YouTube Suspends Ron Johnson for One Week

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Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) asks questions during the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs/Rules and Administration hearing to examine the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., March 3, 2021. (Greg Nash/Pool via Reuters)

YouTube suspended Senator Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) from uploading videos for seven days and removed a video of a speech in which he discussed early treatments for COVID-19 on Friday.

The video that was taken down featured remarks from a hearing where Johnson discussed experimental treatments for COVID-19 such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.

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In the clip, Johnson blasted the Biden and Trump administrations for “not only ignoring but working against robust research [on] the use of cheap, generic drugs to be repurposed for early treatment of COVID” and said that he held two hearings on the matter.

“It always baffled me that there was such a concerted effort to deny the American public the type of robust exploration research into early treatment early in this pandemic,” Johnson said before calling ivermectin annd hydroxychloroquine “incredibly safe.”

However, both drugs are unproven as effective treatments for the virus.

The platform said it removed the video due to its policies against COVID-19 misinformation. 

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“We removed the video in accordance with our COVID-19 medical misinformation policies, which don’t allow content that encourages people to use Hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin to treat or prevent the virus,” a YouTube spokesperson told The Hill.

The platform has explained that its policy is to not promote content that “contradicts local health authorities’ or the World Health Organization’s (WHO) medical information about COVID-19.”

The WHO warned against using hydroxychloroquine in March of this year, citing data suggesting it was ineffective.

Youtube added that it has a policy of removing content from any user and has a three-strikes policy, according to The Hill. 

Johnson criticized the platform’s decision on Friday, saying it is an example of Big Tech’s power.

“YouTube’s ongoing Covid censorship proves they have accumulated too much unaccountable power,” he said in a statement. “Big Tech and mainstream media believe they are smarter than medical doctors who have devoted their lives to science and use their skills to save lives. They have decided there is only one medical viewpoint allowed and it is the viewpoint dictated by government agencies.”

He continued: “How many lives will be lost as a result? How many lives could have been saved with a free exchange of medical ideas? Government-sanctioned censorship of ideas and speech should concern us all.”

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Hydroxychloroquine was thrust into the national spotlight in 2020 when then-President Trump suggested the drug was effective at fighting the coronavirus.

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