Vimeo, a major video-sharing services platform, censored the first episode of a cartoonist’s fictional series titled “UNJABBED” for what they claim is “dangerous” health-related content, even though the video includes no overt reference to COVID-19.
Ken Avidor, an artist based in Indianapolis, Indiana, makes films with sketches. He is also the author of “Bicyclopolis,” a comic book released in 2018. Given he pays for a subscription service on Vimeo and has released other work on his profile, it caught him off guard when he had his latest work removed.
Avidor received word from Vimeo on Oct. 15 that episode one of “UNJABBED,” a two-minute dystopian piece about a man who goes on the run after his wife dies from a vaccine, violated the platform’s terms of service. According to Vimeo, the artist’s video violated three policies. He was told that the platform does not allow content that:
- Conveys false or misleading health-related information that has a serious potential to cause public harm
- Perpetuates false or misleading claims about vaccine safety
- Claims that the Coronavirus is a hoax or promotes various other conspiracy theories around the virus
“We do not allow health-related content that might cause people to take dangerous or unproven treatments or refrain from taking indicated precautions or treatments that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or World Health Organization (WHO recommend,” Vimeo customer service employee Riley O. wrote to the artist. “We also do not allow claims that an epidemic or pandemic (such as COVID-19) are conspiracies.”
Here's the statement from @Vimeo . They claim that my short FICTIONAL film "UNJABBED" that is set in the FUTURE using animated ART is somehow a danger to the public. I believe this crosses a line, the censorship of FICTION. Folks, we are in deep, deep totalitarian territory now. pic.twitter.com/E4T51T9HeE
— Ken Avidor (@Avidor) October 15, 2021
Avidor’s film does not make any verbatim allusions to COVID-19. It is rather a depiction of an unnamed vaccine and an unnamed disease.
Speaking to The Federalist, Avidor said he is astonished that fiction would be censored, citing other examples that illustrate the contradiction of Vimeo’s decision.
“I don’t think my SciFi [Science fiction] films should be censored because of another person’s interpretation,” Avidor said. “Scores of SciFi films could be removed, for instance, genetic research can be beneficial. So what about a work of fiction that imagines scientists using Recombinant DNA to recreate dinosaurs … you know, ‘Jurassic Park?’ Organ Transplants are a good thing, so goodbye ‘Frankenstein.’ A very slippery slope.”
While Vimeo took action to censor the content, it is still up on YouTube as of this writing. Likewise, Avidor’s episode is on Rumble. Avidor, who told The Federalist he is neither Democrat nor Republican, but a “political orphan,” said he is concerned for future filmmakers should Vimeo’s policy persist.
Still, this is part of a broader trend. Social media companies and other groups are censoring perceived “misinformation.” Facebook announced last week it will “enforce” further “misinformation” blocking campaigns when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine and children. Twitter’s misinformation initiative escalated to a test feature allowing users to flag and report “misleading” content.
“Anything can be labeled a ‘health issue,’ Avidor also said. “Last month, the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] labeled gun violence a health issue. Combine that with the line crossed with fiction and it’s goodbye ‘John Wick, Breaking Bad,’ etc.”
“I know a guy who has literally killed many thousands of people in the most sadistic manner in a video game called ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ but in real life, he is far from being a serial killer. Fiction is fantasy and reality is something else. It seems the pendulum swings back and forth in this country regarding art and entertainment,” he continued.
Vimeo did not respond to a request for comment regarding its censorship of the show.