YouTube is reportedly refusing to remove YG’s controversial 2014 song “Meet the Flockers” from its video streaming platform.
According to The Guardian, several YouTube employees had made an internal request to the company’s Trust & Safety team to remove the song over its anti-Asian lyrics. The proposal was submitted in light of the recent Atlanta shootings where Asian-run businesses were at the center of the attacks. Eight people were killed, of which six were Asian women.
Produced by Mike Free, “Meet the Flockers” featured on YG’s 2014 album My Krazy Life. It opens with him rapping over a mellow beat, “First: You find a house and scope it out / Find a Chinese neighborhood / ’Cause they don’t believe in bank accounts.” It later received an unofficial music video inspired by the lyrics, which has since been taken down by the user.
However, Bloomberg reported that YouTube declined to remove the song “Meet the Flockers” in order to “avoid setting a precedent.” In an email obtained by the news outlet, two executives from YouTube’s Trust & Safety team said: “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.”
“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,” they added.
In a separate statement, a YouTube spokesperson told Bloomberg that the company will “continue this dialogue as part of our ongoing work to balance openness with protecting the YouTube community at large.”
This isn’t the first time YG’s “Meet the Flockers” has faced criticism. Two years after it was released, Jane Kim, a former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, called for the unofficial music video to be removed from YouTube. She argued that the clip promoted the targeting of Asian households by criminals.
“The lyrics detail a step-by-step guide to carrying out a burglary,” Kim said in a 2016 press release, per SFist. “Paired with the video’s imagery, which juxtaposes scenes of a home invasion with close-up visuals of weapons and framed photos of an Asian family, the message being sent is clear: Asian-American households are vulnerable, and make for ideal targets.”
In 2016, BBC reported that an online petition calling the White House to ban the song received over 100,000 signatures.
At the time of writing, YG has yet to respond to the developments around “Meet the Flockers.”