PragerU Plans to Appeal Judge’s Dismissal of Google Lawsuit

Conservative organization Prager University plans to appeal a recent court decision to dismiss its lawsuit against Google.

“Unfortunately, it’s not too surprising that a California judge would dismiss our free speech case, especially given how leftist this state is,” PragerU CEO Marissa Streit said in a press release after the Nov. 19 ruling. “We knew from the start this process might have twists and turns, setbacks and successes, but we’re committed for the long haul to take the fight to protect free speech as far as it needs to go. Our freedom is worth it.”

PragerU sued Google-owned YouTube after the platform restricted its revenue and placed about a fifth of its videos on “restricted mode” for inappropriate content. The non-profit—which is owned by right-wing talk show host Dennis Prager and boasts about 2.4 million YouTube subscribers—claimed that the site’s actions amounted to an unlawful restraint of free speech and expression.

PragerU alleged in its lawsuit that YouTube violated its rights to free speech by censoring over 200 videos about a range of subjects, including free speech, socialism and Israel by restricting them to the 2 percent of viewers who enabled the site’s restricted mode.

The non-profit also claims that YouTube flouted California’s Unruh Act, which bans discrimination based on sex, race, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, and sexual orientation. And that the video platform ran afoul of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects online platforms publishing third-party content from liability.

In an act of protest against Google earlier this fall, PragerU representatives drove a box truck from UC Berkeley to the Santa Clara County Superior Court playing some of the restricted-mode Youtube videos that featuring right-of-center-to-far-right pundits Ben Shapiro, Candace Owens and Dave Rubin.

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Brian Walsh was unconvinced by the cries of censorship. “It is clear that these services are nothing like a traditional public forum,” he wrote in his motion to dismiss. “‘Restricted Mode’ is an optional service that enables users to limit the content that they (or their children, patrons, or employees) view in order to avoid mature content. Limiting content is the very purpose of this service.”

Google denied PragerU’s claims of anti-conservative bias, saying the company presents all sides of the political spectrum and also filters videos from liberal channels such as “The Daily Show” with Trevor Noah and “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver.

PragerU plans to continue its fight in California’s 6th District Court of Appeals.

Nicholas Chan is a journalist who covers politics, culture and current events in Silicon Valley. Follow him on Twitter at @nicholaschanhk.

7 Comments

  1. Google has a lot of power.

    Does it have a lot of power because it is a monopoly?

    If it has a lot of power, does it have the power to influence local elections of local government policies?

    Does Google have more clout in San Jose’s government policies than a tiny little inconsequential pissant San Jose voter?

    • Business has always had more influence than 1 voter. Be it a hotel owner, banker, hardware store owner, big farmer, etc. This is capitalism – always has been and probably always will be.

      • > This is capitalism – always has been and probably always will be.

        There’s free market capitalism and there’s crony capitalism.

        Google is cronyism and the cronies allowed it to become a monopoly.

        Monopolies exploit. You seem to be happy being exploited.

        I’m happy for you that you enjoy your exploitation, but a simple lobotomy would probably have been enough for you to achieve your level of bliss.

        The rest of us are NOT as a happy as you to be serfs on the Google plantation.

      • Sundar Pichai is going to make Prager look bad without trying. Google is a worldwide, enormous successful and profitable communication business. Meanwhile Prager cannot even get funding for a television show.

    • I love how conservatives whine, “how come we can’t use your liberal company for our message? Unfair business practice!! I believe in less government, unless of course it hurts me!”

  2. Foul Ball! The two “liberal” shows commonly use words that are bleeped on cable TV. What a dishonest comparison! Which of the three listed individuals is “far-right”? Please provide ANY example of a position that is anything but a mainstream conservative stance. All readers know they’ll be no response to this question. Evidence! Color within the lines.

  3. I see they’re not allowing my comments on the incorrect “far-right” formulation they’ve given to mainstream conservatives. Interesting. It’s pretty much exactly what John is pointing out. And they really haven’t fixed the article.

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