Hillsdale Musician Runs Afoul of YouTube

[Posted Tuesday, February 22, 2022]


Pat McDougall wrote a song to satirize the spread of conspiracy theories and pandemic lies, but YouTube missed the point and took down his video. Basically, McDougall says, the giant video-sharing website banned his satirical anti-misinformation song for . . . misinformation.


In his new song “I’m That Guy,” McDougall brings his blues and keyboard chops to inhabit the persona of a COVID-disbelieving, conspiracy-theory aficionado who’s got an uninformed opinion on every topic and isn’t afraid to share it.

A man singing into a microphone in front of a keyboard.
Pat McDougall onstage at the Waterfront Blues Festival. Photo: Marilyn Stringer.

McDougall is quick to clarify that he is not the guy from the song: “The pandemic is real, the vaccines work, and masking is important. Also, I’m tired of people trying to behave as if we don’t have racial injustice and abuse in this country – so I’m trying to bring all of that to light here in a way that I hope is humorous, but pointed.” To help underline his message, a portion of the proceeds of the song’s sales will be donated to two nonprofit organizations: Project HOPE, a nonprofit supporting healthcare workers around the world, and the Equal Justice Initiative, which is committed to challenging racial and economic injustice.


McDougall premiered the song and accompanying video on Facebook on February 10th and planned to feature it on YouTube as well, but a few hours after uploading the video there he was notified it was being removed for violating the site’s “medical misinformation policy.” He clicked an option to appeal the removal and tried to explain the song’s satirical nature, emphasizing his own objections to medical and other misinformation, and pointing out the nature of the organizations slated to receive some of the proceeds.


Apparently, YouTube heard the song differently. After McDougall’s initial appeal the company responded, saying that upon further review they were reinstating the video. But approximately eight hours later they pulled it again, citing the same reason as before. Once again McDougall appealed, explaining his position in greater detail and urging the reviewers to listen to the song more closely. This time it was 14 hours until YouTube officially denied the appeal and said the video was permanently removed, with no opportunity for further appeal.


“It’s confusing, and a little ironic,” McDougall says. “You don’t have to look too hard on YouTube to find people spouting flagrant untruths about COVID, about the vaccines, claiming masks don’t work, and so much more. We’re certainly hearing plenty about Joe Rogan these days, and he has a major YouTube presence. Meanwhile I write a song that tries to point out the harm these people are doing and the baselessness of their claims, and I’m yanked while they remain. Look, I wholeheartedly support YouTube’s efforts to halt the spread of medical misinformation; it’s just troubling that because I took a satirical approach to the same goal, I got mistakenly flagged and removed.”


The list of bands and artists McDougall has played with is long and includes his own blues/R&B outfits Runaway Train and Tall Static. He was the musical director for the Portland-based band supporting Tony Coleman (B.B. King’s drummer for many years), and most recently served as keyboardist and musical director for the Rae Gordon Band. He has composed music for commercials, independent films, theatrical productions and corporate presentations; his compositions have won recognition from the Portland Music Association and Keyboard magazine.


A longtime Hillsdale resident and SW-Portland native, McDougall and his wife raised two sons in the neighborhood and run their business, Stevens-Ness Law Publishing Co., from their home. If you were connected to Rieke Elementary circa 2004 you may have caught him performing at various school events. If you missed him back then, these days you can hear him play at select local venues with Tall Static, as well as with Fenix Rising, Ben Rice, Lisa Mann and others.


For now, the “I’m That Guy” video is available on Vimeo at bit.ly/imthatguyvimeo. The song can be purchased at patmcdougall.com as a digital download, or on CD with a free bonus song. If people hear his message and choose to support it by purchasing their own copy, McDougall feels it will have done some good.


—Valeurie Friedman

 

Hillsdale musicians, artists, authors and other creatives—what you have you got going on? Let us know.