NASHVILLE (Christian Examiner) – The producer of the new film chronicling the short but impactful life of teenager Rachel Scott – one of the first to die during the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 – has a bone to pick with Google and he may do it in a court of law.
The Washington Times reports Chuck Howard, the man behind I'm Not Ashamed, is considering filing a lawsuit against the search engine giant and its subsidiary YouTube for removing his company's Christian channel for almost a year because it was deemed "offensive" to some.
The offensive content? The trailer for his movie about Scott's life and her confession of her faith just before she was executed by shooters Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris.
The shooting was not shown in the trailer for the film.
The removal of the channel, he claims, resulted in 11 months of lost advertising that would have helped build momentum toward the release of the film. It was finally reinstated when The Hollywood Reporter started asking questions about why the channel was removed.
Then Howard received another notice of temporary suspension and a warning that the channel could be removed if more objectionable content was posted.
That has left Howard at a loss for explaining how a movie trailer about a Christian teenager could possibly violate YouTube's policy.
"They have bootleg movies and all this kind of stuff up there, but they take down my site?" Howard told The Washington Times. "They have recruitment of ISIS on the site and beheadings, but they take down my video? I can't believe it."
Howard has hired Birmingham, Alabama, attorneys Massey, Stotser & Nichols, to demand the penalty be removed from the channel, discover why it was shut down for 11 months and to seek a monetary settlement.
To Howard, however, the bigger question that needs to be answered is why the channel is targeting Christian and conservative viewpoints. He wants politicians to take a look at the censorship of views to see if anything can be done.
"It's hard to fathom that we actually live in the United States. I keep thinking that I'm going to wake up and this is like a nightmare," he said.
Howard admits that the election season might not be the right time to get something done, but he hopes Congress will take up the question of Google's policies later.
Google has not responded to the newspaper's questions about the channel promoting the film, which opened Oct. 21.
I'm Not Ashamed stars Masey McLain as Rachel Scott, who wrote often in her journal of her struggle to live her faith amid the daily peer pressures of high school. Scott was often ostracized and bullied for her views, including by Klebold and Harris. The duo disparaged Scott in a video they made before the shooting.
Howard began his career in Nashville as a music producer for stars like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Jr., and Waylon Jennings, among others. He entered the Christian film industry after becoming a Christian five years ago.
I'm Not Ashamed has opened to mixed critical reviews. Most reviews offered by movie goers have been positive.