R.E.M.‘s Michael Stipe has long been shy about discussing his sexuality publicly, but that all changed with a 2008 Spin interview in which he said he realized that “to have public figures be very open about their sexuality helps some kid somewhere out there.” Since then, he’s become increasingly vocal about all the anti-gay bigotry that exists in the world, most recently in reference to Youtube‘s rejection of a promo clip for upcoming album Put Your Back N 2 It by indie pop band Perfume Genius.
Although it’s not particularly explicit, Youtube told the band’s label Matador Records that it wasn’t “family safe”:
The ad has been disapproved because it violates our Adult Image/Video Content policy. Per this policy, video content, audio, static imagery, and site content must be family safe. Any ads that contain non family safe material are disapproved… the overall feeling of the video is one of a more adult nature, including promoting mature sexual themes and what appears to be nude content. As such, the video is non family safe. In order to have this video ad approved, you will need to bring it into compliance with our policy.
Here’s the clip in question:
Pretty tame, right? I can’t imagine they would have rejected a straight version of that. Sure, one of the men is gay porn star Arpad Miklos, but porn stars are allowed to be on Youtube, provided they keep their naughty bits covered (as the many clips of “Sasha Grey on Sasha Grey” would attest).
Michael Stipe was understandably pissed about this, and posted this cutting paragraph to his blog last night:
I’ve been listening to the new Perfume Genius record all last week in Mexico, it is a beautiful and amazing record and a stunning 2nd album and achievement. But in trying to advertise the record and first video, this short clip has been banned by YouTube. For YouTube to deem this advertisement as “non family safe” is dumbheaded discrimination; I find their actions in doing so disgraceful and cowardly. YouTube, shame on you. You were born of the 21st Century, now act like it.
Indeed. For a website that gladly helps circulate “It Gets Better” videos, Youtube is not actually doing much to make things better for LGBT folk.