YouTube removed a livestream of Heather Mac Donald challenging the Black Lives Matter narrative on police shootings due to a violation of “Community Guidelines” after the lecture was “flagged to us for review.”
In a statement to National Review, Mac Donald said her Thursday lecture “presented the facts about police shootings and the use of non-lethal force, based on federal data.”
“Those data show that the Black Lives Matter narrative that we are living through an epidemic of racially biased policing shootings of black men is false,” she said. “YouTube does not believe that the public deserves to know the truth about law enforcement in this country. The truth violates its ‘Community Guidelines,’ which apparently are dedicated to perpetuating racial hatred and the breakdown of law and order.”
After National Review reached out to the platform about the incident, YouTube reinstated the stream, saying it had been mistakenly removed, but added an age-sensitive “inappropriate” warning for users.
Mac Donald, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and best-selling author of The War on Cops, was invited to give a virtual lecture at the Center of the American Experiment, a conservative think tank based in Minnesota. Titled “The Truth About Crime, Race and Policing in America,” the video challenged the claims made by Black Lives Matter about police shootings of African Americans.
“The idea that the police are wantonly killing black men is a creation of a politicized press and an elite establishment dedicated to the idea that racism is America’s defining trait,” Mac Donald says in the lecture, which is still available on Facebook. She also argued that the death of George Floyd, which sparked nationwide unrest and rioting, was “immediately portrayed as what is known in literary theory as a ‘synecdoche’: a part that stands in for a whole, in this case, the whole of anti-black police violence.”
“But if we conclude from that one case, however shocking, that the police are biased against black men, we can just as easily conclude from other individual cases that the police are biased against white men,” she argued, citing the 2016 deaths of Tony Timpa and Daniel Shaver, both of whom were white and died at the hands of police officers in incidents captured on video.
Mac Donald concluded her presentation by warning that “this attack on law enforcement undermines our justice system and fundamental rights” and “could descend into civil war.”
In an email to the Center of the American Experiment, YouTube explained that after it had reviewed the complaint it received on Mac Donald’s lecture, the platform “determined that it violates our guidelines,” without specifying the complaint or the violation. Center of the American Experiment president John Hinderaker told National Review that the think tank is appealing the decision and was re-uploading the lecture to YouTube as a separate video.
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated after YouTube reinstated the livestream.