Twas a dark day.
Yesterday started out like any typical Monday. The cat woke me up before 5 AM by scratching on everything in my bedroom. My five-year-old woke up an hour later and came downstairs. Wthout so much as a, “Good morning,” she made her usual demand these days.
Rubbing her sleepy eyes, she said in a groggy voice, “I want to watch Stampy.”
The little one always watches a Mr. Stampy Cat video before getting ready for school each day. For the uninitiated, Stampylongnose is the moniker of a young man from England who uploads various Let’s Play videos to his YouTube channel on a daily basis. There are many YouTubers out there who record videos of themselves playing video games with their own running commentaries. These are called Let’s Play videos. Some are instructional, while others are just for fun. Stampy’s Minecraft videos are quite popular with young children. He recently announced his YouTube channel had over 500,000 subscribers.
So I resigned myself to another morning with the Englishman who won’t stop talking. I fired up the Chromecast on my TV and searched for the Stampy YouTube channel on my phone. However, I received an unsettling message, “Error, tap to retry.” I thought maybe it just needed to refresh, so I chose another channel and came back to Stampy. Same error. That’s when the panic set in. Stampy wasn’t available and my five-year-old doesn’t take to changes in her routine very well. However, I was able to get her to settle on something else for the time being, and the day went on as usual.
I was sure it was just a glitch.
I was wrong.
Later that morning, I received a text from my wife saying that apparently Stampy’s YouTube account had been terminated. Unable to believe it, I checked Stampy’s Facebook page, where he stated:
“I just received an email from google stating the my youtube account has been permanently terminated. Google is unable to tell me why my account has been terminated but I can’t appeal. I will fight as hard as I can to get my channel back online.”
I felt like I got kicked in the stomach. No, this couldn’t he happening. This was my daughter’s favorite show. We don’t have a DVR and don’t really watch any normal TV. All she wants to do during TV time is either play Minecraft or watch Stampy videos.
It turns out I wasn’t alone. Stampy had many friends and fans who were appalled by Google’s actions. And Stampy’s friends weren’t going to take this lying down. They answered the call, and instantly mobilized a front that Google would not be able to ignore. As Martin Lawrence said in Bad Boys II, ”Sh*t just got real.” Almost immediately, Stampy’s friend—and helper in many of his Minecraft videos—Amy Lee started a petition at change.org to try and get his YouTube channel reinstated.
“Stampy Longnose / Longhead is a youtuber loved by thousands of children across the world. His channel was taken down by youtube and google without any reason. Stampy does not deserve this injustice, he has done nothing wrong at all. His popular series ‘Lovely world’ is watched all over the globe with children looking forward to it every week. He is a hero to many, and an amazing person. He has a huge heart. This has shocked the whole community. Please sign this and spread the word! Lets confront youtube and google and demand they bring his videos back! #SaveStampy xxx Amy Lee33”
By the end of the day, the petition was signed by over 6,000 people.
There were many comments on the petition from concerned parents. One mother wrote, “My daughter has autism and learns visually. She has learnt so much from this channel which has enabled her to play Minecraft and interact with others that also play. She will be bereft.”
Another friend who is featured in many of Stampy’s adventures–iBallasticSquid–posted a video to his own YouTube channel as a call to arms for his followers. He explained the situation and implored everyone to sign the petition. He also started the #SaveStampy hashtag on Twitter. The hashtag was trending most of the day, as many fans chimed in to offer their support. The creator of Minecraft himself, Markus Persson (known to many simply as Notch) tweeted about the situation:
“I don’t have any contacts at youtube, so I can’t help. 😦 “
Back at the homefront, I was worried about what to tell the little one when she got home from kindergarten. This won’t go well, I thought. There were already stories online–through the petition comments and tweets–about parents telling their crying children that Stampy was gone.
By the end of the day, the outpouring of support was too much for Google to ignore. Stampy’s YouTube account was reinstated, though he never found out exactly why it was terminated in the first place. He stated that there were no copyright violations in his posts, and although it appears one video may have been flagged by a viewer as inappropriate, iBallisticSquid explained that he had the same video on his channel and had received no repercussions.
Regardless, as Stampy himself said, if it wasn’t for the huge outpouring of support yesterday, he likely would never have gotten the chance to come back. I’m sure there are thousands of children now relieved that he did get that chance.
In the end all is right with the world, but for a while there, twas a dark day indeed.