Emails: Judicial Watch YouTube Video Censored at Request of California Government Officials
CA Secretary of State’s Office Pressured Google to Remove Judicial Watch YouTube Video on Voting Integrity
(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch announced today that it received 165 pages of new documents from the office of the Secretary of State of California showing the office directly emailing Google employees to remove a Judicial Watch video on election integrity. The video titled, “**ELECTION INTEGRITY CRISIS** Dirty Voter Rolls, Ballot Harvesting & Mail-in-Voting Risks!” was removed within three days. The censored video featured Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton discussing vote-by-mail and a Judicial Watch lawsuit settlement that resulted in Los Angeles County agreeing to remove up to 1.6 million inactive voters from its voting rolls.
The release also reveals an email exchange wherein Sam Mahood, Press Secretary of the Secretary of State’s office, reaches out to Kevin Kane, of the Public Policy Department at Twitter, to have a tweet removed after Twitter had found it to have not been in violation of their terms of service, and a Google form filled out by the consulting firm that was advising both California and the Biden Campaign which flagged two tweets that criticized the California election.
In an email exchange beginning on September 24, 2020, Social Media Coordinator Akilah Jones of the California Secretary of State’s office contacts [email protected] and copies four Google employees with the subject line, “REPORT VIDEO: **ELECTION INTEGRITY CRISIS** Dirty Voter Rolls, Ballot Harvesting & Mail-in-Voting Risks!”
Jones’ email falsely characterizes Judicial Watch video in her email:
Hi YouTube Reporting Team,
I am reporting the following video because it misleads community members about elections or other civic processes and misrepresents the safety and security of mail-in ballots.
Thank you for your time and attention on this matter.
All the best, Akilah.
The next day, on September 25, 2020, Andrea Holtermann, a Google employee, replies to Jones:
Thanks for reaching out. We will look into this and get back to you as soon as we can.
On September 27, 2020, Google/YouTube confirms it censored the video:
Circling back on this. Thank you for raising this content to our attention, this has been removed from the platform for violating our policies. Please do not hesitate to reach out if there are any other questions or concerns you may have.
In an email exchange beginning on January 15, 2020, Sam Mahood, press secretary for the California Secretary of State’s office, forwards an email to Twitter Public Policy Department’s Kevin Kane asking that he review a tweet that Twitter support had determined to not be in violation of their terms of service. Mahood copies Deputy Secretary of State Paula Valle and Chief Counsel Steve Reyes on the email.
Kane agrees to a January 31 meeting with Reyes and Valle.
In an email dated November 13, 2020, Zeke Sandoval of SKDK (the consulting firm that advised both the California Secretary of State’s office and the Biden campaign) emails the Secretary of State’s office and their colleagues, flagging two popular tweets that criticized the California election process. The first from @DC_Draino states:
Audit every California ballot Election fraud is rampant nationwide and we all know California is one of the culprits Do it to protect the integrity of that state’s elections
The second from @WatchTheBreaks states:
Just did some research on California voting and unless I’m missing something, there isn’t a place I can see HOW my ballot was counted. I think that inability for me to check my Votes in the system (not just IF it was counted) is a big flaw, regardless of which side you are on.
Both accounts were later removed from Twitter.
“These new documents show the California Secretary of State directly conspired with Google to censor me and Judicial Watch in violation of our First Amendment rights,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This government censorship, also in conspiracy with the Biden campaign, is smoking gun evidence of election interference.”
In April, this Judicial Watch FOIA request first uncovered documents showing the Office of the Secretary of State of California pressured social media companies (Twitter, Facebook, Google (YouTube)) to censor Judicial Watch and other posts about the 2020 election. DC Draino, Rogan O’Handley, recently filed a lawsuit against Twitter based on these Judicial Watch disclosures.
In May, Judicial Watch separately uncovered records that show Office of the Secretary of State of Iowa pressured social media companies (Twitter and Facebook) to censor posts about the 2020 election. Included in these records were emails from Iowa state officials to representatives of Big Tech pressuring these companies to remove Judicial Watch’s posts. The emails show how the state agency successfully pressured Facebook to censor Judicial Watch’s post about Iowa’s management of its voter rolls.