Why Did Simple Pickup Get Knocked by YouTube When ‘Wrecking Ball’ Airs On?

/ Oct 16, 2013


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of that, a lot of people are finding different ways to raise awareness and funds for the fight against breast cancer.

Here’s one attempt at “charity” that Simple Pickup, the YouTube creators behind a very controversial YouTube video, should not be proud of: The men behind Simple Pickup, who generally create videos in which they do outrageous things to pick up women, decided they wanted to donate to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Noble? Definitely. In fact, they promised to donate $20 to the foundation each time a woman would allow one of them to “motorboat” her, which if you live under a rock means putting his face between her breasts.

Wait, what?

Yeah, see, it’s funny because Simple Pickup is doing something outrageous for a good cause. And what better way to give to the fight against breast cancer than by doing something that directly involves that part of the female anatomy?

That’s not a rhetorical question. The list of things one could do to support breast cancer awareness that are better than filming yourself motorboating random women is endless. Endless. But hey, what do I know, maybe 10-year-old me would disagree. And to be fair, those girls in the video agreed to it, and some even seemed to enjoy it.

In any case, YouTube felt it was too much, and recently slapped an age restriction on the video. And now Simple Pickup is upset. Why? Because of the penalty, Simple Pickup says they’re now unable to monetize the video and donate more to breast cancer research.

This is especially infuriating to the creators because other provocative videos, namely Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” both of which feature almost-nude or completely nude women, did not receive the same penalty.

Does Simple Pickup have a point?

Via YouTube’s Policy Center, the company says it reserves the right to restrict access to minors and users who aren’t logged in if it feels the video is inappropriate based on the following four criteria:

  • Vulgar language
  • Violence and disturbing imagery
  • Nudity and sexually suggestive content
  • Portrayal of harmful or dangerous activities

Under the nudity and sexual content option, YouTube says: “A video that contains nudity or other sexual content may be allowed if the primary purpose is educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic, and it isn’t gratuitously graphic.”

That’s a thin line to walk on, as I’m sure there are many who don’t find any artistic merits in Miley Cyrus naked while swinging on a wrecking ball and Robin Thicke dancing with naked or semi-naked models (depending on which version of the music video you watch).

Maybe it’s an issue of Big Media versus the New Guys. Cyrus and Thicke’s videos have high production values and are funded by major music labels. Simple Pickup is just a bunch of dudes doing something admittedly creepy, but not showing anything close to the sexually charged imagery of the aforementioned music videos. Unfortunately for them, the scales are always going to tip in favor of the people with deeper pockets.

Or, maybe, it’s an issue of intent. While Simple Pickups thinks they’re doing something funny for a good cause, there are others who would vehemently disagree. Then again, I highly doubt that anyone, anywhere considers the “Wrecking Ball” or “Blurred Lines” music videos to be artistic.

So does Simple Pickup have a point? Maybe. Though I’d argue that it gets lost by the fact that their video is less funny and more sleazy.

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  • Matthew Manarino

    “Wrecking Ball” has something like 200 million YouTube views, which if we go by the 1000 views = $1 formula, means a ton of money in both VEVO and YouTube’s pockets. At the end of the day, it makes sense for YouTube to turn a blind eye towards the obviously sexual content in “Wrecking Ball” and “Blurred Lines” because going forward with any sexual content complaints (which I’m sure there are many) means missing out on possible millions. Not to mention, YouTube and VEVO had had a rocky relationship from the jump. By running with any sexual content complaints, YouTube risks making VEVO mad, which is bad for everyone.

    Simple Pickup on the other hand, are not VEVO. They do not make YouTube a fraction of VEVO makes. If you’re YouTube, you don’t want to ignore complaints, yet you can’t act on VEVO ones; so why not go in on Simple Pickup instead? You could call it cherry picking. Give your audience a little of what they ask for while protecting your most valuable assets.

    • Sachjit Patel

      You’re right. But how do we stop it then? Like how do we stop from YouTube cherry picking what they want? This is so bad. It’s really sad.

  • Sajchit Patel

    I think it’s unfair for Big Media to always get its way. Thanks for posting this story because if you think about it Simple PIckup, though I’m not a fan of their videos, is actually doing some good here. I think YouTube really needs to rethink their priorities because this video is helping for a very good Non-Profit cause.

  • Some YouTube Employee

    The situation is something we’re handing now. Our bosses always remind us that we’re a community and we have guidelines. In this case the guidelines were broken, live with the consequences. But from an outside perspective I do see how it’s not fair for YouTube creators, like Simple Pickup. Many of us have brought this concern up before but it’s not easily fixed. Did you know that over 95% of the creators who appeal their videos do not get their wish granted? Why? Well we specifically put a 200 word limit just for the hell of it and we go by the appeal system faster than you can say “YouTube.” Money matters. Sorry, creators.

    – Some YouTube Employee Who Doesn’t Want To Get Fired


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