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Tegan and Sara take YouTube to task for blocking non-explicit LGBTQ videos

March 27, 2017

In a bit of bizarre censorship news, this past week saw Calgarian indie-pop duo Tegan and Sara take on YouTube over Twitter for some very questionable issues with the streaming video giant’s Restricted Mode. The problem is that while searching for and watching videos in this mode, YouTube users realized that non-explicit LGBTQ videos were being blocked. According to Tegan and Sara, it also makes a bunch of their music videos disappear.

YouTube has said that the purpose of Restricted Mode is to, “filter out mature content,” but it would seem it’s not exactly working completely just that way. Tegan and Sara noticed that while in Restricted Mode, YouTube blocked their video for “U-Turn,” which the duo pointed out has, “nothing gay in it except us.” “U-Turn” (embedded above) is mostly just the two of them dancing, singing into the camera, and riding around in an animated car, in an animated world. Not exactly mature content.

In a number of tweets, some collected in this article at Pitchfork, Tegan and Sara identified which videos have been blocked and called on YouTube to rectify the situation. When YouTube Creators eventually responded, also via Twitter, they posted a statement that said, “LGBTQ+ videos are available in Restricted Mode, but videos that discuss more sensitive subjects may not be.” They also said they regretted the confusion and are working on a solution. In response, Tegan and Sara suggested YouTube also share just what exactly the criteria is for determining something is “sensitive” and worthy of being restricted. They also made sure to send a message of support to anyone else affected by the issue: “To our fellow LGBTQ content creators + LGBTQ friends MUCH LOVE TO U!”

In Other News:

Festival Lineups: Ontario’s Sandbanks Music Festival, Bengough, SK’s Gateway Festival, Vancouver’s Seasons Festival, Ottawa Jazz Festival.

About the Author

Matt Williams

Matt Williams is a writer and photographer. Born and raised on the Prairies in Winnipeg, he’s slowly made his way farther and farther east, spending a few years covering music in Toronto before running clear out of country and ending up on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. In between, he’s made numerous detours, interviewing and photographing countless artists across North America and beyond. He heads up Amplify’s Instrumental series, where he talks with musicians about the relationships they’ve formed with their most important tools.

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