- Ellen DeGeneres defended her friendship with former president George W. Bush in a speech on her show on Tuesday.
- Activist Rafael Shimunov produced a video satirizing the speech by projecting images of the Iraq War behind DeGeneres.
- The next day Shimunov said Twitter had removed the video on copyright grounds — but other Twitter users have started re-uploading the video in response.
- It's an example of the Streisand Effect, in which attempting to censor something online can often end up making it more popular.
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A video satirising Ellen DeGeneres' defense of her friendship with former US president George W. Bush by superimposing her over Iraq War imagery has gone viral after DeGeneres' team got it booted off Twitter for alleged copyright infringement.
The television presenter and comedian drew criticism earlier this week after footage of her sitting and laughing with Bush at a Dallas Cowboys American football game emerged. Some accused her of associating with a "war criminal," and also highlighted Bush's past support for a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage in the US.
She addressed the criticism on her show on Tuesday, saying she is "friends" with the former president. "In fact, I'm friends with a lot of people who don't share the same beliefs that I have. We're all different, and I think we've forgotten that that's okay, that we're all different," she said.
In response, political activist Rafael Shimunov cut together sections of the video from DeGeneres' show where she talks about her encounter George W. Bush and edited it to place imagery from Iraq War behind DeGeneres, including photos of infamous photos of torture at the Abu Ghraib prison.
He published his edited version on Twitter on Tuesday — but the following day said that the social network had removed the video after a report from the "copyright holder."
—rafael (@rafaelshimunov) October 9, 2019
In reponse, users have started re-uploading the video on Twitter, arguing that Shimunov's editing was a form of commentary and therefore fair use under copyright law. On Wednesday, Shimunov said the re-uploads had garnered a collective 300,000 views, though some have also since been taken down due to copyright complaints.
The move to thwart DeGeneres' attempts to scrub the video from the internet is an example of the "Streisand Effect" — an internet phenomenon in which attempting to block or censor information or media can have the reverse effect of making it more popular and introducing it to people who would not have otherwise seen it.
At time of writing the video is still available on YouTube. You can watch the clip below:
Business Insider was not immediately able to contact DeGeneres' team. Twitter was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Business Insider.
This isn't the only time in recent weeks Twitter has taken down a video for copyright infringement. A meme video posted by President Donald Trump which used Nickelback's "Photograph" music video to mock Joe Biden was removed after Warner Media Group complained.