Is Google anti-Christian? The producer of 'I'm Not Ashamed' thinks so
Posted November 2, 2016
The producer of the new faith-based film “I’m Not Ashamed” has accused Google of having an anti-Christian bias after YouTube deleted the film’s trailer from its website more than a year ago, according to the Christian Post.
The film is about a student, Rachel Scott, who was killed during the 1999 Columbine High School shooting. Sadie Robertson, best known for her role on “Duck Dynasty,” plays the young girl, a religious teen who was shot because of her beliefs.
To promote the film, producer Chuck Howard created a YouTube account last year specifically to show trailers and any behind-the-scenes videos that the production crew created, according to the Christian Post. YouTube reportedly didn’t offer any details as to why the trailer was taken off of the page.
The YouTube video reappeared only after The Hollywood Reporter asked YouTube why it decided to take the video down.
“With the massive volume of videos on our platform, sometimes we make the wrong call on content that is flagged by our community. When this is brought to our attention, we review the content and take appropriate action, including restoring videos or channels that were mistakenly removed,” YouTube said in a statement.
So why exactly did the video get taken down? THR describes one scene in particular that may not be suitable for all viewers.
“The trailer contains an intense but very brief look at the killers making a video prior to their rampage and also a snippet of the shooting at the school, but it is mild by today’s standards when it comes to graphic content,” THR reported.
As a result of the removed video, YouTube told the “I’m Not Ashamed” channel that it has a “temporary penalty” that says any other videos that go against YouTube’s standards could lead to the account’s total termination.
The filmmakers have decided to take legal action, though. Lawyers Massey, Stotser & Nichols are asking YouTube to remove the penalty on the channel, according to THR.
“At the time the movie trailer for 'I’m Not Ashamed' was removed from YouTube in October of last year, it had over 5 million views. Since its reinstatement, there are virtually no views,” reads a letter to YouTube from attorney Garrick Stotser. “My client was never provided with any clear explanation or substantiation of why the movie trailer was removed. YouTube’s removal of the movie trailer has interfered with promotional activities of the film.”
Still, the film has received a decent amount of attention even without the YouTube channel. The film made roughly $1.6 million after it was released to 516 theaters, according to Box Office Mojo.
Reviews have been split so far. While audiences gave it a 93 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, critics were less generous, giving it a 33 percent rating.
Some early reviews for the film believe the producers twisted the narrative to fit their agenda. As The Guardian’s Jordan Hoffman wrote, the film, produced by the same company that produced “God’s Not Dead” and “God’s Not Dead 2,” actually “bends the horrible tragedy of the Columbine massacre into a false narrative of Christian martyrdom.”
Hoffman said in his review that the film does well to show a high school girl dealing with her religious beliefs amid social pressures. But, ultimately, Hoffman said the tragedy becomes merely a plot device to spread a pro-Christian ideology.
Meanwhile, Luke Y. Thompson, a contributor for Forbes, said the film doesn’t hammer on the Christian beliefs too much. Instead, the main character Rachel’s ability to lead a Christian life by example proves to be a subtle way her convictions play out on the screen.
“Her religion is a part of her, but aside from the obligatory crying-and-praying parts, a heavy-handed beginning, and an ending that asks all viewers to start texting for Christ, it’s not overbearing,” he wrote. “Like the character, it asks you to tolerate and understand, but doesn’t hammer you to believe. Mostly.”
Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.