Kirk Cameron (Photo from facebook.com/therealkirkcameron)
The publicity campaign for Cameron's latest film project "Unstoppable" ran into an unexpected snag — YouTube removed the film's trailer. The popular video site claimed that the preview violated their policies against "spam, scams, and commercially deceptive content." Facebook also initially declined to allow links to the movie's website — and for similar reasons.
Since his "Growing Pains" days, Cameron has become an outspoken Christian activist, appearing in a number of faith-based films that have won a loyal audience. In 2008's "Fireproof," Cameron plays a firefighter struggling to save his marriage. That film earned more than $33 million at the box office in the United States alone, on a budget of roughly $500,000.
But "Unstoppable" finds Cameron taking on heavier themes. Cameron begins the trailer by looking into the camera and asking the question, "Why does God let bad things happen to good people?" The preview promises a powerful study of faith against long odds, with Cameron declaring, "I came out the other end of this meat grinder with my faith stronger than ever before."
Watch 'Unstoppable' Trailer:
It's unclear why exactly YouTube took down Cameron's video. But Facebook's official statement on the matter may offer some clues. Facebook similarly blocked all links to the movie's website, but the company cited technical difficulties as the culprit — and not philosophical opposition as some may have assumed.
Cameron responded by taking to his Facebook page to rally his fans to support his work and his message, and the popular social media site changed its tune, as did YouTube. By the end of the day on Friday, links for "Unstoppable"'s site were back up on Facebook, and Cameron posted a message declaring, "You did it again!! Because of your firm, loving, and clear voice, not only did Facebook welcome us back, YouTube also removed its block on our Unstoppable movie trailer. We are back online with full access."
Facebook, in a statement released Monday, was eager to clarify that they never made a value judgment about "Unstoppable," and the whole situation was the result of a minor glitch in their system.
"To protect the hundreds of millions of people who connect and share on Facebook every day, we have automated systems that work in the background to maintain a trusted environment and protect our users from bad actors who often use links to spread spam and malware," the statement read in part. Facebook went on to say that the "Unstoppable" web link "was blocked for a very short period of time after being misidentified as a potential spam or malware site. We learn from rare cases such as these to make our systems even better."
Was YouTube's blocking of the video a tech glitch, too? It's not entirely clear. (Yahoo! Movies reached out to YouTube for comment, but did not hear back in time for the publication of this article.)
Facebook's communications manager, Michael Kirkland, told a reporter for Christian Post, "From what we can tell, the address purchased for the movie was previously being used as a spam site and it hadn't been refreshed in our system yet. ... We were in direct contact with Kirk's team and reversed the block as soon as we confirmed the address was no longer being used for spam."
Whatever happened, the "Unstoppable" trailer is now everywhere Cameron wants it to be, and he's unwittingly gotten plenty of extra publicity for the movie's one-night-only theatrical presentation on September 24.
Yahoo! Movies reached out to Cameron's manager for comment. He pointed us in the direction of a September 12-through-13 New York City media tour and said Cameron wasn't immediately available to talk.
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