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YouTube bans fmr. Navy SEAL Don Shipley over exposing stolen valor

Former Navy SEAL Don Shipley. (Extreme SEAL Adventures/Facebook)
March 04, 2019

YouTube has axed the channel of famed Navy SEAL Don Shipley for allegedly exposing the truth about stolen valor.

Shipley’s channel, BUDS131 – known for exposing fraudulent Navy SEALS – was banned entirely from the YouTube platform last month, it was recently learned. His channel was created in 2008 and had approximately 232,000 subscribers at the time of the ban.

Previously, Shipley’s videos were individually taken down by YouTube on occasion for violations ranging from music or movie copyrights to terms of use. Shipley knew it would be a matter of time until his entire channel would be banned, which is exactly what happened Feb. 21, Fox News reported last week.

The hammer struck after Shipley created a video exposing Native American activist Nathan Phillips over his claims of being a “Vietnam vet.”

“This time I was told/emailed I was banned from a video I had posted several years ago about a phony SEAL, but after several years I doubt that caused it,” Shipley told PJ Media. “If you ask me, it was because I outed Nathan Phillips. That Indian who masqueraded as a Vietnam vet.”

In a statement to Fox News, YouTube said Shipley’s final violation was sharing excessive private information that could be used to identify the people in his videos.

Shipley maintains a database of Navy SEALs in order to catalogue incidents of stolen valor. He allows people to contact him with a name and a general age to confirm whether or not a person claiming to be a SEAL actually is one.

Shipley said Navy SEAL is the career with the most imposters in the U.S.

“Navy SEALs are the number one profession that these guys target,” he said in an interview with Gruntworks Media.

He began exposing fake SEALs on his YouTube channel, named BUDS131 for the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) 131st training class that he graduated from in 1984.

Exposing the frauds was necessary for the reputation and honor of service members, according to Shipley.

“It diminishes everyone’s service when these guys do this,” he said.

His efforts grew into a series called “Phony Navy SEAL of the Week.”

However, YouTube began removing some of his videos.

“There were a few that I really meant for you to know my utter disdain for this particular individual, and YouTube would pull it for something I would do or say in there, or the phonies would flag it themselves,” he said.

But Shipley said his exposing fake Navy SEALs was no different than local news exposing controversies and scandals. Also his work never went further than exposing the truth.

“Once I go after somebody, I never call them, I don’t email them, I don’t contact them in any way,” he noted, refuting the “cyberbully” claims of his critics.

The YouTube ban won’t stop Shipley’s work in exposing fraudulent SEALs, however.

He created a website several years ago and began to share his videos there, knowing that YouTube’s repeated banning of his videos could lead to his channel’s demise. Now his videos appear on his own site, Extreme SEAL Experience, where he offered training.