Conservative Christians are up in arms over the fact that Vimeo recently removed videos from its site that promoted gay conversion therapy, saying the videos violated their guidelines.
Dr. Michael Brown, writing at OneNewsNow, explained the problem this way:
Last December, Vimeo contacted [Dr. David Kyle Foster, “director of Pure Passion Ministries and himself a former homosexual,”] to inform him that some of Pure Passion’s videos had been marked by a moderator since “Vimeo does not allow videos that harass, incite hatred or depict excessive violence.”
They instructed him to “remove any and all videos of this sort from” from his account — he had 850 videos on Vimeo — and let him know that his account would be reviewed in 48 hours. If his ministry failed to remove the allegedly offensive videos, then, he was informed, “your videos and/or your account may be removed by a Vimeo moderator.”
When Foster wrote back and said his videos “help” people, Vimeo responded with the verbal equivalent of a raised eyebrow.
The next day, Melissa B., a “Trust and Safety Coordinator,” responded: “It seems that a number of your videos go against the Vimeo Guidelines of: ‘We also forbid content that displays a demeaning attitude toward specific groups, including: Videos that promote Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE).’”
By this logic, Alcoholics Anonymous would not be welcome on Vimeo, since their videos demean alcoholism; or weight loss videos would not be welcome, because they shame the overweight; or testimonies of Christian converts from Islam would not be welcome, because they shame Muslims.
That’s bullshit, of course. Promoting unscientific, harmful gay conversion therapy — which some people consider torture — is not the same as alcoholism or obesity. And Vimeo isn’t removing the personal testimonies of converts unless they’re actually shaming Muslims.
After more back and forth, Foster’s videos were eventually removed. And now Brown and the American Family Association are asking supporters to send emails to Vimeo to reinstate the videos, subscribe to the group’s still-functioning YouTube channel, and pray.
Vimeo is a private company. They can do whatever they want. It’s not anti-Christian discrimination to take down videos that are perceived as hateful against LGBT people, which is exactly what gay conversion therapy is since it suggests that being gay or lesbian is something that needs a fix and falsely argues that there’s a way to change one’s sexual orientation.
And in case you need more evidence of how flimsy this case against Vimeo is, look at Brown’s argument as to how the website is being hypocritical:
Foster wrote to me privately, pointing out that Vimeo allows “videos of terrorists and pornographers.” He added:
Put “jihad” in their search bar and you get 2,233 selections.
Put “lust” + Vimeo in a Google search and one option is a porn filmmaker site among 288 other sites containing 2,872 videos.
Google “rape” + Vimeo and you get 2,817 videos.
Google “teen rape” + Vimeo and you get at least one rape video.
At the risk of someone noticing my search history, I typed that stuff into Vimeo and Google. You won’t find videos of rape on the site. Or videos of terrorist beheadings. Or anything graphic and violent and hateful. (And if you do, you can report them.) Porn isn’t allowed, either, though “artistic and non-sexual nudity” is okay. Videos discussing controversial concepts are just fine.
Their guidelines make all this very clear:
It also makes no sense to say this is a war against Christians when there’s no shortage of sermons on the website — including pastors talking about why homosexuality is harmful.
There’s a difference between promoting your religious beliefs and promoting dangerous, unscientific, discredited forms of therapy that have been known to cause serious damage to victims. Vimeo’s absolutely right to purge those latter videos.
Don’t let anti-gay Christians clog up their inboxes.
(Image via Shutterstock)