According to YouTube, Holland‘s new “I’m Not Afraid” music video is “R” rated, but it isn’t clear why.
The “I’m Not Afraid” music video expresses themes of community and belonging in a party setting.
The video dropped on July 5, just 9 days after Holland announced his comeback on Twitter.
— HOLLAND (@HOLLAND_vvv) June 27, 2018
Since June 27, Harlings have eagerly awaited “I’m Not Afraid”, not knowing that some of them would be kept from seeing its music video due to their age.
THAT’S IN 2 DAYS pic.twitter.com/0buxFVFDNi
— nana✨ (@nct_lightsticks) July 4, 2018
— Holland Perú (@HollandPeruFC) July 4, 2018
2 DAYS pic.twitter.com/1icMkR4CGf
— caly #ImNotAfraid (@BeautyChim) July 4, 2018
Soon after “I’m Not Afraid” dropped, Holland revealed that it had received an 18+ rating from YouTube, which prevented viewers under the age of 18 from seeing it.
On @YouTube my new Song “#imnotafraid” received an R rating. We’re trying to figure out what cause of the song receiving the ban is. We’ll figure it out quickly and find a solution. I’m really sorry 🙁
— HOLLAND (@HOLLAND_vvv) July 6, 2018
According to YouTube’s community guidelines, viewers under the age of 18 are not permitted to view videos that contain the following adult content:
“I’m Not Afraid” does not contain vulgar language, violence, or what is typically defined as “disturbing imagery”. This indicates that the music video may have been restricted for either of the last two reasons.
In the video, Holland engages in a steamy makeout session during a party scene…
…and several actors kiss as well.
The music video also shows alcoholic beverages…
…and recreational drugs.
Many fans feel that YouTube is being discriminatory by giving Holland’s music video an 18+ rating.
i’m so mad about holland’s mv situation like there’s so much diversity and representation in it but youtube restricted it cuz they’re homophobic
— 𝐿 (@CYPHERPARTFlVE) July 6, 2018
they really put holland's video restricted because he's kissing another boy pic.twitter.com/FQSEOajHhR
— luaxana | RM2 (@getawaylua) July 6, 2018
holland: [kiss a boy in his video]
youtube: video got restricted
logan paul: [post a video of him and friends making fun of a dead person]
youtube: it's ok man, we got you@YouTube get your priorities checked
— Giulia (@seafoamgale) July 6, 2018
holland’s mv got age restricted for a kiss scene. who do i have to fight?
— ari @ pepsi stan (@spacejeons) July 6, 2018
I cant believe they age restricted holland's mv. The homophobia jumped out pic.twitter.com/st72CGAJHK
— marina 🌻🌠🌙 (@kkariiko) July 6, 2018
If the video was restricted due to its same-sex kiss, this points to a double standard in YouTube’s regulations. YouTube does not restrict videos that contain heterosexual kiss scenes.
While many fans ardently feel that YouTube discriminated against Holland, other fans have pointed out that same-sex kisses are not technically against YouTube’s guidelines. This means that Holland’s video could have been restricted for other reasons.
Maybe. There isn't a restricted notice when I click on "Neverland" though. It only appears for "I'm Not Afraid".
— Holland UK | #ImNotAfraidOUTNOW (@HOLLANDvvv_uk) July 6, 2018
Neverland isn’t age restricted on YouTube and it’s still monetised.
Troye Sivan’s fools features a passionate make out session with clothes off and it isn’t rated R on YouTube.
Someone has personally flagged Holland’s MV and YouTube will overturn it.
— Jioden (@Jioden) July 6, 2018
The video may have been restricted due to the kiss’s sensuality, not its homosexuality, even though the kiss scene does not feature nudity.
If the kiss was not the reason for the music video’s restriction at all, this indicates that “I’m Not Afraid” was restricted for its drinking and/or recreational drug use.
everyones all up in arms about Holland's video being restricted omg like they have a house party with drinking, it's probably not the kiss or the fact it's gay that got it restricted. y'all need to chill.
— cade 🍃 (@tiredmyungjun) July 6, 2018
Like “I’m Not Afraid”, “Neverland” initially received an “R” rating from YouTube.
PSA: Hollands debut single "Neverland" was also age restricted/ rated R for a KISSING SCENE!!!!. There is so many YT videos far worse than a simple kiss scene that are not age restricted. it sucks. https://t.co/iOprencf4C
— Holland USA (@HollandvvvUSA) July 6, 2018
If any of y’all haven’t seen Holland’s Neverland MV yet, which is beautiful and important and for some reason age restricted (boys kiss in it, cue the shocked gasps) please watch it it’s honestly gorgeous https://t.co/OmtVRLimgA
— 𝕝𝕖𝕟𝕒 ☀️ (@whatawonhoe) January 21, 2018
It too features a same-sex kiss…
…and alcohol usage.
Although YouTube has not confirmed the true reason for the restriction, Holland’s comeback music video is no longer considered “R” rated. YouTube lifted its restriction shortly after Holland filed a dispute.
HOLLAND'S MV IS NO LONGER AGE RESTRICTED IT'S A WIN FOR THE GAYS pic.twitter.com/F8jD6wUVVO
— Meℓanie Meℓon🍈 (@exo_sexo) July 6, 2018
Holland is at the forefront of a budding LGBTQ+ movement in the K-Pop industry. Although he is the first openly gay idol, other artists like Tenny have been making their support for the community known through their music and music videos.
On June 26, just a day before Holland made his comeback announcement, Tenny dropped a controversial music video that featured kissing scenes between two women. Although the video received support from international viewers, Korean viewers had mixed opinions.
Although LGBTQ+ representation still isn’t mainstream in K-Pop, idols like Holland are paving the way with their openness, activism, and music.
You can check out Holland’s “I’m Not Afraid” video here.