Popular crowdfunding site, Patreon has caused alarm after a number of creators had their accounts removed. Accusations against creators have been hate speech and links to violent or illegal groups.
The first one I heard about was controversial film maker/ commentator, Lauren Southern. She had her Patreon account shut down after allegedly being found out for supporting Defend Europe and the charity HOPE, not Hate. According to Canada Landshow, Southern was informed that her actions with Defend Europe were likely ‘to cause loss of life’. HOPE Not Hate have recently cut ties with Defending Europe.
Formers2 Breitbart Editor, Milo Yiannopoulos has also had his account shut down. The reason Patreon gave was Yiannopoulos’ involvement with Proud Boys, the extreme right – wing anti – immigration group.
YouTuber Sargon of Akkad (real name Carl Benjamin) has lost his Patreon account after using a racial slur in a video. However, according to Kyle Kulinski, the context was not considered, as Benjamin was apparently addressing a white supremacist group and NOT attacking people of colour. I’ve never personally watched any of Sargon videos, but it seems to me that Patreon jumped the gun on this one.
Social media scourge: who is really being targeted?
Progressive and conservative commentators have criticised social media, especially Twitter and Facebook for deleting accounts without satisfactory reason.
Both suspect a deliberate attack on people due to their views. Conservatives believe they’re the ones being purged, especially Twitter. However, progressives blame the mainstream media meddling, along with politicians and other institutions to silence dissenting voices. One issue of contention, for example, is the U.S’ involvement in the Middle East. Secular Talk’s Kyle Kulinski has accused Twitter of bending over to Saudi shareholders and censoring critics of Israel, supporters of Palestine and Iran.
Patreon as an income source
In my opinion what Patreon has done is more concerning than other social media bans. Simple reason is that Patreon allows independent artists, commentators, etc to generate income. Southern, Sargon of Akkad and Yiannopoulos have suddenly had that source of income taken from them.
Whether you agree with the people mentioned above or not, if a crime hasn’t been committed or encouraged, as someone who wants to somehow make writing, including this blog as a part of my career, I find this move from Patreon concerning. Artists, independent writers, videographers, etc should be able to try making their passion into a sustainable career.
What’s a better way?
It’s best for people to be able to say what they want, allow people to support them, and, more importantly, allow opponents to debate them. While Secular Talk and similar YouTube channels exist, justice can prevail. People will be able to hear opposing views. Different communities can be assured that at least someone with a platform and influence has their back.
Also, I encourage others to speak up and defend themself and others if need be. If you are a person of colour, then use your words to attack racial prejudice. If you a writer or content maker and a part of the LGBTQ+ community, speak up against bigotry. When you feel you can’t, rest assured that there are allies that definitely will.