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Michael Moore’s controversial documentary, Planet of the Humans, has just been removed from YouTube in response to a British environmental photographer’s copyright claim. The film has been widely condemned by climate scientists for its unfactual portrayal of renewable energy.
Since Moore dropped the full version of his movie on YouTube on the eve of Earth Day this year (April 22), Planet of the Humans has been criticised by climate activists and scientists alike for its misleading thesis that renewable energy is essentially a lie by corporate and billionaire environmental groups.
The movie has since played into the hands of conservative climate denialists, including far-right tabloid Brietbart, which critics say will no doubt work to exacerbate the climate emergency.
However, it has recently been taken down from YouTube following an allegation by Toby Smith, a British environmental photographer who says that one of his clips had been used without his permission, and that he does not approve of the context in which his work has been used.
The usual link to the film on Moore’s official YouTube channel has now been replaced by a page saying that the video is now unavailable “due to a copyright claim by a third party”. The film’s link on the website for Planet of the Humans is also no longer working, but other video material such as the movie trailer is still available.
Smith filed his complaint to YouTube on May 23, after finding out that several seconds of footage was taken from his project Rare Earthenware, which dives into the rare earth mineral exploration in Inner Mongolia.
The photographer, whose previous work involves energy and environmental issues, stated that he did not want his work to become associated with something he fundamentally disagreed with.
“I went directly to YouTube rather than approaching the filmmakers because I wasn’t interested in negotiation,” said Smith. “I don’t support the documentary, I don’t agree with its message and I don’t like the misleading use of facts in its narrative.”
In response to YouTube’s removal of their film, the filmmakers of Planet of the Humans accused those who disagreed with their movie of politically motivated censorship and rejected any violation of fair usage rules. The director, Jeff Gibbs, said that he is now working with the Google-owned video platform to make the film available again.
“This attempt to take down our film and prevent the public from seeing it is a blatant act of censorship by political critics of Planet of the Humans…There is absolutely no copyright violation in my film. This is just another attempt by the film’s opponents to subvert the right to free speech,” said Gibbs in a public statement.
While the filmmakers have upheld the accuracy of the documentary, well-respected climate activists and scientists have pointed out that it contains clear factual errors, outdated footage and unsubstantiated myths from fossil fuel giants to promote misinformation about renewable energy.
The movie has disappointed many former fans of Moore, whose reputation was built on supporting civil rights and anti-right-wing policies, had produced a film that became popular amongst climate-denying right-wing figures, institutions, think tanks and papers.
Read our in-depth review of ‘Planet of the Humans’ here.
Lead image courtesy of Reuters.