Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) sent a letter to the CEO of YouTube this week asking for information on the company’s “troubling track record” of censorship.
Johnson, who has been suspended twice from YouTube, is demanding that YouTube turn over documents and emails pertaining to his suspensions and the formation of the tech giant’s COVID misinformation policy.
“YouTube has displayed a troubling track record of censoring a sitting United States Senator, the proceedings of the United States Senate, journalists that interview me, and the display of data that is entirely generated from U.S. government health agencies,” Johnson wrote in a letter to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki.
The Wisconsin senator, a frequent critic of big tech companies, has also been vocal about his support of potential alternatives treatments for COVID and his opposition to vaccine mandates.
“Your company has suspended me twice for advocating for the early treatment of COVID-19, opposing vaccine mandates for children and workers, and advocating for the vaccine injured,” he said in his letter.
In June 2021, Johnson had his channel suspended for a week for suggesting that hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin might be effective drugs to combat COVID. At the time, YouTube did not allow claims that said either of the two drugs were “effective treatments for COVID-19.”
Later in November, Johnson was again suspended after posting a video discussing numbers from the Vaccine Adverse Effects Reporting System (VAERS), a self-reporting database.
“Once again Big Tech is censoring the truth,” he stated after his account was handed a one-week suspension. “Why won’t they let the vaccine injured tell their stories and medical experts give a second opinion? Why can’t we discuss the harmful effects of mandates?”
Fellow Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has also clashed with YouTube over its policies regarding what it deems to be misinformation. Paul was given a suspension on the platform after he posted a video where he voiced skepticism about masks.
“I’m not sure when YouTube became an arm of the government, and I’m not really sure it’s good for journalism to also be an arm of the government without any repercussions or push back,” the Kentucky Senator said after his suspension.
In his letter to YouTube, Johnson also says that the company should have flagged President Biden for misinformation regarding several of his claims about COVID, but that the company never did.
Johnson asked the company that it responds to him with the requested materials by October 5.