The producer behind the recently-released film "I'm Not Ashamed" is suing Google for discrimination after the media giant's subsidiary, YouTube, took down the faith-based film's trailer for nearly a year.
Chuck Howard, a former music producer and now a Christian filmmaker, told The Washington Times the film's trailer garnered over 5 million views before YouTube removed the channel nearly a year ago with no explanation.
"We've missed 11 months' worth of advertising," he said."They've destroyed us from carrying the momentum that we originally had going forward."
According to the Hollywood Reporter, YouTube put the video back up after being contacted by the news organization, but slapped the channel with a temporary penalty and warned that additional videos found to be objectionable could result in account termination.
The news site reports a lawyer for the film's production company, Pure Flix Entertainment told YouTube in a letter, "My client was never provided with any clear explanation or substantiation of why the movie trailer was removed. YouTube's removal of the movie trailer has interfered with promotional activities of the film."
They are seeking "compensation for 11 months of lost online marketing for the movie."
"I'm Not Ashamed", which hit theaters Oct. 21, tells the story of Rachel Scott, the first of 13 people - twelve students and one teacher - killed at Columbine on April 20, 1999.
Rachel was singled out because of her Christian faith: While she sat on a patch of grass, eating lunch with her friend, 18-year-old Eric Harris and 17-year-old Dylan Klebold approached her, shooting her three times. After realizing Rachel was still alive, the killers returned and asked her, "Do you still believe in God?" She answered, "You know I do", whereupon he replied "Then go be with Him" and shot her in the head.
The film has been met with criticism from many in the secular media, including some atheist groups that insist no such conversation took place. They also claim police reports from the events on April 20, 1999, do not align with what the movie is trying to present.
"It is shameful that they are framing the entire premise of this movie around allegations that do not have any evidence to support them," reads a blog post from That Atheist Show. "The accounts of that day, actually, directly contradict them."
However, despite such backlash, Rachel's mother, Beth Nimmo, told The Gospel Herald her prayer for the film is that it inspires a whole generation of young men and women to stand firm in their faith and rise up, boldly asking for the Lord to use them to further His kingdom - whatever the cost may be.
"Our goal is really long term it's not short term, it's not just to entertain people," she said. "We hope to make a powerful and lasting impact through this film. You can fail and still be used by the Lord. Rachel wasn't perfect, and you don't have to perfect to be used by God. Kids think they have to clean up their lives to be used by the Lord, but the opposite is true - all they have to want is that desire and God qualifies them and fulfills the desires of their heart."
She added, "When Rachel said, 'I want to be used by the Lord,' - her life was messy, and yet God found a willing vessel. We want to raise up a movement. The movie itself is just to facilitate what we want to do as a movement. Rachel called herself a 'Warrior for Christ', and we want a whole body of young warriors to be raised up and be lights in the this dark world that we live in."