Both Spotify and Apple Music have also joined the “ban-wagon,” ultimately removing the 31-year-old’s debut album, My Krazy Life, in which the song is featured, according to Pitchfork. As crimes against Asian-Americans are on the rise, employees at YouTube claimed the song by YG, born Keenon Daequan Ray Jackson, contained anti-Asian lyrics and urged YouTube to absolve the single from their site.
In the opening line for “Meet The Flockers,” YG raps, “First: You find a house and scope it out/Find a Chinese neighborhood, ’cause they don’t believe in bank accounts.” The song continues with “Second, you find a crew and a driver, someone who ring the doorbell and someone that ain’t scared to do what it do.”
Initially, executives that are a part of YouTube’s Trust & Safety team denied removal propositions, reiterating that there are exceptions for clips with “an Educational, Documentary, Scientific or Artistic (EDSA) context.”
“We’ll start by saying we find this video to be highly offensive and understand it is painful for many to watch, including many in Trust & Safety and especially given the ongoing violence against the Asian community,” the executive team wrote in an email obtained by Bloomberg. “One of the biggest challenges of working in Trust & Safety is that sometimes we have to leave up content we disagree with or find offensive.”
This is not the first time the single has faced scrutiny. In 2016, it inspired a White House petition demanding platforms remove the song, GQ reported.
In 2017, three teenagers who committed crimes in the San Fernando Valley confessed that “Meet The Flockers” influenced them to burglarize homes in the area.
Prior to the song’s blockade, the Trust & Safety team at YouTube explained that removing it could potentially incite more censorship and inspire future removals of other songs.
“While we debated this decision at length amongst our policy experts, we made the difficult decision to leave the video up to enforce our policy consistently and avoid setting a precedent that may lead to us having to remove a lot of other music on YouTube,” the email reads.
A spokesperson for YouTube affirmed that they will continue the ongoing conversation surrounding employee viewpoints, testifying to the company’s objective nature.
“YouTube has an open culture and employees are encouraged to share their views, even when they disagree with a decision,” a YouTube spokeswoman said in a statement, as Bloomberg reported. “We’ll continue this dialogue as part of our ongoing work to balance openness with protecting the YouTube community at large.”
Pitchfork reports that the standard edition and several deluxe editions of My Krazy Life remain available for stream on TIDAL. All of the editions include “Meet the Flockers.” In addition, the rest of the album is still available on YouTube. On Tuesday, YG uploaded an edited version of the song to YouTube in which the controversial lyric was removed per Business Insider.