YouTube refuses the employee’s request to remove rap songs with anti-Chinese lyrics

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YouTube faces calls from employees to remove a rap song that allegedly encourages violence against Asians a report of Bloomberg

Rapper YG’s “Meet the Flockers” is a detailed description of a break-in – a relatively common trope in rap music – but it starts with a specific reference to Chinese communities: “Find a Chinese neighborhood because they don’t believe in bank accounts.” light of the recent increase in street violence against Asians, a group of YouTube employees argued that the message was downright dangerous and eventually asked the Trust & Safety team to remove the video.

But YouTube ultimately refused to remove the song, citing the exception of the platform for “educational, documentary, scientific and artistic” (or EDSA) content.

“While EDSA is not free access to any content, there are probably thousands of music videos that would otherwise violate policy … were it not for these types of EDSA exceptions,” executives wrote in an open letter to employees. “Removing this video would have far-reaching consequences for other musical content that contains similarly violent or offensive lyrics, in genres ranging from rap to rock.”

It is not the first time that “Meet the Flockers” has sparked controversy. Largely ignored upon its release in 2014, the song became a point of controversy for the Chinese communities two years later after circulation on social media channels, with some police departments even blaming the song and a subsequent unauthorized video clip for specific home burglaries. The concern was so heated that San Francisco supervisor Jane Kim called on YouTube to remove the video.

YouTube also declined to take action in response to the 2016 controversy, although the uploader later voluntarily removed the music video. The song will remain on YouTube through the official YG account, played over a static album cover.

YouTube was approached for comment, stressing the importance of open disagreements within the workforce. “YouTube has an open culture and employees are encouraged to speak up, even if they disagree with a decision,” said a representative. “We will continue this dialogue as part of our ongoing work to strike a balance between openness and protecting the YouTube community at large.”