Award-winning filmmaker Signe Baumane writes to tell me that yesterday somebody flagged her one-minute short The Very First Desire Now and Forever for having “objectionable content” and today the film was pulled from YouTube. What was so objectionable in this short, which we’ve plugged before on Cartoon Brew? A baby innocently squeezing milk from its mother’s breasts.
What happened to Signe’s film should serve as a warning to all filmmakers who choose to use a free corporate service like YouTube to host their film work. But the bigger issue is that YouTube should consider addressing the arbitrary policies they hold towards “objectionable content.” There are currently thousands of videos on their site displaying full-frontal male and female nudity in art, whether it be the work of Michelangelo or Matisse. It’s a slippery slope when YouTube begins passing judgment on what qualifies as art (painting and sculpture) and what doesn’t (animation). If the site’s policy is strictly no nudity, then it should be consistent about it across all forms of art. And if it’s the natural act of breastfeeding that YouTube deems so offensive, then a good first step would be to remove all of the live-action videos on their site featuring woman breastfeeding their children.