Michael Stipe calls YouTube ‘disgraceful’ over removal of Perfume Genius clip – video

Former REM singer says decision to take the clip down is 'dumbheaded discrimination'

Former REM frontman Michael Stipe has described the managers of YouTube as ”disgraceful and cowardly” after they opted not to allow a clip, which has been made by the singer Perfume Genius, to run as an advertisement on the site.

The video, which advertised the new Perfume Genius album ‘Put Your Back N 2 It’, has been prevented from running as an advertisement across the Google Display Network, which includes YouTube, over fears about its content.

The 16 second clip featured Perfume Genius, otherwise known as Mike Hadreas, embracing gay porn star Arpad Miklos, in shots taken from the video to the song ‘Hood’. YouTube took the video down after saying that it “promoted mature sexual themes”.


Stipe, writing on his blog Confessionsofamichaelstipe.tumblr.com, hit out at the site’s decision to take the clip down, which he described as “dumbheaded discrimination”.

He wrote:

I’ve been listening to the new Perfume Genius record. 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.

YouTube sent to following message to Perfume Genius‘ record label Matador after taking down the video: “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. I noted to the team that the people in the video are not entirely unclothed, but 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.”

Matador’s Nils Bernsetin added: “I should note that this isn’t a user-uploaded video – the music video itself is on YouTube and not even flagged as ‘adult’ – this is what’s called a “pre-roll” ad, those annoying ads that we pay YouTube to run before videos you want to watch. So it seems they’re worried about upsetting unsuspecting viewers that don’t want to see two men looking romantically at each other.”

A YouTube spokesperson told NME that the advertisement simply violated the site’s policies and the decision to remove it was made “without any consideration of the sexual orientation of the content.”


‘Put Your Back N 2 It’ is released on February 20.

Perfume Genius ad from nils bernstein on Vimeo.

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