Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is running to secure the Democratic nomination for the 2024 U.S. Presidential election, has filed a lawsuit against Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google and YouTube, claiming censorship and violation of First Amendment rights over alleged suppression of his anti-vaccine interviews and speeches.
In the 27-page complaint filed in California, Kennedy Jr. has accused Google and its subsidiary YouTube of bowing to pressure from the federal government and President Joe Biden’s administration to silence him and censor his views on COVID-19 vaccines, reported The Independent.
The lawsuit contends that the tech giants engaged in “overt and covert” means to stifle his anti-vaccination crusade.
It highlighted several instances where Kennedy’s content was removed from the platforms, including a discussion with podcast host Joe Rogan. Kennedy’s lawyers argue that these actions amount to “viewpoint discrimination,” violating his First Amendment rights to freedom of speech.
“Under these circumstances, YouTube is a state actor, and it violated Mr. Kennedy’s First Amendment rights by engaging in viewpoint discrimination,” said the complaint.
“YouTube applies its community guidelines independently, transparently, and consistently, regardless of political viewpoint,” said Google spokesperson José Castaneda in response to the lawsuit. He called the claims “meritless” and expressed confidence in refuting them, the report noted.
Kennedy Jr., viewed as a polarizing figure by some, had previously faced social media platform bans. He has also gained notoriety for his staunch resistance to COVID-19 vaccine mandates. However, his claims have faced criticism from public health experts and even some of his family members, who view them as misleading and potentially dangerous.
“Mr Kennedy’s anti-vaccine crusade and penchant for spreading fact-free conspiracy theories have seen him run afoul of the content moderation policies of several digital sites.
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Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager