On 7 December membership platform Patreon closed down the page of the original offensive centrist Carl Benjamin, also known as Sargon of Akkad. This prompted Sam Harris to shut down his Patreon page, which was the 13th largest worldwide, ten days later.
The reason for shutting down Akkad provided by Patreon was a ten-month-old clip from a talk with YouTuber Michel Catlin, in which he repeatedly used the word “n*gger” and says the word “faggot” once. It is a rant against the alt-right and the movement’s treatment of him as a person, and reads as follows:
“I just can’t be bothered to deal with people who treat me like this, it’s really annoying. You are acting like
bunchof n*ggers. You act like white n*ggers. Exactly how you describe black people acting, is the impression I get dealing with the alt-right. I’m just not in the mood to deal with this kind of disrespect. (…) You carry on, but don’t expect me to then have a debate with one of you faggots (…). Maybe you’re just acting like a n*gger mate. Do you think white people act like this? White people are meant to be respectful and polite to one another? And you guys can’t even act like white people, it’s really amazing to me (…).”
A rather unfortunate use of words during a public talk to say the least, and not something that should be waived off just because he happens to be on ‘our’ side of the moral divide. But with a not undeserved amount of good faith the case can be made that he was indeed using the
Akkad’s ‘transgression’ didn’t occur on Patreon, nor did it occur on his own YouTube channel which he promoted on Patreon. According to Akka’s correspondence with Patreon, his account was removed
“Because we process payments, we take
creators’entire brand into account during our review. Your brand is funded through Patreon and your Youtube channel and the types of discussions you host on it contribute to this brand – this is also what makes your appearances on other sites relevant to the project you fund on Patreon. Because of this, your racial and homophobic slurs taking place on somebody else’s YouTube video factored in our decision to remove your page.”
UPDATE: Patreon has responded, invoking their hate speech policies. Strangely, in their attempt to give “full context around this policy” they have chosen to entirely neglect that Akkad made his remarks in the context of an argument against the alt-right.
In this case, Sargon used racial slurs to insult others and specifically linked those slurs with negative generalizations of behavior, in contrast to how people of other races act. He also used a slur related to sexual orientation to generally insult others. Taken in whole, with all of the context, this violates our community guidelines.
In the July 2017 video above, Patreon’s CEO Jack Conte explains his reasons for banning Lauren
In any case, it seems beyond a shadow of a doubt that Patreon is enforcing its guidelines selectively, very likely acting on a combination of flagging campaigns by creators’ ideological opponents and a company-wide political bias, the existence of which is denied by Patreon’s CEO.
Oh well, the big tech powers that be. For now, at least, because Jordan Peterson entered the game. Yesterday he announced in the video below that for six months now he’s been working on
“a system to allow authors and other people who engage publicly on intellectual issues, to interact more effectively with their readers and viewers and listeners. It occurred to me this week that with a bit of modification that could serve exactly the function that we’re hoping it could serve. What we’re going to try to do as fast as we possibly can, is to set this system up on a subscriber model that is analogous to Patreon. It has a bunch of additional features which I don’t want to talk about right now, I don’t want to over promise (…). We’re gonna try to get something up in the next week.”
According to Peterson, he has already lost around a thousand Patrons, because they no longer wanted to yield 5% of their monthly transaction to Patreon.
Sam’s a goner, closing down the 13th largest Patreon account in the world. Peterson, #16, will soon follow suit and is likely to take the entire Intellectual Dark Webbish free folk with him to a new dug-out.
One might infer that by now, it’s time for Patreon to do some damage control, even if it’s just for show.