YouTube has rejected a proposal from within the company to remove a video by successful Los Angeles rapper YG, which features lyrics about targeting Asian neighbourhoods for robbery.
Employees had requested the 2014 track, Meet the Flockers, be removed, following the 16 March shooting in Atlanta that killed eight people, six of them Asian women, as well as a wider wave of anti-Asian hate crime in the US.
The track begins with the lines: “First, you find a house and scope it out / find a Chinese neighbourhood, cause they don’t believe in bank accounts.”
In an internal email reported by Bloomberg, two executives wrote: “Our hate speech policy prohibits content promoting violence or hatred against protected groups, for attributes like race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and expression … In this case, this video receives an EDSA [Educational, Documentary, Scientific or Artistic] exception as a musical performance.”
The executives, anonymised by Bloomberg on security grounds, said they “find this video to be highly offensive and understand it is painful for many to watch … especially given the ongoing violence against the Asian community,” but wanted to “avoid setting a precedent that may lead to us having to remove a lot of other music on YouTube”.
YG, who has scored five US Top 10 albums since 2014, has not commented on the decision.
The track has previously been criticised by Jane Kim, a San Francisco politician who called for it to be banned in 2016.