YouTube says violent Trump video doesn’t violate terms of service

A still from a graphic video shown at a conference for Donald Trump supporters depicts the U.S. president as a mass shooter killed and assaulting members of the media and political opponents. YouTube

There has been widespread condemnation of a violent video depicting U.S. President Donald Trump committing acts of violence against political rivals and some news organizations.

Despite that, video streaming platform officials from YouTube say the video doesn’t violate their terms of service.

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The video — which the New York Times reported on Sunday was shown in front of a group of Trump supporters at the American Priority Conference at Trump’s Miami hotel — superimposes Trump’s face on a scene in which an attacker opens fire at a church.

Among the fake Trump’s victims are former President Barack Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Bill and Hillary Clinton and the late Sen. John McCain. Other victims seen inside the so-called “Church of Fake News” have media logos superimposed on their bodies, including NBC, Vice News, the Washington Post and Global News.

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According to YouTube’s policies, videos that are “Inciting others to commit violent acts against individuals or a defined group of people” are not allowed on the website.

The company told Global News that the violence was “clearly fictional.”

“For content containing violence that is clearly fictional, we age-restrict and display a warning interstitial. We applied these protections to this video,” spokesperson Ivy Choi said in a statement.

The video drew swift criticism — and multiple calls for Trump to publicly denounce the video because of concern it could incite violence.

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“We have previously told the president his rhetoric could incite violence,” Jonathan Karl, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, said in a statement.

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“Now we call on him and everybody associated with this conference to denounce this video and affirm that violence has no place in our society,” Karl added.

Senior Vice-President of Global News Ward Smith also condemned the video.

“We at Global News denounce this violent and disturbing video that is a further attack on journalism,” Smith said.

“We stand in solidarity with other news organizations demanding the White House and the Trump campaign condemn the video and any depictions of violence against journalists or political opponents.”

A statement from CNN read: “Sadly, this is not the first time that supporters of the President have promoted violence against the media in a video they apparently find entertaining — but it is by far and away the worst.”

“The President and his family, the White House, and the Trump campaign need to denounce it immediately in the strongest possible terms. Anything less equates to a tacit endorsement of violence and should not be tolerated by anyone.”

The calls were echoed by numerous journalism groups and other news organizations.

As of Monday evening, Trump had not publicly commented on the video, but White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham wrote on Twitter Monday morning that Trump would be watching the video promptly, and “upon everything he has heard, he strongly condemns this video.”

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The video also includes the logo for Trump’s 2020 campaign, but spokesman Tim Murtaugh said the “video was not produced by the campaign, and we do not condone violence.”

Other Trump allies also condemned it, including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s former press secretary, who was supposed to speak at the American Priority Conference.

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“I wasn’t aware of any video, nor do I support violence of any kind against anyone,” Sanders told the New York Times.

As for the American Priority Conference, officials said they were not aware of the video when it was shown.

“This video was not approved, seen or sanctioned by the … organizers,” the group said, adding that the video had been shown in a “side room.”

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*with files from Reuters and Global News’ Sean Boynton 

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