La Carmina’s Report on Japanese Goth Party Pulled From YouTube
UPDATE: Four days ago, DJ Taiki uploaded a video of the Black Veil Goth Party on YouTube. It contains the same “offending” content as in the La Carmina video. Perhaps even more. And yet, it has not been pulled. You can’t get more arbitrary than this YouTube. Absurd.
Siouxsie is a big fan of La Carmina (Goth Girl/Yale Law Grad/ Author/Fashion Designer/TV Host/CNNGO Correspondent/etc.)
Yesterday, La Carmina posted a video on YouTube showcasing Black Veil’s 10th Anniversary Ball (the Black Veil is a monthly Goth/EBM party in Osaka, Japan (it is said to be one of the best Goth/EBM events in the world)). The gathering is put on by DJ Taiki who, according to La Carmina, is known to mix “obscure cyber-rave with Abba, 80s Goth and Mylene Farmer.”
It sounds like an amazing event. But YouTube immediately pulled the video because YouTube decided that La Carmina’s video was counter to its decency policies. [source]
YouTube sent only the following notice to La Carmina:
The following video(s) from your account have been disabled for violation of the YouTube Community Guidelines:
BLACK VEIL Goth party in Osaka, DJ Taiki, Kozi of Malice Mizer, Gothic Lolita Cyber nightclub – (lacarmina)
Your account has received one Community Guidelines warning strike, which will expire in six months. Additional violations may result in the temporary disabling of your ability to post content to YouTube and/or the termination of your account.
The YouTube Team
The email provides no further explanation. YouTube does not allow for any reconsideration of their ruling. One more misstep and La Carmina could lose her entire YouTube account, which has over 3000 subscribers. This is a potentially huge penalty. The mere threat of this severe sanction stifles free speech and expression.
So what was the big deal about the video? La Carmina has since uploaded the video to Metacafe, so you can still see the entire video there. The video is 2:39 in length. The final scene features a 20-second clip from a stage performance. In that clip, there is a scantily clad woman who submits to being whipped in front of the audience. The lighting is poor, but it looks like there could possibly be some nudity, maybe. It is difficult to tell. It is clear that the whipping is simulated. The whole thing is an act, a performance. This is art, not pornography.
YouTube doesn’t see it that way. La Carmina’s reporting on this party has been flagged for indecent or pornographic material. And YouTube has pulled the clip.
Whether or not you approve of the video, the real problem here is that YouTube’s application of its so-called community decency standards is completely arbitrary. There are hundreds of videos on YouTube that have content just as edgy (or offensive depending on your view point) but have not been removed.
YouTube’s censorship is especially troubling because there is no process by which to challenge the removal of videos. It is totally evil for YouTube not to provide its users with some process through which to seek recourse when they feel their work has been wrongfully pulled. There needs to be some mechanism to appeal these decisions.
Putting all that aside, is this video really beneath our community standards? Women with whips have been around for decades (or longer). Check out this clip from the Avengers. This episode titled A Touch of Brimstone, which aired in the U.K. in 1966 (more than forty years ago). You can watch the entire uncut version of this episode on YouTube right now. This clip is Part III of the episode. The whipping scene takes place at the six minute mark.
Robert Mapplethorpe’s Self Portrait with Whip caused an uproar back in 1978. Now, you can get a print for $26,000 at Christie’s.
DEVO’s video for Whip It is purposefully and intentionally outrageous and offensive. Try and count the number of offensive things in the video. Yet, you can watch this video on YouTube all day long.
Siouxsie actually prefers this mash-up of Indiana Jones whipping scenes set to the song instead.
It is completely unclear as to what pushed YouTube over the edge here. Pulling the video was wrong. YouTube should reconsider its position on La Carmina’s video. And YouTube needs to reconsider its policies and the way in which they are applied.
Bonus Video: The Dazz Band — Let It Whip