YouTube reportedly refused to take down a song about robbing homes in a ‘Chinese neighborhood,’ infuriating employees

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A man walks past a billboard advertisement for YouTube on October 5, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.

YouTube refused to remove a song that talks about performing armed robbery in “Chinese neighborhoods” because they “don’t believe in bank accounts,” Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

YouTube sent an email to employees that said the firm found the song – rapper YG’s “Meet the Flockers” – highly offensive and hard to watch, but chose to keep the video up, according to Bloomberg.

The song, which was released in 2014, begins with the line: “First, you find a house and scope it out. Find a Chinese neighborhood, ’cause they don’t believe in bank accounts.”

In the email, YouTube said the firm chooses to keep videos that violate hate speech policy for educational and artistic purposes. Comedy routines and news stories depicting violent footage, for instance, can remain on the platform.

“Removing this video would have far-reaching implications for other musical content containing similarly violent or offensive lyrics, in genres ranging from rap to rock,” the letter read, per Bloomberg’s report.

Read more: We identified the 194 most powerful people at Google under CEO Sundar Pichai. Check out our exclusive org chart.

Bloomberg reported that employees in message boards pushed back on YouTube’s decision, prompting the company to hold a townhall to discuss the issue.

A YouTube representative did not confirm the company sent the letter cited in Bloomberg’s story, but told Insider that it “has an open culture and employees are encouraged to to share their views, even when they disagree with a decision.”

“We’ll continue this dialogue as part of our ongoing work to balance openness with protecting the YouTube community at large,” the spokesperson added.

Asian-American hate crimes in 16 US cities increased 149% in 2020, according to an analysis of police data by researchers at California State University in San Bernardino. Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition of groups tracking violence incidents, reported 3,795 incidents of verbal or physical attacks against Asian-Americans between March 2020 and February 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday, police said a suspect punched and kicked a 65-year-old Asian woman on her way to church in New York City. Security footage revealed a security guard closed the door of a nearby building instead of helping the woman.

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