YouTube suspended Sen. Ron Johnson’s account on Friday after the Wisconsin Republican posted his recent remarks about alternative therapies to treat Covid-19.
“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 said in a statement.
Johnson’s account is blocked from uploading videos for a week. The company’s policy states it does not allow content that spreads medical misinformation contradicting local health authorities or the World Health Organization’s information about Covid-19, regardless of the speaker.
In a June 3 virtual appearance before the Milwaukee Press Club, Johnson criticized the Trump and Biden 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,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
His ban comes as Republicans have increasingly been at loggerheads with tech companies over the perceived censorship of conservatives and a month after former President Donald Trump’s ban from Facebook was upheld. Trump is also still banned or restricted from using YouTube, Instagram and Twitter, among other platforms.
Corri Hess, the president of the Milwaukee Press Club, tweeted Friday afternoon that the group would not remove “the on the record event with journalists.” However, by Friday evening, she posted that the video of the remarks had been removed by YouTube from the press club's channel.
Johnson’s office slammed the tech giant for the move in a statement.
“YouTube’s ongoing Covid censorship proves they have accumulated too much unaccountable power. 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,” Johnson said in the statement.
"They have decided there is only one medical viewpoint allowed and it is the viewpoint dictated by government agencies," the statement 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."