In the middle of Pride Month, YouTube has removed the channel of an Australian series from LGBTQI creators. 

Ding Dong I’m Gay was released last year, with weekly episodes detailing the story of Cameron who, six years after coming out and moving to Sydney, sees his dreams of elite parties and mini-breaks with jaw-lined boyfriends flatline. The six-episode web series was made with funding from Screen Australia and Screen NSW.

Update: YouTube has now restored the channel and the episodes. In a message, the creators of the show said: “After a week of failed appeals and being told that our channel could not be recovered by a nameless email function – we are back! This is an incredible response and one that not all LGBTQ creators get. It is thanks to the support we’ve received from our friends, followers, investors and media. Thank you for helping us get our channel back! ”

While the series is back online, the show’s creators said the issue raises larger issues about corporates and LGBTQI+ content censorship.

“While this is a positive outcome, the sad reality is that we expect that this deactivation will be a reoccurring problem. It is part of a larger pattern of censorship that LGBTQ creators face across all social media platforms,” they  said in a post on Instagram.

“The brutal kill-switch was employed against our channel as a first-resort by YouTube. It appears to be designed to intimidate and silence creators as it provides no means for recourse. Anti-LGBTQ groups know this and will use it to their advantage again and again.”

“Corporations shouldn’t be complicit in an anti-LGBTQ agenda on their platforms while presenting a veneer of solidarity with a rainbow logo. We need support on the ground. We need them to stand up for us in the face of adversity and not just in theory,” they added.

YouTube Deleted Channel

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Creator of the show, Tim Spencer, said the decision to delete the entire channel in the middle of Pride month was “beyond disappointing”. 

 

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A post shared by Ding Dong I’m Gay (@dingdongimgay)

“The not-so-subtle message it gives LGBTQ creatives and audiences is that our identities are confronting, wrong and do not deserve to be seen,” he said. 

“It feels really disempowering to be censored so brutally and unfairly, particularly this month.” 

Spencer said the deletion came with no warning and follows the earlier censorship of episode four in which a male character performs oral sex on another male character.  The Star Observer reported this at the time and after enquiries, it was later reinstated by YouTube. A representative from YouTube had then confirmed that the episode meets the community standards and was removed in error. 

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In its latest decision, YouTube has removed the entire channel and all six episodes of the show. “The visuals of Ding Dong I’m Gay were very carefully composed to ensure they met YouTube’s policy around sexual content,” Spencer said. 

“We made sure the sexual content is not gratuitous, that no genitalia is ever seen, and the episodes were locked to 18+ audiences. 

“As a rule, the sex scenes in Ding Dong I’m Gay were always written and shot for humour, not for titillation.”

 

Brayden Dalmazzone and Tim Spencer in ‘Ding Dong I’m Gay’ Season 1. Photographer: Maja Basker

Spencer said viewers have seen heterosexual films and television deal with bad sex between a man and a woman for decades. He added there is plenty of heterosexual content on YouTube that shows oral sex. 

“Why are LGBTQ creatives and audiences not afforded the same opportunity to make light of our sexual disasters,” Spencer asked. 

“My fellow producers and I have been so excited to bring this series to YouTube and engage with our audience there. 

“I only hope that YouTube chooses to re-instate the channel and this unfair decision does not undo all our hard work to create an LGBT sex-positive comedy.” 

The creators have appealed the decision, but have received an email to say it has been denied. Star Observer has contacted YouTube for comment and will update the story when they respond. 

 

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