YouTube employees upset at company's refusal to remove song considered anti-Asian

YouTube employees upset at company's refusal to remove song considered anti-Asian
© Getty Images

Staff members at YouTube have recently taken issue with the company's refusal to remove a song that some of them find to be racist toward the Asian American community.

Employees called for the removal of rapper YG's 2014 song “Meet the Flockers,” due to its inclusion of lyrics that detail a burglary and call for targeting of Chinese neighborhoods, according to Bloomberg.

"First: You find a house and scope it out \ Find a Chinese neighborhood \ 'Cause they don't believe in bank accounts," the lyrics state.


Asian American and Pacific Islander communities have seen a recent surge in violence during the coronavirus pandemic, with a recent incident including a shooting rampage in the Atlanta area that left eight people dead, including six Asian women.

In light of the increased violence, some YouTube employees requested that the company's Trust & Safety team, which is tasked with ensuring a safe community on the platform, remove the song. That request was later denied, Bloomberg reported.

“We find this video to be highly offensive and understand it is painful for many to watch, including many in Trust & Safety and especially given the ongoing violence against the Asian community,” YouTube executives wrote in an email to staff obtained by Bloomberg.

“While we debated this decision at length amongst our policy experts, we made the difficult decision to leave the video up to enforce our policy consistently and avoid setting a precedent that may lead to us having to remove a lot of other music on YouTube," the letter continued.

Despite the decision, the streaming platform maintained that it is still open to hearing from employees and strives to create a space of open dialogue.

“YouTube has an open culture and employees are encouraged to share their views, even when they disagree with a decision,” a YouTube spokeswoman told the outlet. “We’ll continue this dialogue as part of our ongoing work to balance openness with protecting the YouTube community at large.” 

YouTube reportedly removed more than 97,000 videos and more than 46 million comments last year that it determined violated its hate speech policy.