Posted on May 18, 2021

An Asian Uber Driver Was Attacked by a Mob. Then YouTube Took Down the Video of His Beating.

Zaid Jilani, Inquire, May 16, 2021

In February, Google CEO Sundar Pichai Tweeted about how we shouldn’t let violence against Asian Americans “fade from the headlines.” {snip} Google was going to work to #StopAsianHate.

Those words are unlikely to be comforting to Vincent Kang.

In mid-May, the West Virginia native and Uber driver arrived for a pickup in Morgantown when he was greeted with a mob of people who were involved in some kind of fist fight. He soon discovered that his intended passengers were fighting with people in the crowd.

Those passengers fled to his car, and the mob attacked them, Kang, and even the car itself, doing as much as $1500 in damage. MetroNews, a West Virginia news outlet, covered the mob attack.


As evidence of the assault, Kang uploaded a video onto YouTube, which is owned and operated by the aforementioned Google. The MetroNews embedded the same clip.

But if you try to watch it now, you’ll find a message from YouTube noting that the video violated its Terms of Service.

“Youtube simply said that the videos violated ‘community standards’. I appealed and they quickly denied it,” he told me over e-mail. “Currently I have a ‘strike’ for uploading them so I cannot upload any videos to YouTube at this time.”

I reached out to Google’s press office and asked them what exactly about Kang’s video violated the service. Elena Hernandez, who works in the office, told me that the “video violated our policies on violent and graphic content.” {snip}

It’s not clear how exactly this policy is enforced. You can find all kinds of violent content on YouTube, including clips of political violence. Kang also uploaded the videos to Twitter, which has not taken them down: