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Colombian social media star wins free speech case over YouTube video removal

Kika Nieto
Erika "Kika" Nieto |

The Colombian Supreme Court has ruled that social media star Erika “Kika” Nieto should not have been ordered to take down an online video wherein she expressed her belief in traditional marriage, giving victory to the YouTuber in the free speech lawsuit.

The constitutional court said Nieto should not have been ordered to take down the video she posted in 2018 in which she was shown answering a question from a viewer about her views about marriage being only between a man and a woman, conservative law firm Alliance Defending Freedom International, which supported the YouTuber who has millions of followers, said in a statement.

“By speaking out I hope to inspire more tolerance of different opinions,” Nieto said in the run-up to the decision.

“Together with Kika, we are overjoyed that the court has overturned this censorship ruling. Kika stood strong throughout this ordeal to make the case for everyone’s freedom to share their beliefs,” said Santiago Guevara, counsel for Nueva Democracia, an NGO which, with the support of ADF International, represented Nieto.

The national court had ordered Nieto to remove the video after an activist had complained about her statement.

In a previous case that arose from the same video, the court had already ruled that Nieto’s speech on marriage was constitutionally protected. However, another activist took Nieto to court, complaining that this same comment about marriage was offensive and discriminatory. So a lower court considered the video to contain “hate speech” and thus ordered its removal from YouTube.

Answering a follower’s question in the 2018 YouTube video, Nieto said: “I really hope that everyone who is watching this video knows that not all people have the same opinion and that’s OK. I think that God made us all and created man and created woman for man to be with woman and woman to be with man and that’s it. Whatever we have done after that as man with man and woman with woman, I think it’s not right. However, I do have friends who are gay, I have friends who are lesbian, I love them with all my heart. And if I know one thing and I am completely sure of it, it is that God is love. And He calls me to love people. Without judging them.”

A former member of Parliament in Finland, Päivi Räsänen, is also facing criminal investigations after she shared her disapproval with the Lutheran Church participating in an LGBT pride event in 2019.

According to ADF International, the Finnish prosecutor general accused her of “ethnic agitation,” which is punishable by up to two years in prison. 

“Freedom of speech is a fundamental right that is coming under increasing fire in today’s ‘cancel culture.’ Both Nieto’s and Räsänen’s cases show that the freedom to share what we believe must be properly protected,” ADF International Deputy Director Robert Clarke said in a previous statement.

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