Last Updated on August 23, 2019
Prager University announced its plans to sue Google after its video platform, YouTube, censored over 200 of the right wing educational organization’s videos since 2017, and has now raised over $50,000 – more than half of its fundraising goal – in less than 24 hours.
In a Facebook fundraiser, Prager University explains that its lawsuit against Google, launched in 2017, is quickly approaching. Dennis Prager’s organization heads to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit on August 27, and the organization is undergoing one last round of fundraising to pay for the legal expenses.
“On August 27th, PragerU is taking YouTube and Google to court! PragerU has sued the tech giant for restricting over 200 videos and demonetizing many others,” the Facebook fundraising page reads.
“Our federal lawsuit before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is critical for the freedom of speech, as it will determine whether conservatives can freely share their ideas online.”
The page goes on to explain that “Google/YouTube are the two largest search engines in the world, and they are deliberately restricting PragerU and conservative voices online.” It adds, “The assault against free speech cannot continue, and PragerU is prepared to take up the fight.”
At press time, the fundraiser has been going for roughly 18 hours, and Prager University has raised just short of $51,000, well over half of the fundraiser’s $100,000 goal.
The lawsuit, launched in 2017, hopes to use the big tech platform’s Congressional testimony to paint it into a corner.
In the latest court documents, Prager University cites an exchange between Texas Senator Ted Cruz and YouTube’s Global Head of Public Policy and Government Relations, Juniper Downs, from January of 2018.
In Congress, Cruz asked representatives from Facebook, Google, and Twitter whether they considered their platforms to be “public forums”, and while those representing Facebook and Twitter deftly handled the question while refusing to specifically refer to the platforms as public forums, Downs affirmed that Google and YouTube are a public forum, and specifically told Cruz he was was “correct” in his understanding of what this means.
The lawsuit uses this exchange to question whether Google is engaging in “state action” by censoring political speech on YouTube. If so, the private company would likely be in violation of the First Amendment, as restriction of speech and interpretation of the First Amendment are privileges left exclusively to the federal government.
If the lawsuit is successful, it could mean a major blow to all of the big tech companies’ ability to censor conservatives without repercussion.