The father of Alison Parker, a television news journalist who was murdered during a live broadcast in 2015, has slammed YouTube over sick videos of her slaying that continue to circulate on the video-sharing site.
On Aug. 26, 2015, Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27 were shot by 41-year-old Vester Lee Flanagan during a live interview in Moneta, Va. Flanagan, a disgruntled former reporter who also went by the name Bryce Williams, later died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
However, Parker’s father Andy Parker told the Washington Post that videos of the killing are still circulating on YouTube, which is owned by Google. “We’re flagging the stuff,” he said. “Nothing’s coming down. This is crazy. I cannot tolerate them profiting from my daughter’s murder, and that’s exactly what they do.”
A photo sits amongst flowers at a candlelight vigil for Alison Parker on Martinsville High School’s football field on August 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia – file photo. Two employees of WDBJ TV were killed during a live broadcast at Bridgewater Plaza on Smith Mountain Lake on August 26, 2015. T
(Photo by Jay Paul/Getty Images)
Parker has filed a complaint and request for investigation with the Federal Trade Commission alleging that YouTube is violating its terms by hosting videos that graphically depict people being murdered. The video-sharing site is “capitalizing on their final moments for pure shock value and entertainment” according to the complaint, which was drafted with the Georgetown Law Civil Rights Clinic.
“The platform’s Terms of Service proclaim that violent content is not allowed, leading users to reasonably believe that they will not encounter it,” the complaint says. “In reality, these videos are commonplace on the platform, and many of them have remained there for several years.”
In the complaint, Parker notes that videos of his daughter’s dying moments “continue to proliferate on YouTube nearly five years after her murder.” The videos have been edited in numerous ways, in almost every case to increase their shock value, the filing says.
WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 10: Andy Parker (L), the father of murdered TV reporter Alison Parker, speaks while flanked by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) (R), during an anti-gun rally on Capitol Hill September 10, 2015, in Washington, DC – file photo.
(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Parker says that conspiracy hoaxers have posted raw TV and GoPro footage of the murder, spreading lies and subjecting him to harassment. Others have uploaded the videos to YouTube “for pure sadistic entertainment,” the filing adds.
“The users who perpetuate this type of entertainment continue to harass Mr. Parker by discounting his suffering as fake,” the filing says. “Yet to this day, Mr. Parker and his family have had only one tool available to defend themselves from such traumatic vitriol and the nightmare of seeing their daughter’s death: watch these videos one-by-one in order to report them.”
A spokeswoman for YouTube told Fox News that the video-sharing site’s Community Guidelines are designed to protect its users, including those affected by tragedies. “We specifically prohibit videos that aim to shock with violence, or accuse victims of public violent events of being part of a hoax,” she explained, via email. “We rigorously enforce these policies using a combination of machine learning technology and human review and, over the last few years, we’ve removed thousands of copies of this video for violating our policies. We will continue to stay vigilant and improve our policy enforcement.”
YouTube says that in the third quarter of 2019 it removed more than 1.3 million videos for violating its policies with regard to violent and graphic content.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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