In a comedy sketch by YouTuber John Burk, "Paint Like a Feminist", Google placed a so-called trigger warning on a 10-month-old video to warn viewers that the content is offensive. In the warning, Google placed the following warning: "The following content has been identified by the YouTube community as inappropriate or offensive to some audiences. Viewer discretion is advised." Google owns YouTube. To watch the three-minute video, users must click a link that explains they understand the warning and wish to view the video.
In the video, Burk wears an afro wig and speaks in a soft and gentle voice, evoking the beloved PBS paint-show host of The Joy of Painting, Bob Ross. Between rudimentary strokes, Burk comments on the so-called MeToo movement in Hollywood and the Women's March. While the language Burk uses is not for children, his language is not unusual on late-night broadcast television.
With 480,000 views, there are more than 70,000 upvotes and only 1,400 downvotes on Burk's satire video. Spero News asked Google several questions, including who is part of the "YouTube community" who therefore triggered the trigger warning and how a political satire video obtains a trigger warning. We have not yet received a reply from Google in time for publication.
After a review by Spero News, none of the political satire videos produced by Saturday Night Live that are hosted on YouTube, including those with sexual language and innuendo, include a trigger warning.
In a video Burk posted last month, Burk said he currently focuses his creative work on other platforms such as Twitch. In the video, Burk said Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, is more supportive of the First Amendment "even though they are more left." Burk said Twitch has been more tolerant of his political views than YouTube.
Editor's Note: In August, Google demonetized every video produced by Spero News on our YouTube account without explanation.