Kennedy Sues Google for Censoring Political Speech on YouTube

NEW YORK, NY—AUG. 4, 2023—Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a candidate for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, Wednesday filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court Northern District of California against Google, LLC and its wholly owned subsidiary YouTube, LLC.

Kennedy alleges that Google worked with the federal government to develop and enforce “misinformation” policies to censor the government’s political opponents, including Kennedy, who is running against President Biden in the Democratic primary. Such actions violate the First Amendment when, as here, they result from a public-private partnership that relies on government sources.

YouTube has become an important platform for political discourse in America, a digital town square that voters trust as a place to get news and opinions about the issues of the day, a place where people can communicate about matters of public concern. Nonetheless, Google has censored countless Americans for views that run counter to the narratives of the U.S. government. Kennedy is just the most high-profile victim of this censorship campaign. This degree of censorship of a major presidential candidate is unprecedented in American history.

The suit alleges that Google engaged in this censorship under the direction of federal officials, in an environment of political coercion.

“The government cannot censor its critics,” said Scott Street of JW Howard Attorneys, the attorney who is leading the litigation. “It cannot do so directly and it cannot do so by empowering private entities like Google to act as the censor. That principle is fundamental to American democracy, especially when it involves political speech. That is what this case is about. It's about preserving voters' freedom to speak, to hear, to think for themselves.”

Kennedy has spoken at length about subjects like toxic chemicals, Covid origins, and safety concerns about COVID-19 shots and other vaccines. Google has justified removing videos that discuss such topics from YouTube by claiming they contain “medical misinformation.” However, much of the material contained in the videos it removed during the 2024 presidential campaign had nothing to do with public health issues.

In one instance, Google removed a video of a speech given by Kennedy at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, the state that hosts America’s first primary.

His speech, which was viewed as a political speech and attended by several prominent New Hampshire Democrats including the chairman of New Hampshire’s Democratic Party, centered on Kennedy’s concerns about the corrupt merger of corporate and state power, an issue he has fought about for decades.

These actions run counter to a long-held American belief in free speech. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that “the right to think is the beginning of freedom” and that “speech must be protected from the government because speech is the beginning of thought.”

Kennedy is seeking an injunction to prohibit Google from relying on its “misinformation” policies to censor him during his presidential campaign. The case is assigned to Judge Nathanael Cousins.

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