Why did YouTube yank this video of a creepy Uber driver fondling himself?


Yesterday, we wrote about a video showing an Uber driver who went into the backseat of his car and started fondling himself while whispering “you’re so beautiful” to a female passenger. Uber promptly removed the driver from the service. Today brings more information: We now know YouTube pulled down the video for violating their terms of service, and the man who originally posted the video thinks Uber has something to do with it.

The video was originally uploaded to Facebook more than a week ago by a man who identifies himself as “Johnny Gigantic,” a friend of the passenger. It picked up steam on the Internet yesterday, getting picked up by various outlets, including the Daily Mail.

At some point yesterday, YouTube yanked the video, telling Mr. Gigantic that it violated the terms of service on the basis of “sexual content.” Mr. Gigantic then uploaded the video again, but this time blurring out the fondling—YouTube removed it once more. Here’s what Youtube’s sexual content policy is:

Sexually explicit content like pornography is not allowed. Videos containing fetish content will be removed or age-restricted depending on the severity of the act in question. In most cases, violent, graphic, or humiliating fetishes are not allowed to be shown on YouTube.
A video that contains nudity or other sexual content may be allowed if the primary purpose is educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic, and it isn’t gratuitously graphic. For example, a documentary on breast cancer would be appropriate, but posting clips out of context from the same documentary might not be. Remember that providing context in the title and description will help us and your viewers determine the primary purpose of the video.

It seems like this video might fall under the “documentary” portion of their policy, and therefore be ostensibly permissible. YouTube has not yet replied to a request for comment.

Mr. Gigantic launched a website, bannedfromthenet.com, where the original video is hosted. On it, he writes “The video Uber and Google don’t want you to see!” On his Facebook page, he writes, “Uber got YouTube and Facebook to ban it. Now I am officially‪#‎BannedFromTheNet‬ – Please share and stop ‪#‎BillionaireBullying‬ today.”

Uber declined to comment for this story.

In 2013, Google Ventures invested $258 million in Uber, Google Venture’s largest investment ever at the time.

Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.

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