Conservative organization Prager University plans to appeal a recent court decision to dismiss its lawsuit against Google.
“Unfortunately, it’s not too surprising that a California judge would dismiss our free speech case, especially given how leftist this state is,” PragerU CEO Marissa Streit said in a press release after the Nov. 19 ruling. “We knew from the start this process might have twists and turns, setbacks and successes, but we’re committed for the long haul to take the fight to protect free speech as far as it needs to go. Our freedom is worth it.”
PragerU sued Google-owned YouTube after the platform restricted its revenue and placed about a fifth of its videos on “restricted mode” for inappropriate content. The non-profit—which is owned by right-wing talk show host Dennis Prager and boasts about 2.4 million YouTube subscribers—claimed that the site’s actions amounted to an unlawful restraint of free speech and expression.
PragerU alleged in its lawsuit that YouTube violated its rights to free speech by censoring over 200 videos about a range of subjects, including free speech, socialism and Israel by restricting them to the 2 percent of viewers who enabled the site’s restricted mode.
The non-profit also claims that YouTube flouted California’s Unruh Act, which bans discrimination based on sex, race, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, and sexual orientation. And that the video platform ran afoul of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects online platforms publishing third-party content from liability.
In an act of protest against Google earlier this fall, PragerU representatives drove a box truck from UC Berkeley to the Santa Clara County Superior Court playing some of the restricted-mode Youtube videos that featuring right-of-center-to-far-right pundits Ben Shapiro, Candace Owens and Dave Rubin.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Brian Walsh was unconvinced by the cries of censorship. “It is clear that these services are nothing like a traditional public forum,” he wrote in his motion to dismiss. “‘Restricted Mode’ is an optional service that enables users to limit the content that they (or their children, patrons, or employees) view in order to avoid mature content. Limiting content is the very purpose of this service.”
Google denied PragerU’s claims of anti-conservative bias, saying the company presents all sides of the political spectrum and also filters videos from liberal channels such as “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah and “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver.
PragerU plans to continue its fight in California’s 6th District Court of Appeals.