YouTube Suspends Rand Paul For 1 Week Over COVID-19 Mask Comments

The Republican senator called his temporary suspension a "badge of honor."

YouTube on Tuesday banned Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) from posting videos on its platform for one week, saying a video he shared to his official channel violated the company’s policy on COVID-19 medical misinformation.

The video, in which Paul said cloth masks are ineffective in preventing transmission of the coronavirus, was also the second on his channel to be removed by YouTube this month.

The weeklong ban marks the first strike against Paul, a YouTube spokesperson said in a statement. If he violates the policy again within 90 days, he will receive a second strike and will be unable to upload a video for two weeks. A third strike would result in a permanent suspension of his account.

“We apply our policies consistently across the platform, regardless of speaker or political views, and we make exceptions for videos that have additional context such as countervailing views from local health authorities,” the YouTube spokesperson said.

Last week, Twitter removed a video of an interview Paul gave to far-right media outlet Newsmax that he then posted on his channel. In the interview, Paul said “there’s no value” in wearing masks.

The most recent video removed featured Paul once again criticizing the use of certain masks to curb the transmission of the virus.

“Most of the masks you get over the counter don’t work,” Paul said. “They don’t prevent infection.” Later in the video, he added, “Trying to shape human behavior isn’t the same as following the actual science, which tells us that cloth masks don’t work.”

Many doctors and public health experts have said masks are helpful at least in part in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Still, some epidemiologists ― such as Michael Osterholm, a member of President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 advisory board ― have said cloth masks are not nearly as effective as N95 masks in limiting contagion.

Paul on Tuesday called his temporary YouTube suspension a “badge of honor.”

“Leftwing cretins at Youtube banning me for 7 days for a video that quotes 2 peer reviewed articles saying cloth masks don’t work,” Paul tweeted.

On Monday, Twitter suspended Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s account after the Georgia congresswoman tweeted that the Food and Drug Administration “should not approve the covid vaccines.”

“These vaccines are failing and do not reduce the spread of the virus and neither do masks,” Greene wrote. “There are too many reports of infection and spread of COVID-19 among vaccinated people.”

The coronavirus vaccines available in the U.S. — which are all effective at protecting people from serious illness or death — have been granted emergency use authorization, and the FDA is moving toward full authorization.