Are Streamers Muzzling Controversial Documentaries?

6:15 AM PDT 6/26/2020 by Tatiana Siegel

Half a dozen hot-button docs have been pulled from platforms or dropped by digital distributors in the past year, angering filmmakers and viewers: "People do not like to be told they cannot see a film."

On May 25, YouTube pulled the Michael Moore-produced environmental documentary Planet of the Humans, a few weeks after the provocateur launched the film for free on his highly trafficked YouTube channel. The tech giant cited a copyright infringement claim made by photographer Toby Smith over a four-second clip used in the controversial doc, which takes on some of the environmental movement's most beloved figures, including Al Gore and Bill McKibben, and explores big money's influence on sustainability efforts. Smith said in an interview with The Guardian that he made the claim because he disagreed with the film's thesis, and YouTube acquiesced.

Moore was not pleased. "The fact that some so-called leaders of our beloved environmental movement resorted to slandering and suppressing a movie that called them out for their failures, that warned the public that we were losing the battle against climate change because these 'leaders' believed capitalism and billionaires would save planet Earth, has set the movement back so many years," the producer tells THR.

Director Jeff Gibbs says he and Moore later won the right to use the footage, and after a maelstrom of bad PR for the platform, YouTube restored the doc to Moore's channel.

The removal of Planet of the Humans wasn't an isolated event. Over the past year, a number of docs that seem to challenge the business interests of multinational conglomerates have been muzzled, buried or simply neglected — including ones from Oscar winners and nominees like Moore. In nearly every case, the distributor was a Silicon Valley tech giant....................................

.......................“These platforms are so big that not being able to get your viewpoint on one of them effectively means that people probably don’t know the film exists,” says Patricia Aufderheide, founder of the Center for Media & Social Impact at American University and an expert on censorship.

Even in other genres, Hollywood is increasingly hesitant to antagonize foreign governments or corporate interests. Studios will avoid offending China at all costs thanks to its box office prowess. (Consider Disney staying out of the fray as its Mulan star Liu Yifei threw her support behind police using force to quash pro-democracy demonstrations last year.) But the chilling effect is more pronounced in the documentary community, which had previously relied on niche distributors. Now doc distribution is far more susceptible to the whims of the streaming giants because, in recent years, Netflix, Amazon and their rivals have become the most voracious buyers.................................


Moore took a swing at Fox without naming him. "The fact that anyone calling themself a filmmaker could take part in a censorship campaign, and then participate in such a dishonest and unhinged attack, is appalling and pathetic.”

Still, suppression may have its benefits. In the case of Planet of the Humans, the film now has more than 10.6 million views, including 8.6 million on YouTube, perhaps buoyed by the censorship outcry. Notes Gibbs, who also was a producer on Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11: "People do not like to be told they cannot see a film."

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Comment by Kenneth Capron on June 28, 2020 at 1:18pm

People don't like being told what to do and what not to do.

Where was the gap in our education system that lead to everyone becoming judges and none becoming factfinders and truth tellers. Collectively, all the push back on free speech makes me wonder who is pushing the agenda of silence and who stands to gain. Nazi Germany partly succeeded by making its people so afraid to speak the truth that Nazis could get away with anything. And almost did.

I would wager that almost everyone has someone in their heritage who did something that would offend some cause and warrant removal of statues or books or works of art. But who made everyone else the judge and jury on such things.

Has there ever been a society so pure as to escape the riots and outrages of the poorly educated and historical revisionists?  If there was, all their statues must have gotten buried somewhere long ago.

Comment by arthur qwenk on June 26, 2020 at 2:46pm

The First Amendment is indeed under attack these days, along with many other things we call Constitutional Rights. Dangerous Times indeed.

Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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