TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday hosted a roundtable discussion with public health experts, during which he attacked Google and YouTube for their recent censorship of one of his public events.
The governor met with Dr. Scott Atlas, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, and Dr. Martin Kulldorff in Tallahassee.
DeSantis criticized the tech platforms for pulling a recent roundtable talk between the governor and health experts after the companies claimed the discussion was spreading "COVID-19 medical misinformation."
"Google/YouTube have acted as enforcers of a narrative," DeSantis said. "What we’re witnessing is Orwellian."
"It stops excellent people from saying what they believe," Atlas said of the censorship. "This is almost the end of our civilization."
WATCH ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION:
During the March 18 roundtable, Kulldorff and Bhattacharya were asked whether children should be required to wear face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"Children should not wear face masks," Kulldorff said "They don’t need it for their own protection, and they don’t need it for protecting other people either.”
"I think it’s developmentally inappropriate and it just doesn’t help on the disease spread," Bhattacharya said. "I think it’s absolutely not the right thing to do."
A spokeswoman for Google and YouTube said the roundtable discussion was removed "because it included content that contradicts the consensus of local and global health authorities regarding the efficacy of masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19."
Atlas was the most notable panelist at Monday's roundtable, having served as an adviser to former President Donald Trump on the coronavirus pandemic.
During a public forum to discuss the reopening of schools in Florida, Atlas said the U.S. was the "only country of our peer nations in the western world who are this hysterical about opening schools."
It was during that same conversation that Atlas said the "goal of policy is absolutely not to stop all spread of COVID-19 to asymptomatic or very low-risk individuals."
"That's not the goal," Atlas said. "The goal is to protect the vulnerable."