- - Sunday, October 23, 2016

Politicians in Washington aren’t going to care much right now about a movie depicting the short life of a Christian girl, according to film producer Chuck Howard. But that’s not going to stop the Nashville resident from trying to motivate lawmakers to take on Google and dismantle what he says has become a biased media monopoly.

Mr. Howard, a former music producer and now a Christian filmmaker, is exploring all options, including considering suing Google, to make up for lost advertising and having the penalty on the channel removed after the media giant’s subsidiary, YouTube, removed his company’s Christian video channel for nearly a year.

“As of yet, we have not filed suit against Google, but are exploring all options,” Chuck Howard told The Washington Times. “We’ve missed 11 months’ worth of advertising. They’ve destroyed us from carrying the momentum that we originally had going forward.”

Mr. Howard, a co-producer of the new faith-based film “I’m Not Ashamed,” said the film’s trailer garnered over 5 million views before YouTube removed the channel nearly a year ago.

The channel was recently reinstated after The Hollywood Reporter contacted YouTube about the incident. However, the channel was hit with a temporary penalty and warned that additional videos found to be objectionable on the channel could result in account termination.

Mr. Howard said he’s been trying for months to learn why YouTube disapproves of the trailer, but the site has yet to clarify its concerns.

“They have bootleg movies and all this kind of stuff up there, but they take down my site?” Mr. Howard said. “They have recruitment of ISIS on the site and beheadings, but they take down my video? I can’t believe it.

“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.”

Google did not respond to an interview request for this story.

Mr. Howard has hired Massey, Stotser & Nichols of Birmingham, Alabama, to have the channel’s penalty removed, to learn why the trailer was pulled for 11 months and to seek compensation for lost advertisement.

“I’m Not Ashamed,” whose cast includes members of the Robertson family of “Duck Dynasty” fame, tells the story of Rachel Joy Scott, the Christian high school student who was the first victim shot to death during the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. A victim lying near Scott said she was shot to death after saying she believed in God.

The diary that Rachel left behind, upon which the movie is largely based, tells of being bullied and ostracized because of her Christian beliefs. In videos they left behind, Columbine gunmen Eric Klebold and Dylan Harris called Rachel and another girl “Christian, godly little whores,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Though Mr. Howard recognizes the film’s political ambitions are outweighed by the current presidential campaign, he has nonetheless reached out to politicians to voice concerns about Google and his belief that the media giant arbitrarily exercises a bias against any content that it finds objectionable, including the trailer for the PG-13-rated “I’m Not Ashamed.”

“I guess it’s a bad time to go after Google, but it’s a good time for me,” Mr. Howard said. “How could we allow something to be so powerful in this country and not have any rights over it? I know that politicians will take this on after the election.”

Prior to going into filmmaking, Mr. Howard worked as a producer with Johnny Cash, Hank Williams Jr., LeAnn Rimes, Waylon Jennings and Kid Rock. He turned his attention to faith-based filmmaking after becoming a Christian five years ago.

“I used to read articles about someone like me that’s griping about this, and I would think, ‘Oh, what a nut,’” Mr. Howard said. “But when you become a Christian and you start looking at the world and how it seems like they’re just easing America out of Christianity, it’s just a little bit at a time. And they do it with these behemoth companies that just step on First Amendment rights because we’re Christians. I firmly believe that.”

Pure Flix Entertainment opened “I’m Not Ashamed” nationwide Friday. By the end of the weekend, the film had received a 93 percent “liked it” audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

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