Thousands sign petition urging YouTube not to class wrestling as ‘offensive content’

Some of the stars of WCPW, which airs on YouTube.

A petition calling on YouTube to rethink its classification of wrestling videos as ‘offensive’ has gained 4,000 signatures in one day.

The petition, started by the administrator of the website Heelbook, is a response to the Google-owned video site’s new rules on advertising, which prohibit videos containing hateful or offensive content from generating advertising revenue.

This has had a calamitous effect on independent promotions, who often use YouTube to share their shows online. Companies such as WhatCulture Pro Wrestling are set to lose a huge chunk of their earnings from the changes, which could have a profound effect on the indy wrestling scene in the UK and overseas.

In the petition, Heelbook says: “I fail to see how an ad before/during a bad ass promo segment or a potential match-of-the-year performance doesn’t provide a viable and engaging platform for advertising.

“Let’s get wrestling promotions some money for their hard-earned work inside and outside the ring.”

“Wrestling is not just about violence…it’s about scripted entertainment, it’s about amazing feats of athleticism, it’s about storytelling.” – Adam Blampied

WhatCulture Pro Wrestling, whose weekly Loaded is broadcast live via YouTube, has pulled a string of shows in Manchester over the coming months amid concern that they cannot afford to produce the weekly shows without the money earned from advertising.

In a video posted on YouTube, WCPW’s Adam Blampied explained that the shows – scheduled between June and August – would no longer be going ahead, because the site’s new rules have “absolutely destroyed” WCPW ad revenue. For example, a video of a match between Alberto El Patron and Rey Mysterio garnered over a million views, but earned under $44 – a reduction of around 98%.

Blampied stated that their other booked dates around the UK will still be going ahead, but that the new rules are “incredibly damaging” for wrestling promoters. WhatCulture intends to campaign against YouTube’s new rules, to tell the platform that “wrestling is not just about violence…it’s about scripted entertainment, it’s about amazing feats of athleticism, it’s about storytelling.”

WCPW is holding monthly shows around the country, including one that would have formed part of the cancelled Manchester tapings. For more information, see their website. To add your name to Heelbook’s campaign, visit the petition on Change.org.

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