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YouTube stands by decision to slap age restrictions on Catholic League video slamming Disney

Interview subjects in the documentary, "Walt's Disenchanted Kingdom," claim Disney's leadership has sacrificed the company's family-friendly image to woke rebranding in a misguided effort to secure future viewers and crack the Chinese market. 

Published: February 15, 2023 12:10pm

Updated: February 19, 2023 11:16pm

Google-owned YouTube placed age restrictions on a documentary from the Catholic League that was critical of Disney earlier this month but has yet to explain the rationale behind their decision, or what specific aspects of the video triggered the move. 

Several interview subjects in the documentary, "Walt's Disenchanted Kingdom," claim Disney's leadership has sacrificed the company's family-friendly image to woke rebranding in a misguided effort to secure future viewers and crack the Chinese market.

In an interview with Just the News, Catholic League Communications Director Mike McDonald recapped the events surrounding the release and subsequent regulation of the online video. 

"We came into work a few weeks ago, and I noticed that YouTube had an age restriction up," he began. "We had it embedded on our website, but when Youtube puts age restrictions on it, you can't watch it as an embedded video. They said it wasn't appropriate for children."

During the YouTube appeals process, McDonald recounted, he reminded the video-sharing platform it has "a carve-out for education and documentary materials," telling them: "This is what that video is. The documentary was vetted by lawyers ... There's nothing in this film that's objectionable. No cursing, no nudity, no gratuitous violence. Just people talking about Disney." 

YouTube's response, he recalled, "was pretty much: 'Thank you for your appeal, but no.'"

McDonald provided Just the News with emails and screenshots from YouTube indicating the purported violation as well as another message denying the League's appeal. "We reviewed your content carefully, and have confirmed that it violates our Community Guidelines," read the denial. "We know this is probably disappointing news, but it's our job to make sure that YouTube is a safe place for all." 

As a result of the YouTube restrictions, the Catholic League will continue to reallocate resources to building up its Rumble account, McDonald said, due to the fast-growing YouTube rival's protection of free speech on its platform. 

"The documentary is still on YouTube, but we initially released it on Rumble," he noted. "So now we've been directing people to there mostly. It's also available on Salem Media now and DVD as alternate options." 

The Catholic League provided Just the News with a list of videos YouTube approved with no age restrictions, including: 

  •  "Are You A Lesbean? [sic] | LGBTQ Memes"

  •  "The (cis) Straights Are at it Again" 

  •  "Are You Sure You're Straight? | r/SuddenlyGay" 

  • "Bad Women's Anatomy Is Getting WORSE" 

JTN reached out to Disney, YouTube and Google for comment on what specific material in the video triggered the age restriction. Each company was also asked if they had been in contact with each other or worked in concert to limit distribution of the content. 

YouTube was the only company to issue an official reply, but did not address the questions directly or add context explaining its decision. 

"The video in question was correctly age-restricted," YouTube's communications department said in a statement. "Sometimes videos don't violate our policies, but may be inappropriate for viewers under the age of 18. In these cases, we may place an age-restriction on the video. Our policies apply equally to all content uploaded to YouTube." 

When pressed for specifics about what constitutes "inappropriate," YouTube did not reply. 

The censorship controversy comes at a time when Disney has been locked in a battle of political wills with Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis provoked by the company's opposition to the state's Parental Rights in Education Act.

DeSantis has been working with the state Legislature to revoke Disney's special tax status and curb its self-governing prerogatives within the special district carved out for its Orlando-area theme parks, which has allowed it to operate in effect as a county government for over 50 years. Under proposed changes brought forward in a special legislative session, the special district would be overseen by a five-member board appointed by DeSantis and confirmed by the state Senate.  

You can follow Nick on Twitter @NGivasDC

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