Senator Josh Hawley called Instagram Wednesday night for censoring videos of a Christian activist attending peaceful prayer rallies at protest sites across the country.
The Missouri Republican shared a message on Twitter from Sean Feucht, who claimed the tech giant is preventing its videos from being shared and viewed without giving him a specific reason.
“Cancel culture meets #BigTech. Now @instagram censoring a Christian cult leader who wants to post praise and worship videos from places where there has been recent unrest, âHawley wrote. “And that does not meet” community standards “? I can’t wait to hear the explanation on this. “
Feucht’s original tweet read: “This is what we got in America! Instagram now categorizes my WORSHIP videos as ‘harmful or fake news.’ Religious freedom? Freedom of speech? Big tech censorship?”
Fox News spoke to Feucht, 36, on Thursday about his ministry and how he found out his videos were blocked.
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âI am a leader in the religious community. I am also an artist and I have a ministry of worship and missions,â he said. âOne of the things we’ve been doing since [the recent U.S. protests]started to happen is that we went to a lot of these places and put together a unified coalition – black, white, Hispanic, Asian – just a unified coalition of people together, worshiping and praying, and protesting peacefully.
“We made it to Saint-Louis under the arcade, a few blocks from where four cops were shot a night or two before,” Feucht continued. âIt was still pretty crazy there. Then we did Minneapolis. We have people in Manhattan and all kinds of places but me personally, I was there in St. Louis and then in Minneapolis. that was happening was, for some reason, my videos on Instagram were being flagged as harmful and did not meet community standards. “
The California resident and father of four said he only realized what was going on after other users complained that they couldn’t share or view any of his recent content.
âI noticed that the videos were being deleted and not getting the normal traction,â he explained. âBut I didn’t know that was the reason until I started getting tagged in people’s posts about it. Other people felt they couldn’t share it, make it a snap. ‘screen – they couldn’t even see it. So I blew my trumpet on it because it’s crazy. “
Feucht provided Fox News with YouTube links to two of his videos flagged as harmful, from prayer rallies that took place in St. Louis and Minneapolis on June 5 and 14, respectively.
The first video, titled “Worshiping Through the Riots of St. Louis”, showed crowds of people from different backgrounds gathered together preaching a message of peace, faith and inclusion to music.
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The second video, titled âHOPE RALLY at the George Floyd Memorial site,â showed people praying, singing and comforting each other. It also included various baptisms of those present. People of different races have also been shown crying together and kissing.
“The stuff that is pushed [on social media]– the violence, the looting, all these videos are crazy, “Feucht added.” In the meantime, we are literally spending a moment of prayer and worship. There is nothing close to something offensive. I don’t know why it was flagged. I still haven’t gotten a response from them. “
Fox News has reached out to Instagram owner Facebook about the videos.
“We have not removed any content from @seanfreucht’s account,” spokeswoman Stephanie Otway told Fox News. “The message in question was re-shared by another account, and we saw no evidence that it was mistakenly deleted.”
Fox News has also reached out to Hawley, who is openly critical of big tech.
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“In the past few weeks alone, Twitter has called President Trump’s promise to enforce the law – which the Constitution requires him to do -” abusive, “he told Fox News.” Google threatened to demonetize conservative news sites, and now Instagram has decided to censor a Christian cult leader for posting praise and worship videos. There is no accountability for those companies that engage in censorship, and that is why Congress must reform Section 230 and end the love deal for these companies. “
Feucht, who said he received death threats for the work he was doing, accused the media of shying away from positive faith-related stories because they don’t generate website traffic. He also said he hopes his story can serve as a catalyst for action within the Christian community.
“It is reaching absurd levels. They are trying to create this narrative,” he said. âThe church is coming together. Worship and prayer meetings are held but people don’t see them. I think it’s largely because the mainstream media doesn’t think it’s worthy. be clicked. They prefer an alarmist narrative. “
Feucht added: “It might be a flashpoint in the Christian community to start asking, ‘What is going on? “”