YouTube removes Ohio committee video, citing misinformation

Legislative testimony made in support of a GOP-backed effort to limit public health orders made by Ohio’s governor was removed from YouTube after the service deemed it contained COVID-19 misinformation

Virus Outbreak Public Health Orders
Virus Outbreak Public Health Orders

Legislative testimony made Wednesday in support of a GOP-backed effort to limit public health orders made by Ohio's governor was removed from YouTube after the service deemed it contained COVID-19 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, make the opening testimony during a House committee hearing on a bill that would allow lawmakers to vote down public health orders during the pandemic.

In the more than 30-minute testimony, Renz made a number of debunked or baseless claims, including that no Ohioans under the age of 19 have died from COVID-19 — a claim that has been debunked by state data.

“We have clear Community Guidelines that govern what videos may stay on YouTube, which we enforce consistently, regardless of speaker,” Ivy Choi, a spokesperson for Google, told The Associated Press. “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, first reported by Ohio Capital Journal, comes days after the Republican lawmakers in the 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 action during the coronavirus pandemic.

Proponents of the bills in the House and Senate believe DeWine and the state health department have issued orders during the last 11 months of the pandemic that have remained enacted 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 during an emergency and cost lives in the process.

“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 emergency health orders made by DeWine and the state department of health in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ohio Advocates for Medical Freedom members have been frequent guests at the Ohio Statehouse, testifying in support and against a number of COVID-19 related bills, including one accusing the state department of health of “whitewashing” virus data.

___

Farnoush Amiri is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in