NJEA accused of censorship after NJ GOP ‘parody’ video taken down
A state lawmaker says New Jersey’s largest teachers’ union forcing the removal of a parody video just reinforces that they “will stop at nothing to censor differing opinions.”
Assembly Republican Leader John DiMaio of Warren County slammed the New Jersey Education Association for having YouTube remove a 15-second video, put out by his office, on the basis of copyright violation.
It used most of the same footage as a recent 15-second NJEA commercial that sparked a firestorm of protest from conservative lawmakers, for saying in part “People who want to fight to score political points should take that somewhere else."
“Instead of being willing to have a conversation, they would rather completely shut down people who are concerned or disagree,” DiMaio said in a written statement.
The Assembly Republican Office’s parody ad — which had a different voice-over and swapped out three black-and-white images for other school-minded footage — was posted to YouTube Wednesday and removed the next day.
“We don’t agree on everything in New Jersey,” the NJEA ad says, starting with a split screen of pork roll and Taylor ham. “But we all agree that our kids deserve a world-class education.”
“So when extremists start attacking our schools, that’s not who we are,” the NJEA spot says, with onscreen headlines from NJ.com and Patch that read “Some NJ schools under siege” and “Don’t say Gay bill introduced by NJ state Senator.”
The GOP-created response, dubbed “If the NJEA was honest in its commercials,” starts with the same pork roll/Taylor ham photo.
A female voice says “We don't agree on everything in New Jersey, but we should all agree that your kids belong to us."
"So, stop resisting our agenda and accept that you have no control over your children’s education,” the GOP Office video continues. “To all the radical extremist parents out there, back off. We are the NJEA.”
The spot ends with the NJEA logo on-screen — it was removed from YouTube due to the copyright claim but was still on Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok as of Friday.
“This is why parents are so irate. The NJEA pushes controversial policies and ideology on our children and when there is pushback, they bring out the censorship police,” DiMaio said.
Households of students can "opt-out" of controversial lessons under the state’s updated education standards for public health, including sex education and gender identity — but Republican leaders have said that is not enough.
On Friday, a Georgia man interviewed by Fox News said the NJEA ad uses a photo of him taken at a 2021 public school meeting in Cherokee County, Georgia.
The image was taken by a photographer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The man said that the photo of him standing in a crowd, pointing a finger at a meeting that focused on Critical Race Theory was used by the NJEA "out of context," according to the Fox News report.
A New Jersey 101.5 request to the NJEA was not immediately answered, as to how it selected the three images of people in the ad, seen standing and shouting at public meetings.
NJEA Commercial FINAL.mp4 from NJ Assembly GOP on Vimeo.
Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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