Exodus: Patreon: A Threat To Free Speech Part 4

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

The damage resulting from Patreon’s ill-advised venture into censorship continues with the departure of both content creators and their patrons.

Among many others, two of Patreon’s largest subscribers not only announced their departure but that they also intend to construct a crowd-funding source that they hope will insulate content creators from the whims of Patreon’s and other exchanges’ staff’s political or personal ideals. Many regard their departure not just in terms of protests in the name of free speech, but as sound financial stewardship to protect their own livelihood from a possibly unreliable payment and revenue source.

The bleeding continues

For those unfamiliar with Patreon the company describes itself as a funding source where, “Membership allows [content creators] like you to have a direct relationship with your biggest fans, get recurring revenue for your work, and create on your own terms.”–content creators being those such as artist, videographers, writers et al. Or, as Jack Conte states, “is a membership platform that provides business tools for creators to run a subscription content service as well as ways for artists to build relationships and provide exclusive experiences to their subscribers, or patrons.”

The in my view unjustified banning of numerous users, most notoriously recently Carl Benjamin, a.k.a. Sargon of Akkad, for uttering two prohibited words off-site from Patreon leads me to ponder the type of existential threat to Liberty a Patreon controlled system of censorship provides. (His words were taken completely out of context, and lead to a loss of over $12,000.00 in monthly income from his patrons after Patreon yanked his account.)

On the first of January, creators Dr. Jordan Peterson and Dave Rubin announced they will leave Patreon. This was not a small act. According to Patreon statistics reporter Graphtreon, Mr. Rubin on Sept, 2nd 2018 received $26,534.00 per month from 4,566 patrons and Dr. Peterson at 9,419 patrons (revenue is not shown).

Here is their most recent video discussing their goals

It is not just a few at the top who have seen their incomes reduced resulting from Patreon’s censorship practices. The collateral damage is falling down to users with smaller incomes who are not just political commentators, but machinists, video gamers, designers, and others. The frustration you can witness in their stories is palpable…

By Darren Smith

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

49 thoughts on “Exodus: Patreon: A Threat To Free Speech Part 4”

  1. With capitalism, supply fills a need. Right now, there is a concerted effort at censorship in the mainstream media, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GOOGLE, every other search engine besides GOOGLE because it uses its algorhythim, Patreon, Youtube, Square, and PayPal. It is becoming very difficult to exist in this country as a conservative as the Progressives infiltrate every aspect of our lives, from preschool to graduate school, and even government agencies. It’s a slow match coup.

    Time to do something about it unless we all want to end up under yet another Socialist dictatorship, starving while dutifully repeating Party propaganda.

    There are already conservative points of view on cable news, talk radio, and the Internet. There is an intense need for completely unbiased alternatives for all of the above bigoted platforms.

    1. “There is an intense need for completely unbiased alternatives for all of the above bigoted platforms.”

      Blockchain technology might be an answer, but at present the ability to use such technology seems to be difficult. Dave Rubin and Jordan Peterson are looking toward such type of advancement.

  2. Darren, I have been following this problem for a long time. I don’t know that Patreon is the primary cause and neither Dave Rubin nor Jordan Peterson blamed them directly. Patreon is an intermediary and it appears Mastercard and Visa are the ones responsible. They apparently have been using the Southern Poverty Law Center as their metric to determine good and bad. Though SPLC years ago did good work, today they are an ideological group that accuses others of being hate groups when it is the SPLC that is an ideological hate group as bad as the KKK and any other similar group.

    This situation is far more important than what is usually discussed (which is trash) and extends to the big technology firms such as Facebook, Google, Amazon etc. This is one of the major dangers to our free society today. Hopefully some type of blockchain technology can start to rid ourselves from some of these problems.

    1. Though SPLC years ago did good work,

      It never did anything of the kind. It’s always been a direct-mail mill and was exposed as such in Harper’s the better part of a generation ago. The most famous case they were ever involved in was a suit against the United Klans of America on behalf of a woman whose son was kidnapped and killed by a klavern in 1981. $PLC raked in a seven figure sum in donations to prosecute the case and the woman won the United Klans’ entire asset portfolio: a quonset hut appraised at $51,000.

      1. DSS, I don’t want to argue the point but my understanding is that the SPLC was origionally founded in the early 1970’s as a civil rights group that originally took cases of racial discrimination and reinvented itself in the mid 1980’s as a weaponized political attack group aided by the mainstream media. Dees founded the SPLC in 1971. Your example is from the 1980’s.

        1. If I’m not mistaken, Morris Dees was a direct mail impresario before he was a ‘civil rights lawyer’.

          I might note it’s hard to figure why in 1971 you’d form a philanthropy to bring ‘civil rights’ cases unless you fancied the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund was falling to address a certain set of grievances and failing to do so in a systematic way. (If you thought they should have taken case X and did not, you could take the case pro bono).

      2. It’s always been a racket and a self aggrandizement project for Sleaze Dees

  3. In assessing what level of outrage to have or no have. I would have loved to have known what the “two words?” Darrin telling me it was completely out of context doesn’t necessarily make it so. Without more information, I have no opinion.

    1. enigma – he was on a channel with neo-nazis and using the Chris Rock definition, called them “n*****gs”. Now Patreon put this together with an incident where he had cleared and used that to declare him guilty. Patreon is in violation of its own TOS.

      1. Paul – I still don’t have much of an opinion nor can I tell anything about conext. At first glance I thought one of the two words was the “N” word but that “g” near the end threw me off. Maybe I’m not up on Neo-Nazi terminoloy.
        We all understand there are some exceptions to free speech like yelling fire in a crowded theater. On my facebook page where there cn be widespread discussions, I draw the line on personal attacks with vulgarity on other commenters. Also people that only communicate in memes and are apparently unable to use their words.
        Redditt and other sites have had problems with their users who claim an absolute first amendment right. I cn understand a business not wanting their brand to be the home for Neo-Nazis, skinheads, and white supremacists. There’s already a place for them to be comfortable, the White House (couldn’t resist).
        The First Amendment has never been absolute. I probably don’t get to go on Neo-Nazi sites and express my views without negtive feedback and possible censorship. I don’t really want to be on that site either. That some people lose their God-given right to profit from the use of banned words won’t cause me to lose sleep.

        1. enigma – I misspeeled it. 🙂 Nig*er. Does that help. Not sure what the second word was. He was ironically using their language against them.

          1. Paul – Karen S was helpful in providing the context where he called some white people, probably “House Nig***s” which would have been intended as an insult to them, although the use of the word still denegrates black people, it just brings others down to their level.

            In my lifetime, I’ve heard variations against different groups, “Sand N’s” for Arab. I have also hear the N word used as a term of affection among black people although that has mostly dies out in older generations although the youth are holding on to it. If you’re fluent in its use, it can be intended any number of ways but in print it’s hardly ever going to come out right.

            In New York once, a Hispanic male young person I knew and was friendly with, referred to some of his Hispanic friends as “N’s” and while he meant it affectionately, it left a taste in my mouth that he felt comfortable using it in that way. That was over twenty years go.

            I’m going to make an observtion that some may feel is racist. Much of the issue related to hate speech is that white people reserve the right to define what is racist and what is not. How often do we see talking heads explaining why racist actions/speech aren’t actually racist? They object to the concept of hate speech and hate crimes because it will mostly come into play against them (yes minorities can be guilty of both). IMO, going to great lengthy to discredit the obvious is helping to perpetuate racism. Of course, their goal isn’t to convince black people and other minorities that racsim doesn’t exist, just themselves.

      2. Paul, Patreon might be involving itself too much but that is not the primary source of the problem. Patreon exists to make money for Patreon. There are certain groups that wield too much power over others presently. Groups like SPLC are telling other groups like Mastercharge and Visa who is and who is not good. Those groups then delist people that are disliked by SPLC. But SPLC is no longer about civil rights. It has become a hate group itself, perhaps one of the worst, and has caused mastercard and Visa to refuse to service certain groups that are on the right side of the spectrum (David Horowitz and Robert Spencer (not Richard Spencer)are two examples.) This ability to control what is on the Internet is very dangerous but is starting to break up,

        Forget about the actual words used. It is the political sentiment that really counts. A stupid phrase like kill Bush will breed all over the net. If the same were said substituting Obama’s name there would be mass delistings from sites. Today people are afraid to speak up on the right side. There is good reason. Even leftists that say something not “acceptable” to the extreme left can have their careers ruined. Look at Kevin Hart.

        1. Again, the corrupt character of the $PLC is well known. Visa and Mastercard if they actually are doing this are demonstrating the lunkheadedness of corporate bureaucracy. And it’s a reasonable wager they’ve got SJWs in gatekeeper positions, my guess would be in the GC’s office.

          1. Yes, I believe MasterCard and Visa are involved. I think not that long ago Mastercard and or Visa refused to manage financial transactions to David Horowitz’s group. It was fought and reversed.

        2. Allan – they are going after Bernie and Biden. I cannot say they don’t deserve it, but they do eat their own.

          I agree with you about the SPLC. More people should sue it. Drive it into financial oblivion.

          1. In our city, where Black Americans account for 60% of the population, blacks throw the word around without batting an eye. Since we are an interracial couple living in the hood, we get to throw it back at them without them batting an eye. Only on the internet is it such a big issue to refer to blacks as they refer to each other. Whiteys are such cowards. 💪🏾

    2. He called the Alt Right “white n*(ers.” White N Words.

      The Left repeatedly calls black conservatives Home N Words, for example, and they are not banned.

      Personally, I don’t like the N word. If we would stop perpetuating it in our vernacular, and especially in rep music, it would die out like so many other racial epithets have. Many people don’t even understand what some of the older words even mean. That would have been the same for the N word if people would stop maintaining it. If it died out in music creation, it would be lost to the vernacular in a generation or two.

      Anyway, I don’t agree with his banning over that phrase. He wasn’t using it in a racist sense, to my understanding. However, I am not familiar with Sargon or his beliefs.

      I prefer to not have censorship online. Of course, some pretty nasty things are going to be said. However, that affords law enforcement an opportunity to listen for upcoming threats. There is also the support of Free Speech. Banning hate speech sounds great, but it has lead to the concerted bias and censorship of conservatives. It is unfair that white women can make a living talking about makeup on Youtube, but Diamond and Silk got banned and lost their livelihood for voicing their opinions on politics. I don’t think their race had anything to do with it, but rather they got hit with the same censorship as any other conservative, but it was especially troubling because I was rooting for two minority women to become successful on the merits of their show. I watched several episodes and found them interesting.

      1. Karen S – Thanks for the info. A couple of thoughts: Without ever hearing anyone on the Left using the term, I’m sure the term was “House N****r” which has a specific mening dting back to slavery. In my universe, nobody gets called that for simply being conservative but for accepting specifically harmful to black people. Some of those the term has been used about recently are Pastors Mark Burns and Darryl Scott. Some black conservatives I’ve never heard the term applied to are J.C. Watt, Colin Powell, or Sen. Tim Scott. Contrary to what you might her on right wing media. Black conservtives aren’t despised and cn even be looked up to. If they adopt policies supporting voter suppression and mass incarceration, they are subject to being called out on it.
        “Diamond & Silk” to me are a joke whose platform is more of telling right wing white people wht they want to hear as opposed to having clearly defined and thought out political views. Still, I would ignore them rather than censor them. They never pproached “hate speech” and could go on forever taking silly people’s money as far as I’m concerned. I suspect the actual reason they were “banned” was not simply for voicing their opinion. Allegedly YouTube “banned” some of their content as “not being suitable for all advertisers.” This is a world where truth is a variable and I don’t know what the truth is here. I have had some of my content blocked from Facebook for alleged “Violation of Community Standards.” Every time I objected and without ever being able to communicate with an actual person. A form letter advised me I was blocked in error and was not in violation. That process usually took 3-4 days.
        One question for you. Why do you think attempts to ban hate speech seem to disproportionately affect the right? Could it possibly be because they are the ones engaging in it the most?

          1. I don’t know what the official definition is, I’m sure I could look it up but it isn’t important to me to do so. I don’t insist that extra time be added for certain crimes based on rcial animus. I’d prefer to see the existing laws enforced consistantly. My personal definition would be speech that incites others to engage in attacks on someone based on rce or religion.

            1. Importuning someone to commit a crime is called ‘criminal solicitation’ in New York. It’s already illegal. I imagine there are similar provisions in the penal code of other states, and fairly antique ones for a’ that.

            2. enigma – your definition falls under the common law standard of “fighting words.” However, my challenge is that in the United States we share a common language. What is good usage for one person is good usage for all persons. So, if Patreon shuts down one account, it must shut down all accounts using the same term. However, it is not doing that. Sargon of Akkad was shut down because he DID NOT violate their TOS, but others are violating their TOS on a daily basis and they are not being shut down.

        1. Why do you think attempts to ban hate speech seem to disproportionately affect the right?

          Because the companies are run by people like Corey Robin whose response to political opposition and argument is to treat their opponent as if he were the bearer of some pathology. They ought to grow up, but they’re bound and determined to not do that.

        2. There is no justification for calling a black person the N Word. None. Zero. Supporting voter ID, as almost all black conservatives do, is not an excuse to call them a House N. As long as the black community makes excuses for the N word – popularizing it as a term of friendly endearment, putting it in almost every rap song, and calling people they disagree with a House N, the term will persist.

          I have heard Colin Powel and Condoleeza Rice called House Ns or Step N Fetchits.

          I actually quite dislike he term White Ns or any other phrase containing it, but I also do not agree in a double standard.

          Why do I think hate speech affects the right? Because there is confident evidence of non hateful people on the right being banned. We just discussed the above example, in which the term White N has cost a man is livelihood, when it was not used as a racist epithet against black people. In addition, terribly hateful speech on the Left is applauded. Holding up Trump’s bloody severed head in effigy is just about the most hateful thing you can do. Kathy was not banned on all social media. Saying Trump’s kid belonged in a cage full of pedophiles is about the most hateful thing you can say. He didn’t lose all social media access.

          If you don’t know there is a double standard, then please look into it further. You might “feel” like the right is simply more hateful, but that doesn’t make it the truth.

          We should all do what we can to stop tyranny now. There is a movement to give the government this same censorship and punishment power that social media, YouTube, Patreon, PayPal, etc are all using. If you give the power to others to punish you for not having the approved opinions on everything, you have just usered in tyranny. It never ends well.

          1. Again, Karen, symmetry pre-supposes that the parties involved are peers. The assumption encoded into liberal discourse is that we’re not their peers. It’s that they’re the school administration and the rest of us are unruly youths who need to be instructed in a choreographed Very Special Episode.

  4. Some, like Daisy Cousins in Australia, has separated from Patreon completely.

      1. Karen S – I don’t care if Daisy did her shows standing on her head, I would follow her. 😉

        I want to see her beach vacation snapshots. 😉

  5. Darren, you wrote: “uttering two prohibited words off-site from Patreon leads me to ponder the type of existential threat to Liberty a Patreon controlled system of censorship provides”

    there is “life” on the internet and then there is real life in your family, your neighborhood, your church, your local community. What happens on the internet is not a reflection, even remotely, of real life.

    Let’s not lose perspective on what really matters in our daily lives: the relationships we have with people in our physical proximity. Sadly Americans have lost the the latter because of their inner voids, and seeking to fill them with the internet. This is an unsustainable paradigm.

    bring back the dinosaurs to make us all run and survive day by day.

  6. Patreon investigates it’s users

    Patreon claims that any use of speech on any platform by one of its users is grounds for de-platforming if that user makes money off Patreon for their work on that separate platform.

    Patreon is monitoring its users across all of their social media platforms and punishes them by cutting off their access to a safe and secure donation website to fund their efforts.

    Patreon also targets the user’s credit card companies in a miniature but more widespread and grassroots version of the Obama administration’s Operation Chokepoint, which was designed to reward banks and other financial institutions.

    1. That investigation is extremely disturbing. I also find the targeted advertising of Facebook chilling in its propensity to be abused. We are getting close to the Social grading system now employed in China.

    1. I know right, it’s like the same people who join the Democratic or Republican parties …..

  7. Of course my libertarian fantasy is that Patreon folds, after a mass exodus of the threshold number of users reaches critical mass. It would be just desserts for a company to put moral gatekeeping demands on people they are supposed to be only providing a funding conduit for.
    It may happen, but I have also heard that they have many other users that can make up for the slack.

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