FDA Pressured Google To Nix YouTube Monoclonal Antibody Video
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration attempted to pressure a Google lobbyist into suppressing a YouTube video about a monoclonal antibody drug and its potential use against COVID-19, according to an email reported by Alex Berenson.
An email from April 30 reportedly shows FDA social media director Brad Kimberly writing to Jan Fowler Antonaros, a lobbyist for YouTube’s parent company Google, about a three-minute video about the drug leronlimab. “I just wanted to flag a video that we believe is misleading when it comes to COVID-19,” says the email, written the same day the video was posted.
“Overall, the video is very problematic when it comes to COVID misinformation,” Kimberly continues. “This video should be pulled.”
Kimberly noted that the drug is unapproved by the FDA, along with intellectual property concerns. But, as Berenson pointed out, the drug’s lack of FDA approval means “it is effectively unavailable to patients. Thus whatever its potential side effects or lack of effectiveness, it is not actually a risk to anyone.”
According to Berenson, Antonaros replied a week later that the video had been reviewed and found not to violate YouTube’s guidelines — a conclusion Berenson speculated was “probably because it did not promise the leronlimab would cure Covid, only touted its potential and encouraged the FDA to allow it under an emergency use authorization.”
The video is now listed as private. Its poster Ryan Joseph told The Federalist that was his decision, explaining that he did “not wish to attract negative attention towards leronlimab due to Alex Berenson’s article.” A YouTube spokesperson confirmed to The Federalist that the decision was Joseph’s, although the video can be seen as an archived webpage.
While YouTube deserves credit for choosing not to censor the video, the FDA social media director’s decision to try to pressure the tech company into suppressing speech is outrageous. The FDA did not respond to The Federalist’s request for comment.
This isn’t the first or the only time the federal government has flagged views they deem “misinformation” for Big Tech political allies to censor. Back in July, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitted that the Biden team is regularly “flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.”
A few days later, Psaki said nothing was “off the table” for the administration working with Big Tech to silence perspectives that are politically inconvenient under the guise of “misinformation” control.
Elle Reynolds is an assistant editor at The Federalist, and received her B.A. in government from Patrick Henry College with a minor in journalism. You can follow her work on Twitter at @_etreynolds.