Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson has been suspended from YouTube over videos he posted about COVID-19 that violated the company’s policy on medical misinformation.
Johnson made the comments at a Milwaukee Press Club event held earlier this month. He was reportedly suspended from YouTube after uploading clips from the event.
“We removed the video in accordance with our COVID-19 medical misinformation policies, which don’t allow content that encourages people to use Hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin to treat or prevent the virus,” said a spokesperson for YouTube in a written statement.
YouTube’s company policy bans any content “that spreads medical misinformation that contradicts local health authorities’ or the World Health Organization’s (WHO) medical information about COVID-19.” The policy specifically bans videos that recommend Hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin to treat COVID-19 unless it includes “context that gives equal or greater weight to countervailing views from local health authorities or to medical or scientific consensus.”
Johnson has been a vocal advocate for Hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin to treat COVID-19 despite warnings from the medical community that the drugs are ineffective and could have averse side effects.
Johnson, who has regularly attacked social media companies over the past year, issued a written statement after his suspension saying the company’s censorship should concern everyone.
“YouTube’s ongoing Covid censorship proves they have accumulated too much unaccountable power,” Johnson said. “Big Tech and mainstream media believe they are smarter than medical doctors who have devoted their lives to science and use their skills to save lives. They have decided there is only one medical viewpoint allowed and it is the viewpoint dictated by government agencies. How many lives will be lost as a result?”
YouTube’s suspension reportedly will keep Johnson from uploading videos for one week.
Initially on Friday, the full, unedited video of Johnson’s remarks covering a wide range of topics remained on the Milwaukee Press Club YouTube page. However, by Friday night, YouTube had also removed Johnson’s video from the Milwaukee Press Club.
Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect that YouTube had also pulled the unedited video of Johnson’s remarks from the Milwaukee Press Club’s YouTube page.