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Crowdfunding site Patreon is purging far-right figures

"We don't allow association with or supporting hate groups on Patreon."

by David Gilbert
Dec 7 2018, 1:48pm

Crowdfunding site Patreon this week banned the accounts of several controversial public figures, part of a wider push by tech companies to de-platform users linked to the alt-right and far right.

The account of British conspiracy theorist YouTuber Carl Benjamin, better known as Sargon of Akkad, was removed Thursday. This followed the removal in August of U.S. far-right political commentator James Allsup.

The ban will be a particular blow for Benjamin, who was earning more than $12,000 a month from the crowdfunding site. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Benjamin's ban came a day after far-right activist Milo Yiannopoulos saw his account killed — just 24 hours after he set it up to fund a “magnificent 2019 comeback” tour. The former Breitbart editor was cut off because of his association with the far-right group Proud Boys, Patreon said.

“I’ve had a miserable year or two, banned and de-platformed and censored and blacklisted. Now I need your help. I want to get back on my feet and come roaring back in 2019,” Yiannopoulos wrote on his Patreon page before it was culled.

“I am one of the most censored and most lied-about people in the world. Even my fans sometimes believe things about me that aren’t true, because journalists lie more about me than perhaps anyone else in America,” he added.

The crowdfunding site said Yiannopoulos was “removed from Patreon as we don't allow association with or supporting hate groups.”

Patreon is the latest technology company to cut off payment options for users linked to hate groups or hate speech. PayPal and Stripe have previously taken similar action.

The company had previously shut down the account of BitChute, a video sharing platform that has attracted users who have been kicked off YouTube.

Patreon told VICE News Yiannopolous was removed for violating content guidelines with his "association and support of violent organizations," as was Allsup.

Sargon of Akkad was removed for his "violation of hate speech in our guidelines," after using "racial and homophobic slurs to degrade another individual."

Gab, a free-speech social network favored by the right-wing community, has also been cut off by payment processors.

READ: Milo’s “Free Speech Week” lasted about 20 minutes

Many of its users reacted angrily to the latest de-platforming, criticizing the company but also President Donald Trump’s for failing to protect free speech rights of conservative voices.

“Trump has done nothing to protect his base at this point,” Dave Cullen, a conservative commentator, posted. “He didn't lift a finger to defend Alex Jones, his biggest supporter. Free speech dies with a whimper and people just shrug.”

Cover image: Milo Yiannopoulos reacts during a press conference on arrival at the Sydney International Airport on November 29, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Correction: An earlier version of this story said Allsup was banned in December. He was banned in August.