YouTube has declined to remove YG’s 2014 song “Meet the Flockers” after the company’s staffers called for the video to be pulled due to lyrics about targeting Asians in burglary attempts, Bloomberg reports. Employees’ request to YouTube’s Trust & Safety team was denied in an email from executives to the staff on March 22.
“We’ll start by saying we find this video to be highly offensive and understand it is painful for many to watch, including many in Trust & Safety and especially given the ongoing violence against the Asian community,” the statement reads. “One of the biggest challenges of working in Trust & Safety is that sometimes we have to leave up content we disagree with or find offensive.”
The statement noted that the song’s lyrics violated the company’s hate speech policy, but said it will stay up because of an Educational, Documentary, Scientific or Artistic exception, citing the video’s “artistic context” and noting concern about setting a precedent that would lead to the removal of more music videos.
“While EDSA is not a free pass for any content, there are likely thousands of music videos that would otherwise violate policies including Sex & Nudity, Violent or Graphic Content and Hate Speech were it not for these sorts of EDSA exceptions,” the statement reads. “As a result, removing this video would have far-reaching implications for other musical content containing similarly violent or offensive lyrics, in genres ranging from rap to rock. While we debated this decision at length amongst our policy experts, we made the difficult decision to leave the video up to enforce our policy consistently and avoid setting a precedent that may lead to us having to remove a lot of other music on YouTube.”
Pitchfork has reached out to YG’s representatives for comment.