February 7, 2013

YouTube Deletes Preaching by Reverend Billy Talen

YouTube Deletes Preaching by Reverend Billy Talen

The longtime New York-based activist Reverend Billy Talen noticed the deletion of two of his "Freak Storm" video sermons from the popular Web site Youtube in mid-February. Talen is a leader, with partner Savitri D, of "the Church of Stop Shopping," a international group of over one hundred activists, many of them singers and musicians in the church's Stop Shopping Chior.

The two sermons were taped and directed by Laura Newman, lead singer in the choir, shortly after Hurricane Sandy's landfall in New York on October 29th. The sermons reflect Talen's opinion that Climate Change is directly linked to investments by big banks such as JP Morgan Chase.  (A recent study calls Chase Bank the "top climate-killer" for its investments in coal-fired power plants, which produce more CO2 emissions than any other source.)

Why Youtube pulled the 4 minute comic sermons from the Reverend Billy Channel is not clear. The company is not obligated according to its "terms of use" to give reasons for banishing material. The announcement that a violation of the terms of service made the deletion necessary replaces the expected tape for about a week's time, along with the phrase "Sorry about that." Soon after this, any evidence of the tape disappears. A certified letter to the company's San Bruno, California headquarters has had no response.

The Church of Stop Shopping has tapes with as many as 250,000 views on YouTube. The average views of "Reverend Billy's Freak Storm" is over 10,000. The organization is asking its Facebook and YouTube "Friends" to contact the church directly in an effort to bypass the corporate social forums. So far, over 500 people and organizations have entered into a "direct relationship" with the activist group in the two weeks since the deletions were first noticed.

The two tapes, entitled "Sandylujah!" and "Shit the Rich" - are posted on Vimeo as well as the church's home website, Revbilly.com.