The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Rep. Long calls YouTube ‘un-American’ after it removes his Senate campaign ad with false election claims

Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) speaks with reporters outside the West Wing of the White House in Washington after a meeting with President Donald Trump on health-care reform in May 2017. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
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Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) is accusing YouTube of being “un-American” for removing an ad for his Senate campaign in which he falsely claims Democrats “rigged” the 2020 election, echoing the baseless and debunked claims of former president Donald Trump.

“This behavior by YouTube is un-American and straight from the communist playbook,” Long said in a statement Thursday. “Removing my ad proves my point that Big Tech certainly has and will continue to influence elections.”

In the pulled video, Long says he is running for the Senate “to stop the insanity, stop the wokeness, and stop the Democrats from stealing another election.” At another point, he refers to President Biden and Democrats as “far-left crazies.”

There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election.

Long, who has represented Missouri’s 7th Congressional District since 2011, also touts his connections to Trump in his campaign ad, saying he was “one of the first” public officials to support Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

YouTube’s “elections misinformation” policy includes a prohibition on “content that advances false claims that widespread fraud, errors, or glitches changed the outcome of select past national elections.” The 2020 election is among those covered.

“We enforce our community guidelines equally … and removed the video you shared with us in accordance with our election integrity policy,” Ivy Choi, a spokeswoman for YouTube, told the Kansas City Star when asked about Long’s video.

Long, a former auctioneer, is running in a packed Republican Senate primary that includes fellow Rep. Vicky Hartzler and former Missouri governor Eric Greitens, a Trump ally.

While Trump has not yet endorsed anyone in the race, people close to him — including pollster Tony Fabrizio and Kimberly Guilfoyle, Donald Trump Jr.’s fiancee — are working for Greitens’s campaign. All are running to replace Sen. Roy Blunt (R), who said last March that he would not seek reelection.

On Twitter, Long has been a promoter of “the big lie” — Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that the election was stolen. He has tweeted that Jan. 20, 2021 — Biden’s Inauguration Day — is a date “which will live in infamy,” a phrase that President Franklin D. Roosevelt used to describe the date of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

In his statement Thursday, Long claimed that there “has been a deliberate, orchestrated effort by Big Tech to silence those who have views that do not align with their liberal-leaning agenda.”

“Just look at what Twitter did to President Trump,” Long said. “He is still banned from communicating directly to the American people on its platform.”