Patreon, a popular crowdfunding platform published a post yesterday in defense of its removal of Sargon of Akkad or Carl Benjamin, an English YouTuber famous for his anti-feminist content, last week, over the concerns of him violating its policies on hate speech. Patreon has been receiving backlash ever since from the users and patrons of the website who are calling for a boycott.
“Patreon does not and will not condone hate speech in any of its forms. We stand by our policies against hate speech. We believe it’s essential for Patreon to have strong policies against hate speech to build a safe community for our creators and their patrons”, says the Patreon team.
Patreon mentioned that it reviews the creations posted by the content creators on other platforms that are funded via Patreon. Since Benjamin is quite popular for his collaborations with other creators, Patreon’s community guidelines, which strictly prohibits hate speech also get applied to those collaborations. According to Patreon’s community guidelines, “Hate speech includes serious attacks, or even negative generalizations, of people based on their race [and] sexual orientation.” Benjamin in one of his interviews on another YouTuber’s channel used racial slurs linked with “negative generalizations of behavior” quite contrasting to how people of those races actually act, to insult others. Apart from using racial slurs, he also used sexual orientation related slurs which violates Patreon’s community guidelines.
However, a lot of people are not happy with Patreon’s decision. For instance, Sam Harris, a popular American author, podcast host, and neuroscientist, who had one of the top-grossing accounts (with nearly 9,000 paying patrons at the end of November) on Patreon deleted his account earlier this week, accusing the platform of “political bias”. He wrote “the crowdfunding site Patreon has banned several prominent content creators from its platform. While the company insists that each was in violation of its terms of service, these recent expulsions seem more readily explained by political bias. I consider it no longer tenable to expose any part of my podcast funding to the whims of Patreon’s ‘Trust and Safety” committee’”.
— Sam Harris (@SamHarrisOrg) December 17, 2018
Apart from banning Carl Benjamin, Patreon also banned Milo Yiannopoulos, a British public speaker and YouTuber with over 839,286 subscribers earlier this month over his association with the Proud Boys, which Patreon has classified as a hate group.
Hi there, thanks for the tweet. Milo Yiannopoulos was removed from Patreon as we don't allow association with or supporting hate groups on Patreon. For more info, please see our Community Guidelines. https://t.co/L7737I1ENi
— Patreon (@Patreon) December 5, 2018
James Allsup, an alt-right political commentator, and associate of Yiannopoulus’, was also banned from Patreon last month for their association with hate groups.
Amidst this controversy, some of the top Patreon creators such as Jordan Peterson, a popular Canadian clinical psychologist whose YouTube channel has over 1.6 M subscribers and Dave Rubin, an American libertarian political commentator announced their plans of starting an alternative to Patreon, earlier this week. Peterson said that the new platform will work on a subscriber model similar to Patreon’s, only with few additional features.
“We understand some people don’t believe in the concept of hate speech and don’t agree with Patreon removing creators on the grounds of violating our Community Guidelines for using hate speech. We have a different view,” says the Patreon team.