduction to the video to let the audience know that the content would not be appropriate for younger audiences due to images of Taliban atrocities.”
Five for Fight Singer Talks New Music Video ‘Blood On My Hand’ Criticizing Afghan Withdrawal
He continued, “YouTube has reviewed the video and introduced a restriction on children’s content which I appreciate and find appropriate.”
Ondrasek said the video was shown for five days, gaining more than 250,000 views.
The musician, known for his hit songs like “100 Years” and “Superman,” said the refusal to portray the human rights violations committed by the Taliban and the events that occurred during the US withdrawal represented a “gross injustice” to the victims.
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In addition, Ondrasik noted that he has found other videos depicting “similar Taliban atrocities,” but those monetized through the video platform, have remained live.
Nearly nine hours after the songwriter tweeted about the removal of his video, YouTube brought it back. The platform added a warning that the video may be “inappropriate or offensive to some audiences”.
John Ondrasek releases graphic video for ‘Blood on My Hand’ that marks the foot of Afghanistan under Taliban rule
“This was our fault and we’ve brought your video back. Sorry this happened, and we thank you for your patience while we work on it,” the YouTube team said on Twitter followed by a prayer-hand emoji.
FOX Business was not immediately able to reach YouTube to comment on why the video platform was initially removed.
The five music to fight accepted YouTube apologized on Twitter but told FOX Business that he still wondered why his video was targeted.
“The fact that this only happens when artists or people criticize one side of the aisle makes it difficult to give them that benefit of the doubt,” he said. “But having said that, they did the right thing – eat it fast. They reposted it, and I appreciate that.”
“I feel for artists who may not have a similar platform as me,” he added, noting that his 2 million YouTube followers may have motivated the platform to move quickly on the issue.
“I was also thinking about the protest songs of the ’60s and ’70s,” Ondrasek told FOX Business. “Imagine there is a dynamic where the songs of Creedence Clearwater Revival or Bob Dylan can be essentially left out of the culture.”
“This is a chilling idea for me,” he said.
The removal gained attention not only from fans of the nearly seven-minute video but also from members of Congress.
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“It is absolutely ridiculous that YouTube has removed John Ondrasek’s video depicting the true events that occurred during POTUS’ horrific withdrawal from Afghanistan,” Representative Michael McCaul, R-Texas, wrote on Twitter. “Americans deserve to see the consequences of POTUS’ decisions. YouTube should restart the video.”
Ondrasek thanked the congressman and tweeted his message to YouTube and President Biden.