M.I.A.’s ‘Born Free’ Video Obscured By YouTube

Clip has not been banned, but carefully 'age-gated' by site.

Editor’s note: After this article published, it was revealed that YouTube had not banned M.I.A.’s “Born Free” video, but carefully obscured so that a user would need the URL to find it.

With its scenes of graphic violence and politically charged message, M.I.A.’s video for “Born Free” has already elicited impassioned responses from her fans and detractors. Now, in response to critics, it has been obscured by one of the most popular video sites on the Internet, according to Wired.com.

This week, YouTube obscured the so-called “real and explicit version” of “Born Free” from its pages, claiming the clip violated rules that “prohibit content like pornography or gratuitous violence.”

A spokesperson for the site told the BBC that, while YouTube does not comment on individual videos, its policy is “to age-restrict content that has been flagged by the community and identified by our policy enforcement team as content that, while not violating our community guidelines, is not suitable for users under age 18.”

Originally, the “Born Free” video was tagged as containing “content that is inappropriate for some users” and required users to verify they were over the age of 18 before they were allowed to watch the clip (something M.I.A. herself pointed out on her Twitter account). The official version has since been obscured by the site.

MTV News’ e-mails to YouTube seeking comment on the matter were not returned by press time.

Initially, the “Born Free” clip also wasn’t available on Vevo (the video site co-owned by Universal Music Group, the parent company of Interscope) either, though on Wednesday (April 28), the clip made its debut on the site. “Born Free” can also be seen on Vimeo.com (director Romain-Gavras has a link on his official Vimeo page) and DailyMotion.com.

[This story was originally published on 4.28.10 at 2:57 p.m. ET]