PEN AMERICA ISSUES SECOND STATEMENT DENOUNCING CENSORSHIP
DAY 4: FILMMAKERS FIGHT BACK & INTEND TO WIN
Planet of the Humans has been viewed over 8.3 million times on YouTube in just over 30 days and was scheduled to remain up at least until the end of June.
NEW YORK, NY (Thursday, May 28, 2020) — Day 4. The filmmakers behind one of the most-watched and talked-about documentaries of the year, Planet of the Humans, are fighting back after the film was removed from YouTube after a coordinated censorship campaign. The film had posted over 8.3 million views on Michael Moore’s Rumble Media YouTube channel in just over four weeks since its premiere on April 21, the eve of the 50th Earth Day.
The filmmakers recently announced that the release of Planet of the Humans, which had been made available for free to the public four weeks ago, had been extended with free access for another month through the end of June.
As Michael Moore wrote today on his Facebook page:
“Day 4: Still banned. Our YouTube channel still black. In the United States of America. The public now PROHIBITED from watching our film “Planet of the Humans” because it calls out the eco-industrial complex for collaborating with Wall Street and contributing to us losing the battle against the climate catastrophe. As the film points out, with sadness, some of our environmental leaders and groups have hopped into bed with Bloomberg, GoldmanSachs, numerous hedge funds, even the Koch Bros have found a way to game the system— and they don’t want you to know that. They and the people they fund are behind this censorship. We showed their failure and collusion, they didn’t like us for doing that, so instead of having the debate with us out in the open, they chose the route of slandering the film — and now their attempt at the suppression of our free speech. “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” Fascism is given life when “liberals” employ authoritarian tactics. Or sit back and say nothing. Who will speak up against blocking the public from seeing a movie that a group of “green capitalists” don’t want you to see? Where is the Academy? Where is the International Documentary Association? If you leave us standing alone, your film may be next. What is pictured above could be the darkened screen of your next movie. Do we not all know the time we are living in? All this energy spent trying to save our film when we should be saving the planet — but the green capitalists have once again provided a distraction so that no one will see what they’re really up to, so that no one will call them out for thinking we’re going to end the climate crisis by embracing or negotiating with capitalism. We call BS to that — and that is why our film has vanished. But not for long. We will not be silenced. We, and hundreds of millions of others, are the true environmental movement — because we know the billionaires are not our friends.”
“Planet of the Humans is a powerful examination of how so-called “green capitalists” have “taken over our beloved environmental movement and are causing us to lose the battle to stop the meltdown of our earthly life support systems,” according to the film’s writer and director, Jeff Gibbs. “Our movie has captured the attention of the nation and created desperately needed discussion.”
From the first day of its release, opponents of the movie first tried to censor it by pressuring sites on the internet to “take down this dangerous film” — which led the leading civil liberties organization for writers and artists, PEN America, to demand that the public not be barred from seeing the film. PEN America insisted that those behind the censorship campaign should cease their efforts to deny the filmmakers their right to freedom of expression.
Statement issued Wednesday by Oscar®-winner Mic
hael Moore, executive producer and distributor of Planet of the Humans
“This attempt to take down my film and prevent the public from seeing it is a blatant act of censorship by political critics of my movie. It is an attempted misuse of copyright law to shutdown a film that has opened a serious conversation about how parts of the environmental movement have gotten into bed with Wall Street and so-called “green capitalists.” There is absolutely no copyright violation in my film. This is just another attempt by the film’s opponents to subvert my right to free speech.”
“Opponents of my film, who do not like its critique of the failures of the environmental movement, have worked for weeks to have my film taken down and to block me from appearing on TV and on livestream. Their efforts to subvert free speech have failed, with nearly eight and a half million people already viewing the film on YouTube. These Trumpian tactics are shameful, and their aim to stifle free speech and prevent people from grappling with the uncomfortable truths exposed in this film is deeply disturbing.”
“PEN America, which was founded in 1922 and fights for the free speech of artists in the U.S. and around the world, came out strongly and denounced the initial attempt to censor this film, and we hope all champions of free expression condemn this act of censorship. We are working with YouTube to resolve this issue and have the film back up as soon as possible.”
Today’s New Statement by PEN America as Published on PEN.org
Copyright claims shouldn’t be used as cover for censorship
PEN America has issued its concern over calls to censor Michael Moore’s film “Planet of the Humans,” and today responded to YouTube pulling the film over copyright concerns. PEN America’s Summer Lopez, senior director of free expression programs, said the following:
“The removal of ‘Planet of the Humans’ from YouTube in the midst of a controversy over its content raises concerns that those who disagree with the film may be attempting to keep it from public view. And while copyright protection is of critical importance to content creators, PEN America has concerns about the risk of copyright infringement claims being used as grounds to remove entire works from public view, even if the dispute relates to a tiny fraction of the content. We are also aware that YouTube’s takedown mechanism has been subject to abuse before, and that their copyright review process can be slow, resulting in the disappearance of content for long periods, even in the case of claims that may ultimately be resolved in favor of a work’s reinstatement to the platform.”
“YouTube should take steps to ensure that this process is not used as a proxy to achieve removal of content that would not otherwise violate the platform’s terms of service. In this case, knowing that there have been calls to remove this video from circulation on the basis of the views expressed therein, we urge YouTube to expedite its review process and to restore the film to YouTube immediately if they judge it protected by fair use. We pass no judgement on the merits of the controversy over the content of the film, and appreciate that there may be genuine, well-taken disputes with its portrayals and message. But the answer isn’t to censor or suppress it. The public has a fundamental right to view this film, to hear all sides of the debate, and to come to their own conclusions. The response to contentious and challenging questions like those raised by both the film and its critics should be more speech, not silencing.”