Vimeo appears to be removing videos promoting “ex-gay” conversion therapy from its site, and anti-LGBT religious groups are outraged.
Michael Brown, a religious conservative whom the Southern Poverty Law Center has officially deemed an “anti-LGBTQ extremist,” penned an angry op-ed about the video streaming site’s decision, writing that Vimeo has “declared war on gospel transformation.”
“If Jesus has changed your life and set you free from homosexual practice, your testimony is not welcome on Vimeo—not now, not ever,” he continued. “And if you see homosexuality as another aspect of sexual brokenness, something for which Jesus died and something from which you can be healed, your opinion is not welcome on Vimeo.”
The uproar is all over a set of videos produced by Dr. David Kyle Foster, an ex-gay minister who’d uploaded over 800 videos by the time Vimeo decided to pull the plug on his account.
For Brown, Vimeo’s policy of removing “videos that are hateful, harass others, violate someone’s privacy or include defamatory or discriminatory speech” is actually just bigotry and unnecessary censorship.
“By this logic,” he argued, “Alcoholics Anonymous would not be welcome on Vimeo, since their videos demean alcoholism; or weight loss videos would not be welcome, because they shame the overweight; or testimonies of Christian converts from Islam would not be welcome, because they shame Muslims.”
He concluded: “In reality, all these videos are welcome on Vimeo, because none of them cross the forbidden line of saying: If you’re not happy being gay (or bisexual or transgender), God has a better way.”
To combat the site’s rejection of the videos, Brown is launching a harassment letter-writing campaign in conjunction with the American Family Association, whose supporters are now reportedly flooding the site with angry emails.
In response to the AFA’s vitriol, a Vimeo moderator responded: “To put it plainly, we don’t believe that homosexuality requires a cure and we don’t allow videos on our platform that espouse this point of view… We also consider this basic viewpoint to display a demeaning attitude toward a specific group, which is something that we do not allow.”
Conversion therapy, which consists of psychological treatment and counseling to change a person’s sexual orientation, is widely regarded in the scientific community as a harmful pseudoscience based in nothing more than hate and discrimination.